We both have a bad habit of listening to favourite songs on repeat. (It’s a good thing we usually travel alone because it would be unbearable for anyone else.) A lot of times when we get asked "What are you listening to lately?", the honest answer would be something along the lines of "The same four or five songs we've been listening to for the last ten years." We're both nostalgic to a fault and borderline obsessive about lyrics, so a lot of songs that end up on constant rotation in the car are teenage anthems about the open road and running away, or love songs that we've bastardized into friendship ballads written specifically for us. Here are our top 20 road songs according to iTunes play count.
1. Chuck Ragan: Meet you in the Middle
While this song was undoubtedly written about a romantic relationship, it's impossible for either of us to think of anyone but each other when it comes on. (Yet again, Why are we still single?)
" A one-way ticket is a recipe for sorrow
If you’re counting down miles in the eave of a long haul
We’re running on empty on numbers borrowed
With heavy eyes tripping between the lines and the dashboard
Well bless your heart, bless your soul
I’m proud to buckle up with you to grow old "
2. Cheap Girls: Kind of on Purpose
This song is a good reminder of how it is simultaneously both incredibly freeing and lonely to cut ties. Apologies to everyone who has learned the hard way that we are pretty unreliable, mostly unemployable, and definitely undateable.
3. Johnny Hobo: New Mexico Song
We listen to a lot of Johnny Hobo songs on the road because almost all of them are about being broke, homeless, drunk, and mobile.
" As he lights an American Spirit
He asks how I can smoke such shit
I said there's nothing like chain-smoking
Cause any smokes will kill ya
But these will make you feel like it "
4. The Replacements: Left of the Dial
This song perfectly captures what it's like to fall in love on the road. It was apparently written after Paul Westerberg met a girl in another touring band while The Replacements were on the road. The only contact he had with her for a long time was trying to find her songs on the radio. ("Left of the Dial" is a reference to college radio, which is usually in the lower frequencies) While modern technology has made it a little easier to revel in missing someone, the sentiment holds true.
5. Ringers: Motels, Jail Cells and Hospitals
The. Perfect. Road Song.
" I've been dragging my heels and making time
Ain't slept much but I'm doing just fine
Burning my bridges / running down state lines
6. The Exploding Hearts: Sleeping Aides and Razorblades
Sometimes we picture our ex boyfriends listening to this song and thinking about us, and then laugh a little too hard.
7. Two Gallants: Steady Rollin’
These two guys write a lot of songs about being out on the road, so this is just one of the many that are on heavy rotation.
" And everyday is just another town
The more I search, you know the less I've found
Me I'm a sucker, just a slave to sound
Death's coming, I'm still running "
8. Silver Jews: Sufferin' Jukebox
This pretty much sums it up:
"You got Tennessee tendencies and chemical dependencies
You make the same bad jokes and malaprops on queue"
9. Archers of Loaf: Web in Front
For six months straight, we listened to this song every morning, where ever we were, and danced like Beavis and Butthead until we were awake enough to drive. Even still, I feel like turning it on immediately raises my serotonin levels.
10. Ladyhawk: Teenage Love Song
If you're from Vancouver, chances are Ladyhawk is one of your favourite bands ever. Listening to them on the road gets us feeling nostalgic and homesick in the nicest way ever.
11. Off With Their Heads: Die Young (F.Y.P. Cover)
I think part of the reason we started listening to this song so much is because Jill went and got a really bad breakup haircut, which was supposed to be a "super low maintenance, sexy + liberating bob" but was essentially a bowl cut. Shortly after, we misheard the lyrics "my ten foot pole got cut real short " to be "get my bowl cut cut real short " and adopted it as our personal fuck the world anthem.
12. Black Angels: Young Men Dead
It's almost physically impossible to listen to this song without wanting to jump into a car and drive as far as you can.
13. Iron Chic : Every Town Has an Elm Street
This is another song that captures perfectly for me how it's shitty and it's sad and it's sometimes necessary to leave behind people that aren't enough to make you stick around.
"Home is where the heart stays
When the heart strays
Home is where we are today"
14. Middle Brother: Blue Eyes
We're not normally huge country (alt country?) fans, but there's times on the road, especially driving through the south, where songs like this fit so perfectly.
15. The Mountain Goats: No Children
This song is a hilariously dark tribute to a drunken, loveless marriage. Because we spend far too much time together, it's really funny to picture it being about us when the money is running out and everything is going wrong.
" I hope that our few remaining friends
Give up on trying to save us
I hope we come out with a fail-safe plot
To piss off the dumb few that forgave us
I hope the fences we mended
Fall down beneath their own weight
And I hope we hang on past the last exit
I hope it's already too late "
16. Leatherface: Not Superstitious
We have a full-moon curse that's been following us around for 8 months now. But we're not superstitious.
17. Jawbreaker: Accident Prone
Jawbreaker is easily the most important band to both of our lives. For the last ten years I've been telling people that "My favourite band is still Jawbreaker" There's a handful of songs that could have made this list, but I think this the one I always come back to because it opens with "What's the furthest place from here?" and always makes us start speeding around the 5:00 mark.
18. The Lawrence Arms: Boatless Booze Cruise (Part 1)
If my life ever flashed before my eyes, I feel like it would be set to the first 15 seconds of this song.
" Don't forget to forget you forgot me
When I show up at your door
I'm gonna remember that you are my friend
And fall asleep on your floor "
19. The Creeps: Car Crash
We first heard this song on the Awesome Fest 7 Compilation we got in San Diego. Once we got sick of our iPod, we switched to the CD, Track 5, until it started to skip. The lyrics are a little dark, but there's something sort of beautiful about the sentiment. (Update: We crashed our car and it sucked. We don't wanna go out this way, we're here to stay.)
20. Beach Slang
We're obviously pretty sentimental, so the first time we heard this band we were hooked. Every single on of their 8 songs is a perfect teenage anthem - catchy, nostalgic and a little beaten up.