Great Road Trip Songs – Playlist #1

What a shitshow 2020 turned out to be. Maybe music will help?


In ancient Egypt the numeral 2020 denoted the end of the world. Entire mythologies were created around and written about the sequenced numbers—a two (which symbolized hope) followed by a zero (which meant conflict and devastation), then another two and another zero (for eternity). Together the four digits were a coded message, a signal to the four horsemen of the apocalypse: It’s go-time. Each horseman was to inflict treacherous scourges on humanity: devastating fires, catastrophic floods, a mortal plague and Donald Trump.

All that seems extremely prescient and apropos now in the year 2020.

Even if that first part about ancient Egypt, number codes and horsemen isn’t completely accurate—or at all the truth; I totally just made it up — the big, awful, shit sandwich part about a plague (COVID) and natural disasters (fires, floods, Trump) is unfortunately spot-on in 2020.

All this is to say: Hey, we have our first playlist for you.

A hair-raising riff or an undeniably catchy groove can raise spirits in surprising ways. As can traveling. And I don’t know about you but when times are dire I usually turn to Pearl Jam. Or something Pearl Jam-adjacent in sensibilities. Which is why you’ll find nineties gems like the Sneaker Pimps’ hypnotic “Spin, Spin Sugar”; Elastica’s searing “Stutter”; and Cowboy Junkies’ lowkey “Common Disaster” in our debut playlist. Other tunes are more recent, like Lana Del Rey’s take on Sublime’s “Doin’ Time,” Powfu and Beabadobee’s impossibly hooky “Death Bed” as well as Pearl Jam’s trippy, un-Pearl Jam sounding “Dance of the Clairvoyants.” All 12 are here for their addictive, head-bopping awesomeness. Great road trip songs at a time when more people are undertaking road trips, especially to wide-open spaces and nature-forward trips due to COVID.

We hope you’ll think of our playlists—we expect to share one a quarter—as a soundtrack to your upcoming travel plans. Or at the very least a brief respite from the horsemen and shit sandwiches.

More to come. Enjoy.

—Chris M. Walsh