Tuesday Ten: Summer Road Trip Soundtrack

By | June 3, 2014 at 4:00 PM

There’s nothing quite like the feel of summer. As soon as the weather takes a turn for the better, there’s a charge in the atmosphere. Somehow, it’s almost as if blue skies and flip flops make everything possible. The world is in the palm of your hands. And what goes better with world domination than a kickass playlist? And what goes with world domination and a kickass playlist better than a road trip to corners of the world you haven’t conquered yet? Wherever the GPS takes you this summer, make sure you have these tracks loaded on your playlist—they’ll make the trip much more enjoyable.

Press play and grab your car keys…

“Let It Roll” / “The Beach” / “Stay Awake (Dreams Only Last For A Night)”

The summer road trip is one of the best inventions of mankind, for there is no greater freedom in this world than no school and a car to take anywhere you want. With numerous songs about being outdoors, kicking it with friends, and just being young and reckless, So Wrong It’s Right, by pop punk kings All Time Low, epitomizes the perfect summer album. It’s jam-packed with all the essentials for your summer road trip: melodies brighter than the weather outside, energetic rhythms that match the beat speeding down the highway, and hooks on hooks on hooks for you to sing along to at the top of your lungs. “Let It Roll” will make you want to jump in the car, pick everyone up, and drive until you hit the coast; which is where you’ll want sunny anthem “The Beach” blaring out of your open windows. When you finally turn the car around, thinking it’s time to head home, “Stay Awake (Dreams Only Last For A Night)” will convince you otherwise, guiding you to your next adventure as the album plays on repeat. (Catherine Yi)

“Say What You Mean” / “Summer Fling, Don’t Mean A Thing” / “Love In America”

Who doesn’t love a good summer playlist? The right set of songs can mean the difference between a good day and the best day of your life. And this, my friend, is the right set of songs.

Allison Weiss’ “Say What You Mean” should be the first song on once the doors are closed and the windows are down. This one was meant to be taken on a road trip. It’s the one that will prepare you for taking on the planet—or at least the highway. The sound of indie pop at its finest will have you energized in no time at all.

When New Found Glory’s “Summer Fling, Don’t Mean A Thing” takes your car stereo hostage, the energy boost you got from “Say What You Mean” will be quadrupled. This song’s name is summer, and it lives up to it throughout all two minutes and fifty nine seconds. Check your worries at the last exit, and get into the singalong track. Nothing is impossible while this song’s playing, which means you could totally nail that high note just as well as vocalist Jordan Pundik.

Of course, these two tracks were only meant to prepare you for the ultimate summer song. A song that embodies the season so completely you could listen to it in 10 degree weather and still want to don a tank top. A song that will have you wondering what it ever was that kept you from being daring in the past. JTX’s “Love In America” is that song. And since it always seems to experience a resurgence in the hottest months of the year, you’ll probably hear it another ten times before you reach your destination. So, you’ll have that many more opportunities to perfect your seat-belt restricted dance moves.

Start this playlist with slushies, sun screen, and the smell of heat on the asphalt. And as the day slowly transitions into a starry night and fireworks you’ll find there’s no better playlist for all your summer escapades. With the aid of these three songs, you’ll be ready to take every leap of faith you’re presented with. (Emillie Marvel)

“Where I Want To Be” / “Surfaced” / “The Permanent Rain”

When the summer sun, beaming through your window, feels like an invitation to the great outdoors, few albums will make you grab your keys faster than The Dangerous Summer’s breakthrough debut, Reach For The Sun. As the opening chords of “Where I Want To Be” give way to the band’s trademark sound—rich delay-driven guitars, commanded by intricate but steady drums—the album whisks you away. The musical balance of light and dark makes the album feel like a sunny day with storm clouds on the horizon, contrasting audibly cathartic vocals with upbeat instrumentals that feature an undeniable pop sensibility—and “Where I Want To Be” perfectly introduces this motif.

As the album’s early songs wash over you, “Surfaced” breaks through the midtempo pace with a sudden unrelenting intensity that by its second note will have your foot slamming on the gas pedal to match the song’s urgency. This is a song that begs for the feeling of the wind rushing past the open window and meeting the air that escapes from your lungs as you sing your heart out. And as you add more and more miles to your adventure, “The Permanent Rain” arrives with its wistful lyrics and irresistibly bouncy hooks. This song captures the energy of a summer road trip as perfectly as it captures The Dangerous Summer, at this stage of their career: nothing ahead but open road and endless possibilities. And best of all, the song seems to be written at the perfect pace for driving. It’s high energy without inspiring you to risk the same speeding violations as “Surfaced.” What it will inspire you to do, though, is follow the album title’s call to action and reach for the sun—no matter how many miles you need to drive to get there. (Eleanor Grace)

