Ahh, the great American road trip. A time when we can explore our nation from sea to shining sea, sleep in dingy motels, eat exclusively from diners and vending machines and generally pretend to be Jack Kerouac. With Columbus Day looming on the distant horizon, I bet that many of us have plans to get off the Hilltop. Most of us will probably take less Kerouac-ian methods of travel — but the great American Megabus trip just doesn’t have the same ring to it, does it?

As anyone who has ever taken a car ride of more than one hour knows, good music is essential to prevent falling asleep out of boredom and becoming roadkill. So this weekend, here’s what I’ll be playing as I cruise down the interstate.

First up: “Shore to Shore” by Johnny Flynn. Johnny Flynn is one of my very favorite musicians — his voice sounds like Bob Dylan and Ray LaMontagne’s baby took music lessons from Tom Waits. As if that weren’t reason enough to press play, this song is perfect for roadtrippin’ because it’s about the transient life of a traveler as he drifts from (you guessed it) shore to shore.

 

When the driving coma sets in, my best advice is to play some low-key tunes. Don’t try to fight your boredom with Rhianna’s “Shut Up and Drive.” Like attempting to slap yourself awake, it will be a painful and fruitless experience. Instead listen to “The Animal of Choice” by The Daredevil Christopher Wright.

This group sounds kind of like someone rubbing sandpaper on Fleet Foxes, if that analogy makes any sense. This whimsical track will set the perfect backdrop as you drive past green fields and maybe some farms. (You were planning to drive through the rural Midwest, weren’t you?) As you whisk by, feel free to dream that you’ll never turn the car around but instead will support yourself by running a small roadside stand selling fresh vegetables and lemonade. These are the sort of dreams that The Daredevil Christopher Wright inspires.

Now I know that this column usually focuses on artists who are still under the radar, but in a discussion of road trip music there is one song that I just can’t help talking about, even if it is decades old. What is this song to end all travel songs, you ask?

“America” by Simon and Garfunkel, one of my favorite songs by the ’60s folk duo.  It describes the fruitless experience of looking for that quintessential Pleasantville, America, by hitchhiking and taking Greyhound buses across the country. Even though they never find what they seek, every single time I listen to this song I want to pack a small bag of my belongings and set out for California. That is, of course, until I realize that hitchhiking across the country would probably result in my death and would also mean I couldn’t keep up with watching “Modern Family.” I have my priorities straight.

So if you’re driving, flying or taking the bus somewhere over the next few weeks, follow this recipe for a road trip playlist that will have you tapping your toes until you reach your final destination. If you’re staying here at Georgetown, these songs can work for you, too — just close your eyes and imagine yourself at some indiscriminate point on Route 66. It will be almost as good as the real thing.

 

Kinne Chapin is a senior in the College. She can be reached at chapin@thehoya.com.  Face the Music appears every other Friday in the guide.

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