By the time you see this I will be gone. Late last night I left on a jet-plane to the sun-soaked California coast. I will land in Long Beach, California in the wee hours of the morning, pick up my rental car and immediately plug in my iPhone to begin a two hour road trip into the desert that will be gloriously soundtracked by this mix I made you guys. (Okay, I made it for me but I’m sharing it with you.)
The first song on this mix is dear to me and always reminds me of this desolate stretch of road between the nowhere town of Helendale, California and the big city glitz of Las Vegas, Nevada. It’s ”Yellow Cat (slash) Red Cat” by Say Anything. Say Anything is one of those weird bands that saw fleeting popularity in the early aughts with songs like “Wow, I Can Get Sexual Too” and “Alive With the Glory of Love.” Both of those radio singles are great songs, but to me “Yellow Cat (slash) Red Cat” is THE Say Anything song. The great thing about a road trip mix is that it’s all about having stuff that is fun to sing along to but also, especially depending on where you’re going, having things that take you to a specific memory. This song is all about the memory of driving back and forth from college in Vegas to my grandparents house in Helendale. A grueling and boring drive that was made better by this song.
The mix picks up a bit from there and cashes in on some of pop musics big shots. “I Love It” by Icona Pop and “Suit and Tie” by Justin Timberlake both made it in there because they’re just so damned catchy. You’ll also find some songs that are about road trips or journeys in general, like “West Coast” by Coconut Records and “Banditos” by The Refreshments.
While I was making this particular mix I had to keep in mind a few things:
1. I’m traveling with my husband who is not the level of music geek with decades of deeply rooted snobbery informing his choices like I am.
2. We’re going to be in the hot California/Nevada desert for seven days on a series of short road trips.
3. I like to sing along, loudly even, but my singing voice is something like a sock full of loose change rattling around in a washing machine. Rhythmic at times but not terribly fun to listen to for prolonged periods of time.
Those things in mind I added songs like “Dancing my Heart Out” by Winter Gloves, an indie pop song that is cute and upbeat. I also added some tracks by local bands like “Massively Lonely” by Historian (swoon, I adore them), “Shake Shake Shake” by The Modern Savage and “City Walls” from Matt Hopper. It’s important not to forget our roots even while we’re cruising I-15 or sitting pool side at the El Cortez in downtown Las Vegas.
I will think of you all fondly while I am on vacation and hope that you listen to this playlist when you’re on the road this summer. Be it on the way to some fantastic music festival in the States or trip up to Fairbanks for funsies. Feel free to share you favorite road tunes in the comments.
Hand jives and high fives,