We all know that I just spent a lot of time in my car those last few months of 2010. Naturally there was a lot of music happening on my stereo. A podcast (or two or three). Even a book on tape. 100 days of driving (roughly), 100 days of music.

There were places I listened to the radio, the obvious ones like NYC, Nashville. I had a moment of extreme excitement in Georgia when I found NPR. I zoned out to oldies somewhere in Virginia. Christmas music and Delilah kept me company through the emptiness that is highway 60 in central Florida. Dave Eggers escorted me home with A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius. I caught up on a lot of year old film news and interviews with screenwriters. Plus Radiolab. We can’t forget Radiolab. Thank you Kathryn for reminding me to listen to that one.

There were so many different things going on, sounds emerging, that for the most part I can’t really tell you what was what. But as may be expected, there were some songs that stood out, some that ended up on repeat, some I just couldn’t escape. Some that came to be associated with a place or single moment, others that found themselves threaded through the entire journey.

Which songs burned themselves into my brain? Which ones have become forever tied to this trip? I know you want to know. So I’ll tell you. In chronological order.

Part I – Up the west coast

We started the trip dedicated to Katie’s iPod. We mixed it up with Pandora here or there, listening to stations based on folks like Michael Buble or Nora Jones. But a few things on the iPod happened a lot.

1. Peaches. And not even just a song. How much Peaches does Katie have? I’m not sure but you can bet we heard a lot of her. I’m sorry Peaches, but after two days of you on repeat I kinda had to start requesting skip a lot. Veto power executed.

2. Disney music. Not nearly enough.

3. Feel Good Inc – Gorillaz. Okay, an actual song, not just an artist or genre. Also from Katie’s iPod.

4. Bohemian Rhapsody – Queen. What would become our late night rallying cry. There was even the moment, stuck in traffic trying to cross the Bay Bridge into San Francisco sometime after midnight, that we decided to see how many times we could listen to it before we reached the other side. The answer was 3. And then some.

Part II – Through the midwest

5. A Simple Thing – Freddy & Francine. Freddy & Francine’s album The Briar Patch was also on Katie’s iPod so songs came up from it quite a bit. But A Simple Thing will forever be associated with our mad rush from Colorado to Kansas as we tried to outrun a tornado. Which we succeeded in outrunning. Thank goodness.


6. Empire State of Mind (Part II) – Alicia Keys. Specifically Alicia Keys. I guess it had just been released or something of that sort, it was on the radio constantly around the beginning of September. Just as we were arriving in New York City. So yeah, this one is kind of “duh” in it’s inclusion and placement.

7. Psycho Killer – The Talking Heads. This song gets stuck in my head every time I hear it. Every. Single. Time. It followed me across the country. It played as I sat in a coffee shop in Manhattan trying to write. It played on the radio in my car. It came up again in a restaurant in Atlanta. I hope this all wasn’t some kind of sign…

Philly & D.C.

8. Time to Pretend – MGMT. I don’t remember when exactly or why this came up. But somewhere in the middle of my Philly/DC/college friend time it did. And Chris and I decided that we still liked it. And then we got excited and danced around in a smoke filled basement. Don’t worry, it was a smoke machine. Nothing illicit.

Virginia Family Time

9. You Want That Picture – Bonnie “Prince” Billy. Just cause. It was fitting. And it was on the mix I was listening to.

Somewhere on the road

10. You’re A Wolf – Sea Wolf. It came up somewhere in there, in the middle of one of those stretches that was in the middle of all of those other stretches. On my iPod. On Pandora. I don’t remember. But it happened once and then again and then it was stuck.

11. 12:51 – The Strokes. Same deal. It just happened. This was definitely Pandora.

Tennessee/North Carolina/Virginia – The whole job working time

12. Sweet Disposition – Temper Trap. That commercial that it’s in kept happening on the TV. Then there we were in TN, just arrived, Halloween night, sitting in the hotel admiring my selection of Walmart beer. And there it was again.

13. The Beatles. I felt like the Beatles one day at work. Probably because there were ads going on like crazy with them being all available on iTunes now and all that. Ended up spending almost an entire day listening to them. Mostly it was Abbey Road but stuff from Help and whatever else came up too.

14. Rumours – Fleetwood Mac. We listened to it at work. In the car. A lot. How many times? I have no idea.

15. A-Punk – Vampire Weekend. I don’t remember how or when this got mixed in there. It may have been my fault? I still love Vampire Weekend. They make me happy.

16. Feels – Animal Collective. Brandon gave me this album to help me mix up my music selection for the continuing driving. And then I listened to it a billion times.

17. Penny Sparkle – Blonde Redhead. Also Brandon’s fault. Although some Blonde Redhead came up through Alison’s mix as well.

18. I Got Mine – The Black Keys. Happened in the car somewhere in North Carolina I think. Attack and Release is awesome.

Post work – Somewhere in the south

19. Once in A Lifetime – The Talking Heads. This was Florida. Definitely north Florida. It’s the kind of music I always listen to in Florida. Yeah, Talking Heads made this list twice.

New Orleans

20. Broken Bells. Jason Prowell. Thank you sir.

21. Home – Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros. Jason and I talked a lot about music. And then he was like, “Oh have you ever seen this video of them singing this for KCRW?” And I was like, “No! I haven’t! Show me please!” Then I became obsessed. Now it’s my ringtone.

Lake Charles, LA

22. Heaven is a Place on Earth – Belinda Carlilse. “I have this old song stuck in my head, any help with what it could be?” “Um, you mean Heaven is a Place on Earth??” “Yes!!! To Youtube! We must find the video now!” That happened.

Driving home (Texas, New Mexico, AZ, and finally Cali)

23. Dog Days Are Over – Florence and the Machine. Thanks again to my faithful musical companion, Pandora. It happened in the last couple of days of the trip. Perfect timing.

24. West Coast – Coconut Records. It also happened in the last couple of days of the trip. No joke. Serendipity? I do not know.

25. Such Great Heights – The Postal Service. I was listening to a lot of Pandora there at the end, mixed in with Dave Eggers and Animal Collective. This was the last of its contributions. And the last song of my list. Almost.

Road Trip Music. My old standbye.

26. II – Led Zeppelin. Specifically, Ramble On. It’s the album I’ve listened to most, through all of my years of driving, all of my trips across this country. Cheesy maybe, but what’s more fitting for road trip music than that?

Leaves are falling all around, It’s time I was on my way.
Thanks to you, I’m much obliged for such a pleasant stay.
But now it’s time for me to go. The autumn moon lights my way.