Grace Lower | Dec 21, 2020
While travel often comes with unforgettable moments, it’s easy to overlook the time you spend in transit. Whether you’re on an international flight or trapped in holiday traffic (I’m looking at you, Interstate 75), the hours you spend en route can offer a great opportunity for conversation and reflection. Sometimes all you need is the perfect soundtrack.
My own musical tastes are somewhat eclectic, but they’ve undoubtedly been shaped by countless road trips and flights. As a kid, my family would blast Queen’s Greatest Hits and Billy Joel’s Innocent Man album. In middle school, my friends and I would spend car rides jamming out to the latest hits from Metro Station and 3OH!3 (if you haven’t heard of those bands, don’t bother looking them up). And through high school—and well into college—I’d travel around in my 1999 Volkswagen with hipster staples like Bon Iver, Alt-J, and Arcade Fire.
But after years of road trips and changing musical tastes, my favorite travel song has got to be “The Bay” by the British indie-pop band, Metronomy. The lyrics are a bit cheesy, but whether I’m waiting in an airport terminal or staring out of a Megabus window, this song adds a bit of glamour to my travels.
I recently reached out to the rest of the Seven Corners team for some of their favorite travel songs. As it turns out, many of their suggestions are just as eclectic as my own. No matter where you travel this holiday season, turn up your speakers and rock out to Seven Corners’ Ultimate Travel Playlist!
1. “Come On, Let’s Go” — Los Lobos
This 1987 hit is an ideal song to kick off any trip. Short, sweet, and irresistibly catchy, “Come On, Let’s Go” has a classic rock-n-roll sound with a Southwestern twist.
2. “Dust on the Bottle” – David Lee Murphy
Country music fans will appreciate David Lee Murphy’s fun-loving, down-home style. Simple chords and a touch of 90’s nostalgia will have you singing along in no time.
3. “Meet Me in the Woods”--Lord Huron
With mournful folk-rock melodies and pensive lyrics, this song will take you on a “journey to the unknown” that’s ideal for nighttime driving.
4. “Gringo Honeymoon” — Robert Earl Keen
You don’t have to be from Texas to appreciate Robert Earl Keen’s folksy ballads. “Gringo Honeymoon” tells the story of dusty desert landscapes, cactus flowers, and a lively cast of characters you might meet the road.
5. “Mercury Blues” – Alan Jackson
No road trip is complete without a reliable car, and if Alan Jackson is to be believed, a Mercury is the way to go! This country-rock classic can liven up your trip, no matter what you’re driving.
6. “Jessie’s Girl” – Rick Springfield
An 80’s pop staple, “Jessie’s Girl” is catchy and upbeat—the perfect song to kick off a round of road trip karaoke.
7. “Gold” – Gabriel Rios (Thomas Jack Radio Edit)
While “Gold” may not seem like a travel song in the traditional sense, its cross-cultural style pairs perfectly with long-distance travel. Gabriel Rios incorporates Latin American salsa, bomba, and plena influences with European pop and hip-hop; the result is a hypnotic musical melting-pot that will have you dancing in your seat.
8. “King of the Road” — Roger Miller
Although Roger Miller is rightfully featured in the Country Music Hall of Fame, much of his music—“King of the Road” included—has a bit of show tune flair. Thanks to its crisp vocals and swing-inspired rhythm, “King of the Road” is at once vintage and timeless.
9. “I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles)” – The Proclaimers
This song is as joyful as it is catchy, and it brings back memories of long drives with my mom and sister. Even to this day, if I’m alone in my car and it comes on the radio, I will crank it up!
10. “That’s Right (You’re Not From Texas)” — Lyle Lovett
Another upbeat addition to the Seven Corners playlist, Lyle Lovett’s swing-inspired hit highlights the quirkiness and hospitality that you can only find in Texas.
11. “Rivers and Roads” – The Head and The Heart
No road trip is complete without a dose of quiet reflection. No matter what’s on your mind, “Rivers and Roads” offers a melancholy soundtrack, complete with airy vocals and plenty of piano.
12. “El Paso” — Marty Robbins
Featured on the season finale of Breaking Bad, “El Paso” is a country-western favorite and remains Marty Robbins’ best-known song. The ballad offers a classic cowboy love story with a deadly twist that will stay will you long after the song ends.
13. “Don’t Stop Believin’” – Journey
“Don’t Stop Believin”’ isn’t a song as much as it is a cultural phenomenon. Its feel-good message and unironically epic guitar solos make it an irresistible addition to any playlist.
14. “Tiny Dancer” – Elton John
Aside from being one of Elton John’s most beloved hits, “Tiny Dancer” is also featured in a hilarious road trip scene from the 2000 film, Almost Famous. There’s a moment in the movie when the band is traveling in their bus after a bad night. Everyone is angry until they gradually join in and start singing this song—a trick that might just work with your own travel companions!
Grace Lower is a recent college graduate with a love for writing and an incurable case of wanderlust. When she's not exploring new places, Grace enjoys teaching English as a Second Language, making terrible puns, and running incredibly long distances at incredibly slow speeds.