Music is an active, integral component of any road trip. Even if you’re a podcast fan, an audiobook devotee or a news junkie, a long road trip eventually calls for music – played loud with the windows and moonroof open.
We asked the editorial staff and advisory board at Subaru of America to put together playlists of their favorite road trip songs. They’re all on Pandora, and we’ve embedded links to these lists so you can save them on your device for the next time you’re on the road.
Editor in Chief
This playlist is alphabetized from my music library, but I always hit shuffle and let the randomness take the musical wheel. There are a lot of different moods to this list – just like a road trip. Most have a series of random ebbs and flows depending on whether you’re on a highway, back roads or city streets. You’ll also note there’s a number of tracks listed that reflect a particular region – most notable my home base of New Jersey and Philly (Springsteen, The Hooters, Robert Hazard, Bobby Rydell, Southside Johnny) and SoCal (The Doors, Don Henley).
I’ve also asked my Facebook friends for their suggestions, and they’re at the end of the list.
This playlist is for the end of a road trip when everyone is tired, bored and can’t wait to get to their destination. There’s no theme aside from up-tempo songs that keep you going for those final 50 miles!
I’ve spent my entire life in and around Boston, Massachusetts. All of the artists in this playlist are the Boston bands that influenced me over the years and had a small, but loyal, following in clubs around the country. Whenever I’m on the road, songs like The Neighborhoods’ “No Place Like Home” – recorded at The Rat in 1992 – and “All Kindsa Girls” from The Real Kids always make me think of home. What other city would turn out both the Spurs – a legitimately great country and western swing band in the mold of Bob Wills and His Texas Playboys – and The Upper Crust, an AC/DC-influenced troupe of aristocratic fops in powdered wigs? There isn’t a song on this list that won’t have you working out your air drum fills as the country passes through the lens of your windshield.
On a long drive, I alternate between peppy pop, podcasts and mellow music, the songs you can sink into when the sun’s still up and you feel like you have all the time in the world to get to where you’re going. For this playlist, I went in that direction. Here are 11 mostly mellow songs for that stretch of the road trip when you’ve hit your stride.
If I’m on a road trip, I prefer songs that run longer and that you wouldn’t usually hear on the radio. The music, rather than being background noise, needs to be engaging and attention grabbing. So, I like ones that tell a story or have excellent lyrics (“Powderfinger,” “Mr. Tambourine Man”) and evoke emotion – be it happy (“I Just Want to Celebrate,” “On Top of the World”) or melancholy (“Highway Song,” “Free Bird”). Good guitar work or an interesting riff (“Good Times Roll,” “In God’s Country,” “Driving Through Kashmir”) is an added bonus.
Digital Content Manager
A road trip with me is more like a mobile karaoke night with favorites like Neil Diamond’s “Sweet Caroline” and Dolly Parton’s “Jolene.” I grew up in a large family, and my parents had a rule about not listening to headphones because road trips were family time. This meant I always had to share the radio dial. So, when I started driving myself back and forth to college, I couldn’t wait to finally take control. For me, road trips are all about jamming out my favorite ‘90s boy band songs like *NSYNC’s “Tearin’ Up My Heart” and the Backstreet Boys’ “I Want It That Way.” The musical theater junkie in me also loves to belt out a couple of my favorite show tunes, including “You’re the One That I Want” from Grease and “Mamma Mia.” This playlist allows you to enjoy all the fun of karaoke night without having to stand on stage in front of a crowd of people. Just sing your heart out and enjoy the ride.
Senior Art Director
My favorite way to get my body moving is through dance. This playlist should get everyone in the car movin’ and groovin’ to the beat. The last three songs are for my fellow ‘90s babies. Enjoy!
I grew up with the influence of music surrounding me throughout my life. From dancing around the dining table as a child to The Beach Boys, The Beatles, and The Jackson 5, to jamming along with Wayne and Garth to “Bohemian Rhapsody” in high school, I welcome a tune over silence on most occasions. While lifting weights, Tech N9ne can be heard in the background – whereas on opposite end of the scale, some classical piano by Claude Debussy for meditating. But when I have the open road ahead of me for a long weekend getaway, classic and alternative rock are what help my mind drift off into bliss, looking forward to the adventure ahead of me.