“Tell That Mick He Just Made My List Of Things To Do Today” / “Saturday” / “Homesick At Spacecamp”

Turn on the stereo. Hit play. Turn the volume up to the max. Why? Because it’s summer, and everyone on the highway needs to hear how perfect your music taste is with Fall Out Boy’s Take This To Your Grave. The moment the dial tone sounds on “Tell That Mick He Just Made My List Of Things To Do Today”, you’re ready for a half-hour of yelling the lyrics as the wind rushes through the windows and tangles your hair. Your best friends are in the seats around you, dirty Converses on the dashboard, while you air-drum the steering wheel because the endless upbeat crescendos and huge sing-alongs make you want to start a band and play Warped Tour. These songs are a chance to cut loose and break all the speed limits—a reminder you don’t have to worry about a thing today, so long as you’re on the road. By the time you reach the sunny choruses of “Saturday” you’ll agree. Spending the summer with Fall Out Boy makes every day feel like the weekend. The gang vocals make you feel like you’re at a festival, and the heavy breakdowns give you the excuse to scream out of the windows just for the hell of it. Anything is possible so long as you have each other, and “Homesick At Spacecamp” is the anthem for those friendships you know will last longer than the sunshine. “…these friends are, new friends are golden.” It doesn’t matter where you end up, it’s who you’re with, and this album has everything you need to keep you driving all day long. If pop punk is the music staple of summer, Fall Out Boy are the kings of the road trip. (Alex Bear)

“We Are Young” / “Some Nights” / “Carry On”

It’s appropriate to label fun. as an orchestra for a good time. A “fun” time, if you will…a damn fun time. Nate, Andrew, and Jack serve as skilled maestros, guiding you through the most epic of journeys. And there is no better time to listen to their popular 2012 album release Some Nights than the warm summer months. Their hit single “We Are Young” reminds me of my road trip to Austin, when I played the song on repeat the majority of the drive. The weather was hot, the windows were rolled down, and somewhere deep down this song told me I was having the time of my life; a moment I’ll never get back and I should enjoy every second of. Not only that, but everywhere I went, every restaurant and every bar seemed to play this song. It was like a sign. And the magic of this particular song is it never gets old—ever. When you think it does, it never fails, you’ll be belting the words out at the top of your lungs in your car with your pals. Because we are young. And alive. And this track reaffirms that. Of course, within the same album is “Some Nights,” a song that evokes a desire to drive and drive, even without a set destination. Cause some nights, you just don’t know or care. And that’s okay. “Carry On” provides a mixture of fun, life lessons, and inspiration. No matter what emotions you’re feeling at any given moment of your summer drive, this track makes you feel unstoppable. “Because we are, we are shining stars, we are invincible…no one’s ever going to stop us now.” Without being bias*ed*, the album is loaded with killer songs for summer drives—they’re upbeat, catchy, and most importantly, make you feel alive and free of any inhibition. (Alyson Stokes)

“San Francisco” / “Say It Just Say It” / “Leave It Up To Me”

If you aren’t familiar with The Mowgli’s and their blend of infectious, sun-drenched indie rock, I’m about to improve the quality of your life tenfold (or at least make it a little bit happier). With the release of their debut album Waiting for the Dawn, the Los Angeles collective injected the sometimes bleary and bummed out indie rock world with a shot of positive thinking music that’s filled to the brim with love. The first lyrics sung on the record’s first track (and lead single, appropriately) “San Francisco” are the perfect example of the kind of summer vibes they’re putting out: “I’ve been in love with love and the idea of something binding us together, you know that love is strong enough” — and these are group vocals, so it’s a sense of sing-along immediacy that’s hard to find. It’s also got trumpets, a bridge that will get stuck in your head for days, and it’s just so damn positive you can’t help but smile, tap your feet, and sing along when you hear it. Two of my personal favorite tracks on the album, “Say It Just Say It” and “Leave It Up To Me”, take from that same wave. “Woah oh” sections abound, fun guitar riffs (the solo on ‘Leave It Up To Me’ is next level rad), and enough sunshine to make you think you’ve landed yourself in the great state of California. Grab a few friends, roll the windows down, head to the beach, and I think you’ll know the answer to this question: Do you feel the love? (Tarynn Law)

“Harlem” / “Goodbye Copenhagen” / “Stuck On You”

Summer is coming fast, and New Politics are here to accompany you down the winding road for the next few months. Just about every road trip starts at an early hour, but who needs coffee when you’ve got energetic riffs that seem to pump into your bloodstream? Kicking off my soundtrack is “Harlem.” The song is infused with the kind of beat that mimics the rhythm of double dutch jump rope slapping the hot concrete, similar to the scene depicted in the album cover of A Bad Girl In Harlem. Put the convertible top down, turn up the volume, and let the fist-pumping chants—reminiscent of after-school pep rallies—wash over you.

