Drive My Car: Essential Vinyl Records for the Perfect Road Trip
What makes a perfect road trip? Ideally, you're cruising down the highway to your preferred destination, the sunroof is open, and you've got the wind in your hair. The most vital ingredient, however, is the right music. Blasting your favorite tunes can make hours in gridlock traffic feel like a breeze, and there's nothing better to singing along to a classic road trip anthem. With the Revolution GO Portable Record Player, it's never been easier to take our favorite vinyl records on the road with us. We've already covered what to look for in your next portable record player or speaker in our last blog post, so here are some classic albums that make us want to hop in the car and hit the road.
There are few songs that conjure a road trip like, well, "Drive My Car." Rubber Soul is a classic, and one of the most important albums in the Beatles' canon. It serves as something as a line of demarcation between their early catalog and the psychedelia-tinged records of their later career, as the band began to mature and come into their own as songwriters. Rubber Soul contains several of the Beatles' best tracks, from Paul McCartney's "Norwegian Wood" to the album's closer, "Run for Your Life."
Aptly titled, Golden Hour is a perfect mood setter for a leisurely sunset drive. Kacey Musgraves is one of the more exciting artists in modern country music, blending elements of 1970s light rock and even disco. The record contains numerous fun, sing-along worthy tracks, but it's the closer that floors us every time. "Rainbow" ends the album, a delicate ballad that showcases Musgraves' vocal ability in a restrained fashion.
Look, we don't make the rules, and the rules clearly state that you can't have a proper road trip without Rumours. Fleetwood Mac's best-selling record contains hit after hit after hit, with a track to match virtually every road trip vibe. Need to belt one out? You've got "Go Your Own Way." Wistful, late night drive? Well, look no further than Stevie Nicks' emotional vocals on "Dreams." Rumours is a classic among classics and has a place in any music lover's collection.
Brittany Howard is a true throwback rocker, something that is more than apparent on her first solo outing, Jaime. Jaime was conceived of after Howard returned from a road trip of her own, and came to be an expression of artistic freedom. Dreamy tracks like "Stay High" and "He Loves Me" are highlights, as Howard demonstrates her vocal power and signature grit while paying homage to her jazz and soul influences.
There are certain records that feel like they were just written for the road, and Highway 61 Revisited is one of them. It marked Bob Dylan's transition from mostly acoustic folk music into an electrified folk-rock sound, and made reference to the highway that connected most of the major music cities of the South. Dylan's masterful songwriting ability and iconic nasal-toned voice bring tracks such as "Like a Rolling Stone" to life, as Dylan sings of rambling around the country and never quite settling down.
The perfect road trip album, if your road trip happened to be going into space. Janelle Monáe is one of the most inventive artists working in music today. The Electric Lady is a difficult record to fit into a single genre, combining elements of funk, soul, jazz, and even dance-pop, as Monáe experiments with sound on virtually every track. "Dance Apolcalyptic" is a standout, with heavy use of synthesizer and a trippy, new-wave vibe.
How about a pre-curated selection? Edgar Wright essentially wrote Baby Driver around the soundtrack, and a movie predominately focused on driving warranted some killer road tracks. The title is taken from Simon & Garfunkel's classic, while the rest of the soundtrack features an eclectic mix of soul, funk, and progressive rock. An ironic standout is Hocus Pocus' instrumental track "Focus", playing during a memorable foot chase.
Raise your hand if you've never loudly sung along to Miley on a long car ride. Liar. From her early "Party in the U.S.A" days to "Flowers", Miley Cyrus has provided us with anthem after anthem. Endless Summer Vacation is arguably her best release yet, a look into how her songwriting has evolved, and featuring collaborations with artists like Brandi Carlile and Sia. With each record, Miley further cements herself as one of the greatest pop stars of her generation, and Endless Summer Vacation is no exception.
Another one of those "written for the road" albums, Hotel California opens "on a dark desert highway." The title track is one of rock's most enduring, with its iconic guitar solo dominating the song's latter half. Hotel California completed the Eagles' transformation into rock superstars, with guitarist Joe Walsh joining to help evolve their sound. "Life in the Fast Lane" is another standout, an anxiety-inducing track featuring yet another iconic guitar solo.
The Allman Brothers Band were unlike most of their Southern rock contemporaries. While others veered closer to country, the Allmans' harmonized guitars and unusual rhythmic elements bordered on jazz-fusion. Brothers and Sisters contains one of the group's signature tracks, "Rambin' Man", a perfect addition to any road trip playlist, as well as the instrumental guitar track, "Jessica."