Family Magazine

Designer Daddy’s Ultimate Road Trip Playlist

By Designerdaddy @DesignerDaddy

KIA Road Trip Playlist

Road trips were a big part of my childhood. As a military family, that meant lots visits to grandparents and cousins each summer and Christmas. Most of these trips were taken in the family van (this was pre-minivan, folks). It was a glorious every-shade-of-brown, tricked out with a movable table, back seat that folded into a bed, and wall-to-ceiling velour. And as the oldest kid, I had the best seat — the captain’s chair behind the driver; feet propped up in the tinted windowsill; plugged into my Walkman as I watched the world whiz by.

College road trips consisted of driving the 787 miles from Waco to my parents in Colorado Springs. It was equal parts breathtaking and mind-numbing, but with the right music (and lots of Dr. Pepper), the trip went by in no time.

Nowadays our expeditions are usually to Grandma and Grandpa’s. Yet music is still an essential part of our travels — whether it’s to entertain a fidgeting second grader or keep Papa awake during I-95 traffic.

In a couple of weeks I’m heading to San Diego for the ultimate music-filled road trip — an adventure sponsored by Kia Motors! I and a bunch of other parent bloggers are being treated to a full-emersion experience in all things Kia‌ centered around a rock-and-roll theme! I’ve already got a few concert tees picked out for the live band karaoke; I can’t wait to play rock star for a night with my fellow overworked, hyped-up, reliving-their-childhood moms and dads! We’re also going to be tooling along San Diego’s picturesque coastline, test-driving various Kia models‌ including the all-new Kia Stinger GT. SWEET, as the kids say.

So yeah, this trip needs a pretty epic soundtrack. Below is my ULTIMATE ROAD TRIP PLAYLIST, which I plan on blasting from my (hopefully) red Stinger. And also on the plane ride there‌ and in my Uber from the airport‌ and as I fall asleep in the hotel‌ Oh god, I’m so ready for this.

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I tried to not include too many oh-so-obvious choices and as much musical variety as I could muster. You can enjoy a bunch of the videos here, or check out the full mix on Spotify.

1. Cars / Gary Numan

The coolest song about cars, ever.

2. Let’s Go / The Cars

3. Stickshifts And Safetybelts / Cake

Cake is a favorite of mine and my husband, and this tune always makes me think fondly of the carefree (AKA childfree) trips we took early in our relationship.

4. Let’s Go! / Eurythmics

5. Freeway of Love / Aretha Franklin

Classic convertible song. Also beloved by Mary Kay reps.

6. Fantastic Voyage / Coolio

7. Little Red Corvette / Prince

Okay, maybe THIS is the coolest car song ever. It’s certainly the sexiest.

8. Shut Up And Drive / Rihanna

9. I Get Around / The Beach Boys

Beat out “Little Deuce Coupe,� “Fun, Fun, Fun,� and “Shut Down� by a nose.

10. Day Tripper / The Beatles

Beat out “Drive My Car� by a nose.

11. Speed Racer / Devo

This would be a great kid’s song… if not for the verse about Barbie liking sex. FYI, also not the cartoon theme song.

12. Route 66 / Depeche Mode

13. I Left My Wallet In El Segundo / A Tribe Called Quest

A cross-country drive ends in a conveniently forgotten wallet, providing an excuse to get back on the road. A chill, quintessential cruising song.

14. Ride / Liz Phair

15. Joy Rides / MuteMath

16. Life In The Fast Lane / Eagles

Sorry “Take It Easy� fans, this one rocks harder and is less overplayed.

17. Sin Wagon / Dixie Chicks

Road-tripping with the Dixie Chicks sounds like about the most fun thing ever.

18. Cartrouble / Adam & the Ants

Playing this one (and the next) on a road trip might be testing karma, but it’s too kickass not to include.

19. Daddy’s Gonna Pay For Your Crashed Car / U2

20. Car Song / Elastica

21. Slow Ride / Foghat

There was a bumper crop of car/road trip songs in the 1970s. This is the grooviest best.

22. Pull Up To the Bumper / Grace Jones

Not really about cars. đŸ˜‰

23. Middle Of The Road / The Pretenders

24. Guitars, Cadillacs / Dwight Yoakam

Country road music, Southern California style.

25. Hit The Road Jack / Ray Charles

Being kicked to the curb never sounded so soulful.

26. Mercedes Benz / Janis Joplin

“It’s the want of something that gives you the blues. It’s not what isn’t, it’s what you wish was that makes unhappiness.â€� – Janis Joplin

27. Ride / The Vines

28. Ridin’ / Chamillionaire Feat. Krayze Bone

An ode to racial profiling and police brutality, set to a killer beat.

29. Blue Highway / Billy Idol

30. Devil In My Car / The B-52’s

I considered “Roamâ€� or “Love Shack,â€� but old school B-52’s holds a weird, sinister place in my heart.

31. Seven Bridges Road / Dolly Parton

Originally written by Steve Young, made famous by The Eagles, and recorded by a truckload of other artists. Dolly’s perfectly-harmonized bluegrass version is sheer country road trip heaven.

32. My Hooptie / Sir Mix-A-Lot

33. Long Road to Ruin / Foo Fighters

34. The Distance / Cake

You can never have enough Cake. Always gets my motor revving and the volume up to 11.

35. I’ve Been Everywhere / Johnny Cash

How many of these have you visited?

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Warning, this list is not particularly family-friendly. For a more kid-safe playlist, try this one.

Check back in a few weeks for my follow up on the trip. And if you’ve got a favorite road trip song, leave it in the comments. I’m always looking to expand my musical horizons!

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