This year on Top Gear, they’re doing a write-in survey of the best driving songs of all time. Since I love lists, and I love thinking about lists, I decided to give it a shot. This is the seriously jet-lagged malaria-pill-induced-hysteria list, so I reserve the right to look at this list in a couple days, call myself a tool, and redo it.\
Before I bust out the list, let’s review what makes a good driving song. First, I’ll tell you what it isn’t – a good coding song. They’re two different things. Coding songs put you in a zonked out place where you can code without getting outside yourself – it pulls you into yourself. A driving song heightens everything. It makes you do everything a little crisper: accelerate, turn, brake, check your mirrors, etc. It also doesn’t have to be about driving… Anyway, here’s the list in no particular order (and feel free to add your own):
- Busy Child – Crystal Method
- Born To Be Wild – Steppenwolf: Duh, come on… this is the original and still king of driving songs.
- Saturday Morning – Eels: Often blaring when Max and I go out to breakfast on Saturday mornings.
- Sledgehammer – Peter Gabriel: Actually, the whole second disc of Secret World could be in this spot, but I said songs, not albums, right?
- Back in Black – Living Colour: The AC/DC version will do in a pinch, but I love the Living Colour cover. It’s balls out, no kidding around, and Corey Glover just runs away with it (you know, actually singing instead of screaming).
- Cowgirl – Underworld: Pick your remix, doesn’t really matter. This song kicks so much ass, it needs a list of its own (you could probably easily do a top ten Cowgirl remixes).
- I See You Baby – Groove Armada: See Cowgirl, all the same things apply. The remix from Boom is especially good.
- Communication – INXS: Good piano riff, good guitar riff, and Michael Hutchence at his finest. Oh, and meaningless lyrics, which is a plus for any good driving song.
- The Mango Song – Phish: A bonus feature for driving songs is length… the longer, the better. Six and a half minutes is just about perfect, and this song nails it. It’s not the hardest song on this list, but it flows so well it’s just a sublime driving song.
- Short Skirt/Long Jacket – Cake: Cake could run over this list if I really thought about it (see malaria-pill-induced-hysteria). For driving albums, they could have the top two or three spots, easily. This song is my favorite. It has catchy lyrics, and a hook to die for. Oh, and rock trumpets kick balls, man (it’s like kicking ass, but it does it head on).\
An honorable mention goes to Junior Senior for both Move Your Feet and Shake Your Coconuts (a song that needs more mash-ups, come on interweb!). I’m sure there are more, but it’s time for petit dejeuner (hooray, breakfast!).