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July 30, 2012  | by: Lauren Kuhl

Road trip time!

Summer presents the perfect opportunity for adventure. As we near the end of July and commence the beginning of the last month or so of warm weather, there is no time like the present to embark on a road trip. The possibility of travel, of taking in new scenery and creating your own, unique experiences, is what makes a road trip so elemental in the archive of American experiences. So, choose a destination (or just see where the road takes you!) gather some friends, and don’t forget to read my Top 10 Tunes that are ideal for this very type of adventure. Enjoy!

1. “Where The Streets Have No Name” by U2

The first track off the rock superstars’ 1987 album, The Joshua Tree, “Where The Streets Have No Name” encompasses the unknown-factor of embarking on a journey. In fact, lead singer Bono wrote the song in reference to his belief that one could guess someone’s financial income and religion based on the street in which they lived. Leave it to Bono’s poetic lyricism to supply this classic tune with deeper meaning.

2. “Pink Houses” by John Mellencamp

With lyrics like, “Ain’t that America somethin’ to see baby, Ain’t that America home of the free,” Mellencamp successfully encapsulates the perfection of a road trip anthem.

3. “Keep the Car Running” by Arcade Fire

An ode to the notion that sometimes you just need to get away, Arcade Fire keeps this song upbeat while tackling deeper issues.

4. “Out In the Street” by Bruce Springsteen

Springsteen echoes the need for community in this rock tune, emphasizing the sense of liberty felt when the song’s protagonist leaves work and walks “out in the street.” Such a sense of freedom makes this song tailor-made for our list.

 

5. “Lost” by Coldplay

One of the risks of embarking in an automobile-fueled adventure is getting lost. With this song, however, a sense of tranquility will overcome you as you engage in an eternal battle with TomTom, Garmen, or whichever GPS you call your own.

6. “Holiday” by Vampire Weekend

This song by the Columbia University-bred quartet captures the whimsicality of a road trip. As embodied in the music video off their album, Contra, the band dresses in mock-Aristocrat attire, performing tasks quintessential of a road trip, such as ordering food from a drive-thru and cruising around California in a ’63 Impala; some might say it’s cliché, I say it’s perfectly weird perfection.

 7. “Bright Side Of The Road” by Van Morrison

Upbeat and personal, Morrison sings about optimism; this track makes our list for just that reason.

8. “The Way We Get By” by Spoon

I consider myself a planner, but even extended periods of time spent in the car getting from Point A to Point B can get a little hazy. This song by Spoon acknowledges the notion that road trips present uncertainty; embrace it.

9. “Life Is a Highway” by Rascal Flatts

Like the previous song on this list, life in general is full of equal parts possibility and uncertainty. The adventure component stems from accepting this fact, and merely rolling with it.

10. “Beautiful Day” by U2

You never know what you’ll see on your trip. From desolate wastelands, to Eden-like cornucopias amidst endless stretches of road, 99% of the beauty of a road trip stems from absorbing your surroundings and appreciating things unseen. So sit back, relax, and take in all America has to offer.

Wherever your travels lead you, I hope the music blasting from the car speakers both excites and inspires passengers, drivers, and all those you encounter on your adventures. Happy road tripping!

 

What other songs will you include on the soundtrack of your trip?

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