Friday, August 17, 2012

Route 66 Kicks

Taylor and I are infected.  Full-on possessed by the virus known as the travel bug.  While we are usually home bodies who love our apartment and city, every month or so we get restless.  Our feet itch to move somewhere, our eyes get bored with the familiar landscape and complain, wanting to see new things.  What whiny bodies we have.

While we love traveling far and wide (as our recent vacation proved), we are also advocates of the good old fashioned road trip.  There's nothing that compares to you, the car, a sack full of sunflower seeds, an ever-changing view and some great tunes.

Those tunes have been a source of some contention... no, let's say slight disagreement... between Taylor and me as we've honed the art of our road-tripping.  While I think there's nothing better to cruise to than Elephant by the White Stripes, Taylor hates Jack White (I KNOW!) and thinks the perfect road album is Jimmy Eat World's Clarity.  Gag.  What-the-I-don't-even.

Luckily, we've found some albums that we agree on.  Road music that represents us both pretty well, and that perfectly complement the wide possibility and endlessness of asphalt.

Songs for the Deaf - Queens of the Stone Age

This is usually the first album we listen to when we get on the road.  And it's PERFECT.  Taylor introduced me to QotSA, and it might have ruined other music for me?  Because it's awesome?  Because it combines interesting musicality, harmonies, hypnotic rhythms, and turns it all up to eleven in a way that shouldn't work but totally does?  Seriously, they are so interesting to listen to and punch you in the face with such awesomeness that all other music sounds precious afterwards.  Like, 'aw, look at the cute little chord trying to be a song.  Maybe when you're older.' 

Sorry, weird rant there.  Anyway, this album was designed to fit the drive from LA to Joshua Tree, so it was created to be road music. And boy howdy does it deliver!  It's perfect for long, twisting roads through deserts at break neck speeds, while adding this sense of urgency and making you feel completely unconquerable.  Like I said, perfect.

 One Fast Move or I'm Gone - Ben Gibbard and Jay Farrar

Another classic desert drive accompaniment, this album adds a literary epic-ness to your journey.  All the lyrics are taken from Jack Kerouac's "Big Sur" and set to music by Ben Gibbard and Jay Farrar. The result is this sprawling album that sometimes makes you feel invincible, like there's nothing but sky and tumbleweed and you, ruling all you see.  But other times it brings your mortality crashing down, reminding you that you are a wandering vagabond with no home, no love, and no reward in Heaven. Much more appealing than it sounds, I promise.

After listening to that I always try to sneak in Mermaid Avenue by Billy Bragg and Wilco, just to even out the Uncle Tupelo-does-Americana dynamic.  But somehow it never works, because Taylor always suggests Rilo Kiley, and who am I to say no to that?

More Adventurous - Rilo Kiley

I can't even express how much I'm in love with Jenny Lewis.  I love her.  I just do.  It's a thing, and it's not going away, so there.

Rilo Kiley is my favorite, and this is my favorite Rilo Kiley album by far.  It's great, because it has their folksy semi-country songs, but blends them with pop sensibilities (courtesy of Blake Sennett's guitar).  Honestly, this is a meal of an album.  It's rich, and filling, and satisfying.  It has the variety a mix CD without the trouble of making one, which is a relief for the lazy vacationer in me.

Demon Days - Gorillaz

Somehow, we always end up with at least one Gorillaz album on the trip.  Apparently, if I choose the album it's Plastic Beach, and if Taylor chooses it's Demon Days.  I think we listen to Demon far more often, which is fine by me.  What a great, dancey album.  If you don't awkwardly wriggle in your seat, trying to shake your groove thang, something is wrong with you.  Really, you should get that checked out.

Transatlantacism - Death Cab for Cutie

This video captures the essence of driving in Washington.  The horizon, the stillness, the soft evergreen of evening.  I love it.

This album goes into the surreal side of road-tripping.  The quiet, introspective times.  It's when we've been on the road awhile, and now we're just driving.  No conversation, just holding hands and listening to Ben Gibbard.  I might be reading, Taylor might be staring out the window, but this music holds us together.  When "Passenger Seat" comes on, it's a vision of our future.


Ashley said...

Two things that are great for driving through the desert:

1 .60s girl garage bands

2. alien conspiracy theories.

Sierra Penrod said...

Passenger Seat is SO evocative. And Jenny Lewis--where can we build a Jenny Lewis Monument? I'm an Execution of all Things girl myself.