Hitting the road again this morning, back to Maine for a couple of weeks. I'll be traveling a lot between now and the end of April, and possibly for longer than that. I like the feeling of being in motion; it gives me the illusion of momentum and meaning.
Every road trip needs a soundtrack, and while I'll spend a lot of the next 12 hours listening to audiobooks, these are five songs that are always in my iPod on a long drive. Leave your own recommendations in the comments section.
1. "Brand New Cadillac," The Clash. Not only the greatest car song of all time, but it has a secret feminist message: if you have a really cool car, you don't need some loser guy. A 2000 VW New Beetle counts as a really cool car, right?
2. "Roadrunner," The Modern Lovers. On the way home, I'm always driving through Massachusetts late at night, and this song is essential. "Going faster miles an hour . . . I say Roadrunner once/Roadrunner twice/I'm in love with rock and roll/And I'll be out all night." Listen to it here.
3. "White Light/White Heat," The Velvet Underground. It's a safe bet that this song has something to do with the consumption of illegal pharmaceuticals, but the beat is perfect when you're barreling through the plains of New Jersey.
4. "Gloria," Patti Smith. I'm picking this cover instead of the original (with Van Morrison and Them) because Van Morrison only gets one song on this list.
5. "Real Real Gone," Van Morrison. Mary Chapin Carpenter used to do a great cover of this as a final encore, which strikes me as a perfect use for the song. But the original version is not only a great song, it's an amazing arrangement. The organ zips up to the beginning, the horns announce the theme, Van's voice is an invitation, and the whole thing feels like flying.