One of the best times to listen to music is on a long, lonely drive. No limits to how loud you can blast your favorite tunes, no one to judge your music choices — your car transforms into a musical sanctuary. And trekking down a highway, passing under the paper leaves of canopied trees, looking out on daisy-cloaked valleys or rumbling ravines, the perfect song can complete the serene scene.
On that note, here are five folksy songs to play on your long drive down a windy road.
“Bless the Telephone” — Labi Siffre
College students are uniquely familiar with the power of a telephone call. “Bless the Telephone” by Labi Siffre is a delicate tune that explains how just a few minutes on the phone with the person you love can change your entire day. With a campfire guitar rhythm draped over the soft, simple lyrics and the buttery twang of Siffre’s voice, it’s not hard to lose yourself in the endearing melody. Lyrics such as, “It’s nice, the way you say my name / Not very fast or slow, just soft and low” paint a sensitive and keenly intimate image that would fill any cross-country drive with a moment of innocent joy.
“Kathy’s Song” — Simon & Garfunkel
Any song off Sounds Of Silence is suited for a cruise past lush, tumbling hills and glistening, cerulean lakes. Rather than pick a popular song such as “April Come She Will” or an instrumental tune such as “Anji” that is reminiscent of a horseback ride against a Western sunset, “Kathy’s Song” is a less-known, perfectly appropriate track to choose. Paul Simon’s fragile, wispy vocals croon a heartfelt ode over velvet, finger-picked guitar lines. The lyrics culminate in a love letter, a tale of finding your true home. Pair this with an alluring, blooming country drive, and you are basically in a road trip montage out of an indie movie.
“Soledad y el Mar” — Natalia Lafourcade
“Soledad y el Mar” is a sensual, haunting rumination peppered with a ‘60s-esque instrumental backing. Incredibly true to Mexican bolero ballads and simultaneously unique, this is a swaying, folksy tune accompanied by romantic percussion and string work. Lafourcade’s voice is harrowing, poignantly strumming through your body. But with the beachy, conch shell rhythm trailing along behind it, this song will make you feel like you are in paradise rather than on your third hour of driving.
“This Feeling” — Alabama Shakes
Alone in the driver’s seat, watching landscape after landscape disappear in the rearview mirror, is the ideal place to think about where you’ve been, what you’ve done and where you are going next. “This Feeling” by Alabama Shakes is the perfect song to set the mood for this introspection. The lick-laden acoustics and quiet soul-filled vocals mix together to produce a heart-wrenching ballad of roads traveled and progress made. Lyrics such as, “I spent all this time / Try’na figure out why / Nobody’s on my side” are achingly relatable. Yet, the song leaves listeners on a homesick but positive note: There are more worlds to see, more roads to trek. We just have to keep going.
“Here, There and Everywhere” — The Beatles
This song, written by Paul McCartney, is possibly one of the most straightforward songs in The Beatles’ catalog. Exchanging psychedelic keyboard work and rock drum beats for simple, soothing guitar and percussion, the song sets a mood of radiant happiness and unfettered devotion. The barbershop quartet-like backup vocals carry a humming melody as McCartney’s falsetto melts gently over the track, the chord sequence perfectly organized yet somewhat unpredictable. “Here, There and Everywhere” is a loving, sentimental song to simmer into as the sun begins to set.
Maisy Menzies is the assistant arts & entertainment editor. Contact her at [email protected]cal.org.