Once you’ve hit the highway you know you’re not turning back on your trip. “Goodbye Copenhagen” depicts spirits flying as fast as your car as David Boyd sings, “Goodbye Copenhagen love / I’ll be back in December I hope you’ll still be there.” As brazen as it feels to be out of familiar surroundings when out on the road with your best friends and without the responsibilities you left behind, it’s impossible to forget where you’ve come from and the people still at home.

And that’s when “Stuck On You” comes into play, right when nostalgia or even homesickness kicks in. It’s a dramatic ballad that resonates emotionally through aching lyrics and is best accompanied with the patter of summer rain. Though singing along to the heart-wrenching lyrics won’t fix everything, you just might realize a few things about yourself. No matter how many miles separate you and your home, it’ll always be there in your mind. The sun is setting on unfamiliar surroundings and maybe it’s time to turn around and head back to the people you love. (Emily Yee)

“Sell Out” / “Keasbey Nights” / “Shining On”

My playlist is all about a car packed with your friends, on the way to the beach, backed by the perfect soundtrack, of course. Summer has always marked the return of ska music, and these next songs, to my speakers. Ska has this undeniable way of being upbeat no matter the subject matter, practically forcing the listener into a good mood. All music directs your mood but only ska (and maybe polka) has the distinct pleasure of always making people feel downright cheery. Reel Big Fish are proof of this—even songs about hating someone’s guts or selling out have an ironic, peppy quality to them. Streetlight Manifesto’s “Keasbey Nights” can and should be your new road trip song, perfect for all the aforementioned but also for the fact you and your most tone-deaf friends can shout along with the chorus without sounding out of tune. Plus, you can be the worst dancer in the world and still get down to that brass section. While it’s true that these three songs are a little older, that’s just testament to their longevity as volume crank-able hits, summer after summer. Big D really put it best in “Shining On”: “…but I can’t stop from just smiling / When that damn sun is shining on / Hell, it’s just shining down all over me.” Live it up, basking in the sunshine, but promise us you won’t skank and drive. (Alyssa Dempsey)

“States and Minds” / “Roam” / “Quicksand”

It’s not summer until your steering wheel has become a drum set and your pensive emo playlists have been supplemented with shameless pop punk. The Story So Far’s Under Soil and Dirt is the soundtrack of my summer. I was introduced to this record while driving my old pop punk band in a sweaty car to Boston to play a church show. The funny thing is, The Story So Far were on the bill and I remember being one of the few “stoked” kids who was ready to assertively point my index finger and scream every lyric until my voice was gone.

Whenever I’m driving in the summer, with my iPod on shuffle, the intro track “States and Minds” will make its way through my exhausted car speakers. I immediately can’t help but bob my head, swing my fist, and tell my dashboard that I’m “falling in and out again.” “Roam” and “Quicksand” yield similar reactions in me. They give me the perfect amount of energy and adrenaline to make me feel like I’m at a sweaty summer show—the car is my venue, the windshield is my barricade, and I scream every word in the beautiful summer air. (Ethan Rose)

“Ocean Avenue” / “With You Around” / “Always Summer”

Yellowcard have been my personal harbinger of summer since 2003’s magnificently sunny “Ocean Avenue.” I can’t think of a better band to jam on the open road with the windows down this summer (especially when heading to see them at Warped Tour)! Something about Yellowcard was made for summer and they’re great for driving, too. “Ocean Avenue,” “With You Around,” and “Always Summer” are some of my favorites on my road trip playlist. From the first seconds of each song, I know I’m in for at least three minutes of pure optimism. It’s impossible not to smile when that familiar guitar strikes the stereo. “With You Around” is the kind of song meant to be played on a long drive with an old friend—it’s affirmed right in the chorus with “You and me driving…singing ‘till our voices were gone.” For me, Yellowcard is that old friend and I have happily sung myself to a rasp on many a drive. “Always Summer” is instant summer and it brings me the same immediate satisfaction in the middle of winter; I hummed its radiant melody while shoveling a foot of snow out of my driveway this February, and gained a sliver of hope for the warm weather to come. Now that summer has finally arrived, I’ll be playing it loud and clear on every car ride. These upbeat anthems are a caffeine high while the sun is in the sky but the band’s slower, more thoughtful tracks belong to the sunsets and cool twilight dusks of the season. With inspiring lyrics and lively violin riffs, Yellowcard will keep your summer road trip far from boring. Just remember to keep the air violin to a minimum. Hands on the wheel! (Hannah Pierangelo)

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