1. Nostalgia - I’ve been over this many times, but I grew up in that era where pop punk ruled the world (or at least the airwaves), where we were watching music videos and episodes of the Office on our iPod videos, and instead of a middle part, guys had one large swoop that covered one eye and spiked it in the back. What a time to be alive, or what a time to piss and moan about being alive because we were emo. That’s what we did. We complained that we were misunderstood. We had all these feelings that we didn’t know how to express, so we bottled it all up inside, put on some eyeliner, and rocked out to songs like “I’m Not Okay (I Promise)” and “All That I Got” as a desperate plea for help which we’d reject anyway if it was ever offered. We’re a generation that’s carried this angst with us into adulthood. Heaven forbid “Mr. Brightside” comes on when millennials are congregated. It’s the screaming mixed with whining of this genre that gets me going. Strained vocals on the verge of rage or depression or both, I’m not really sure. And as I go through my second quarter-life crisis, nothing is more comforting to me that belting, “Don’t waste your time on me you’re already a voice inside my yead,” because Tom Delonge doesn’t know how to pronounce h’s, he only sees them with a 182° rotation. But yeah, nostalgia (pop punk) goes on the playlist.
2. Classics - Now the term “classic rock” has drastically changed and is ever growing but it’s mostly from the 70s right? Like that’s the median of the genre? The Who, The Rolling Stones, Led Zepplin, Queen, whatever you love from this era, it deserves a spot in the rotation. A little bit to sing to, a little bit to rock out to, and whole lot to just sit back a drive to.
3. Fleetwood Mac - It’s objectively true that Fleetwood Mac’s discography is full of absolute road trip bangers. They might’ve been a bunch of horny bandmates that definitely needed a seminar or two from their HR department regarding sexual misconduct in the work place, but damn, did they produce one song after another that just absolutely slapped.
4. Sing-along songs - Especially if you're by yourself, you need songs you can just belt to your little hearts desire. It's one of the most cathartic experiences one can have. Now for those of you that know me, you're probably trying to picture this because it seems so out of character. That's why I go on road trips by myself. By the way, the Venn diagram of this and nostalgia and classics and Fleetwood Mac overlaps so much that it’s almost a complete circle, but it’s not; it’s just a weird-ass shape. Also, in this category is “A Thousand Miles” by Vanessa Carlton. Sorry, that's just how it is; I don’t make the rules. You’ll notice that I purposefully left off Disney or Hamilton (or any other musical) here because I said so. If you want to listen to that, listen on your own damn time because it sure as hell isn’t going to taint my road trip playlist and ruin the vibe. Can you imagine going from “Dreams” to literally anything in the Disney catalogue. I love the movies, but don’t even think about it, especially in my car.
5. Whatever you’re most recently vibing to - Last but not least, just listen to whatever you’re recently vibing to. There’s been plenty of awesome music that’s been released in 2021, you have to be liking something right now.
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