Now that I’m home for the summer, I have a 20 minute drive to and from work every day (shed a tear for my soul for every part of this sentence). But I actually really enjoy driving. Not because of bikers who don’t understand what single file means or tourists whose driving reflects the fact that they’ve left their brains at home. I love driving because it’s the absolute perfect time to jam out. The minute I pull away from my house or the old ladies in the parking booth—I prefer not to tarnish their view of me with my straight up gangsta rap (you’re a dream if you get the Friends reference)—I crank the volume and the belting, head bobbing, and hand gesturing begins; it’s really a site to see. However, I’m also a rather environmentally conscious person. Driving around for the sake of driving around—or in my case for the sake of listening to music—is not kosher. So when I drive to work or home at the end of the day, I gotta have my music preciously and thoughtfully chosen. Of course these songs change constantly with influxes of new music or discoveries, but there are a couple fail-safe songs that, if you know the mood you’re going for or need at that moment, come in clutch.
Quick couple rules for morphing this into your own playlist:
- Car=bass so be a hoodrat and never forget to factor that in. (I actually didn’t do the best job of that here; shhhhh.)
- Know how you’re feeling, what you’re feeling (I swear, not meant to sound pervy, but if that’s suits your scenario I’m not stopping ya), and what you need (this is your time to mentally prepare yourself for the day ahead or mentally digest the one you’ve just had).
- Listen to your sinful, explicit shit now. One of my jobs allows me to listen to music at work, but it needs to be appropriate (damn kids fiending for candy) so this is your chance!
Red Hot Chili Peppers – Scar Tissue
For some reason, I’ve always thought that RHCP are the epitome of road trip rock. I like this song because it’s kinda moody, but also super chill. It’s mopey, but sexy. It’s melancholy, but sweet. It’s a damn good song.
Vampire Weekend – Walcott
Because THIS IS MY LIFE. When you neeeed to escape, but again don’t want to drown in your sorrows, this is the go-to. Hyannisport is a ghetto. Truro is not worth mentioning. Damn straight, fuck the women from Wellfleet. And fuck the bears out in Provincetown, except not really because the bears are actually so freakin’ sweet and genuinely warm my heart (I’ll take bear week with a jolly man who only feels truly comfortable in his own skin one week out of the year over almost any other themed week of the Provincetown summer). Shimmy in the seat of your car to this and temporarily fall victim to the fantasy of running far, far away.
Kendrick Lamar – Alright
This isn’t the absolute best Kendrick song, but if you’re having one of those days when you’re on the verge of strangling someone—for example, let’s just say your far-from-competent broker, totally hypothetical—this song will meet your frustration while reminding you to stay funky fresh. And ya know, put your shit in perspective.
Childish Gambino – Heartbeat
The beat to this one is just sick to cruise to. You’ve got those slower bits, but then you’ve got those hyped parts where your foot refuses to let up on the gas. Your resident crackhead, Mairead: encouraging bad behavior since forever.
Alessia Care – Here
This is actually a fairly new jam, but good lord is it a jam. I really dig her voice and, though the rhythm that makes up this song is rather simple and a bit repetitive, it does the job. But it’s really the lyrics that get me. Friday night hits and I’m down to party. Then we get to the party and 9/10 times this is me, the “anti-social pessimist”. I’d rather hang out with my close friends and have real conversations instead of skeezy, pre-hookup, not-even-clever banter. Does that make me a bad person? To most of my fellow college students, yes. But fuck it; I’m a rebel (read: petrified introvert)!
Adele – Turning Tables
Okay. Sometimes you do just need to bawl. Doing so behind the wheel may not be my wisest advice, but belting a super sad ballad in the treasured privacy of your car can do wonders. This is an especially good Adele song, though, because it gets both the empowerment and pain of saying “I can’t and won’t put up with this shit anymore.” I mean, check this: “I won’t let you close enough to hurt me // No, I won’t rescue you to just desert me” (excuse me, I’ll be in the corner crying). As someone who’s done this a couple times in a couple different types of relationships in my life, I really appreciate that. Also, I’m sorry, maybe she’s mainstream or whatever, but Adele is talented as all hell and I want more from her soon because I love her—sorry, not sorry.
Rod Stewart – Maggie May
The ultimate old school jam. You know when this song comes on and your 60-something-year-old boss stops dead in his tracks and says, “Shit, this was playing the first time I tried LSD” that you’ve got a gem on your hands. Match that with the tumultuous heartbreak it causes in Heath Ledger’s final scene in Lords of Dogtown and you know this song is ideal for every moment of life.
First Aid Kit – King of the World
I’ve said it before and here I’ll say it again: First Aid Kit get me! That also happens to be the reason it was so hard to decide which song of theirs to include (maybe tack on Master Pretender, just for good measure). But they’re excellent for days you’re feeling super real with yourself, but not needing to wallow in your feelings and then want to blow your brains out by the end of the song. It’s a song about the fear of settling down (me), and the desire to both travel (me) and conquer the world/be in charge of your own life (me). It magically sums up the feeling of being at a standstill (me in general, but especially in the summer at home) and reminds the listener that there’s a whole world out there waiting. It also, if you haven’t caught on yet, sums up so many of my feelings and traits; “I’m nobody’s baby // I’m everybody’s girl // I’m the queen of nothing // I’m the king of the world” (in my best form, THAT IS ME).
Now, I’m a woman of my word. And according to autocorrect in my text message proposing the idea for this post to Lauren, that means I’m writing a “cat jam essentials” playlist. And let’s be real, if anyone could do it, it’d me.
Adele – Right As Rain
Yes, throwing it back to Adele again because she nails it on this song: “It will never hurt as much as it did then // When we were both right and no one had blame // But now I give up on this endless game”—don’t mind me, just crying in the corner again. I despise sharing a bed (yes, I realize this is probably indicative of a major, personal, psychological issue) and if I’m in a bad mood or feeling down and out, homie there’s not a chance in hell I’ll share my bed with anyone. That is, anyone but my beloved cats. This is all to say, no man will ever do; I am destined to love cats and only cats for all of eternity.
The Head and The Heart – Let’s Be Still
This song is totally about those wondrous moments in bed with your cat before the day starts. Right?
Birdy – Wings
Birds? Wings? Cats like those things! And if these wings could fly, chyeah I’d chose to be by my cat’s side for the rest of our lives.
MADE IN HEIGHTS – Panther
One of my cats certainly thinks he’s more along the lines of a panther than a domestic feline. And it’s the cutest thing ever! Also, yes, I need him in my arms. Always. Remind me again how I function as a normal human being?