As of this week, I have surpassed a year’s worth of retardation and have been able to get in a car without anyone else besides me telling me I’m not doing it right. Despite passing my driving test in December, I never actually got around to driving until now. In my brief time driving a car, I have noticed a few things. The most prevalent of these is how much of a shit people give about what music you’re playing. Whether it’s your sister telling you that Alkaline Trio suck and that you should be listening to Sam Sparro instead or some guy rolling down his windows and pounding drum and bass in your face, what you listen to when you drive seems to be a big deal. Personally, I’m happy with any background noise (except Radio 1 because I dislike most of their DJs with a passion) but to fit in with this strange order, I guess I’m going to have to choose some songs. So, here’s my top ten ‘alternative’ cruising anthems, because like hell I’m going to choose Chipmunk or whatever the kids listen to these days.
10) Blink 182 – The Rock Show
Simply because you have to. It’s Blink, for goodness’ sake! They drive around in a van and do crazy shit in the video for this song and you should too. In your van. Or Ford Fiesta, whatever.
9) The Secret Handshake – Summer of 98
I generally just love this band, but this is ultimate feel-good ‘this is summer’ music. This deserves to be played in a convertible – hood down, wind blowing through your hair, played loud for everyone to join in. Or in the VW camper van I’m supposed to be able to drive this summer when it’s finished. I can totally see this played cruising down the Cornish coastline with a surfboard on top of the van. Plus, it’s got just enough electronics in it for you not to be yelled at by chavs.
8) abingdon boys school – INNOCENT SORROW
Oh, abingdon boys school. You drive me mad in your school uniform stage outfits. Takanori in a tie and glasses? Hot damn. But ignoring that, you have yourself some fine J-rock. It changes it up a fair bit throughout the song, but not enough to put you off what you’re doing. Instead, it’s got this force behind it, almost like some kind of determination; a push to get you to the finish. Also, wouldn’t it be wonderful to see a bunch of confused kids when they can hear nothing but Japanese and the occasional English word through the sunroof?
7) FrankMusic – When You’re Around
I guess that this one is the most conventional on my list, being from an actual popular artist. However, it’s the Golden Brown sample that does it for me – it just sounds cool. And the chorus? Those sweeping synth notes just sound divine. It’s all about dashing through the city with this one. Despite being a bit more conventional than the rest of my choices, it’s one of the most individual tracks on the album and definitely not a club favourite. Although it should be. And I should be rushing through Tokyo with this on.
6) The Special Goodness – Life Goes By
Had to dig out the old Punk-O-Rama 9 for this one (and holy shit, I do miss that series so much). Anyway, ‘Life Goes By’ was the first song I heard from Patrick Wilson’s (of Weezer fame) outfit and it still remains one of their best songs for me. Pat has a fantastic voice and the melodies are perfect for cruising on by. I guess life does go by too fast, so stick on these guys and slow the drive down a bit, at least.
5) Off With Their Heads – Until The Day…
I’ve been listening to ‘From The Bottom’ as I’ve been driving around over the past few days and it just makes me smile. It makes me smile when there are assholes on the road. It makes me smile when I’m stuck in a traffic jam because there’s roadworks. And it makes me happy that my sister pulls a face at it. In particular, ‘Until The Day…’ has these great chugging guitars and a sweet intro riff that just fill me with joy. Best served whilst driving with friends, because it’s all about the camaraderie.
4) The Gaslight Anthem – Meet Me By The River’s Edge
Possibly one of my favourite Gaslight songs anyway, this is perfect for night drives. Not too heavy, not too energetic, but soothing and generally comforting. It would sound so good on an empty road. In general, blasting Gaslight is to be recommended in order to show people how awesome they are, but this song is just incredible. Hell, listen to it anyway. Right now.
3) Run DMC – It’s Tricky
Okay, I guess this is actually the most conventional on the list, but Run DMC are just… well, you know what word I’m going to use next. This might actually get you some props on the road, but you never know these days. Hip-hop seems to be the music of choice for driving around, but it’s always that new fangled stuff because people forget that the classics are the best and ‘It’s Tricky’ is no exception! Be warned – you might start busting some moves at the wheel.
2) Big D And The Kids Table – If We Want To
One of the slower Big D songs on ‘How It Goes’ – at least, to begin with. It reminds me of the summer and how we’ve got all the time in the world as soon as the summer holidays kick in. Laidback, chilled out, perfect singalong material. And the bitching guitar solo in the middle just can’t be resisted. I’d sooner hear that than a terrible British rapper.
1) Andrew WK – Party Hard
I know that this statement is possibly controversial, but I’m going to say it anyway – ‘Party Hard’ is a modern day ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’. Hear me out, alright? We all know ‘Wayne’s World’. We all know the scene where they’re in the car and they’re singing along to Bohemian Rhapsody, headbanging down the street. Now, replace Queen with Andrew WK. No difference and equally as awesome. It’s got the piano (although nowhere near as intricate, but it serves a purpose), it’s got some awesome guitar and well… it’s got Andrew WK, and I’m sorry, but Andrew will always have a place in my heart that Freddie won’t. I am definitely looking forwards to my friends rocking to this in the back seat at some point in the near future.