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Road Tripping

2009-07-10 11:52
Road Tripping Tunes
Just like you’d make a checklist of full tank, oil and tire pressure before you hit the highway, it’s a good idea to top up that CD-shuttle or iPod playlist. Ask anyone who’s driven through the Karoo and they’ll tell you. The "Sounds of Silence" aren’t really as blissful as either Simon or Garfunkel made them out to be. But then they probably took the bus to "Scarborough Fair" didn’t they?

Don’t for a second assume that slapping any old sounds onto the stereo is going to automatically ease you into cruise control either. Selecting the wrong soundtrack to your next scenic spin up the Garden Route is a bit like going on safari with your in-laws. Before you know it you'll be doing "karaoke in your car" to The Darkness' "I Believe in a Thing Called Love", playing air guitar with your thumbs trying to alleviate the sheer boredom!

An obvious tune up begins with leaving those "Drive Time" infomercials at home. Just how many more times can you hear Steppenwolf’s "Born to Be Wild" without inducing motion sickness? Ditto any high octane "Fast & Furious" style soundtracks. They might make you feel like Vin Diesel, but remember … there's a reason why Hollywood action movies have so many multiple car pileups. And while the "mag wheels, tinted windows and souped up” sound system set might be willing to fill up on gangster raps, it's actually kwaito that’s the automatic shock-absorber for buzzing around the inner city streets.

Finally though, whether you're a perennial boy who must have his high tech stereo toys or a more functional family front-loader, remember one thing. On a long cross country trip or simply getting from A to B, your car stereo is your constant companion, best friend and yes…even your mistress! Just keep her well lubricated and who knows, maybe you won’t bother wondering how much petrol you've wasted on cruise control?

Road Trip Ready Best

1. The White Stripes "Seven Nation Army"
Those anthemic opening guitar riffs, that rampant call to arms - who cares what Jack Whites actually singing about with such tweeter-tweaking, vintage V8 Ford Mustang aural overload?
Watch the video:

2. Bob Marley "Exodus"

The open road beckons with this funky reggae groove. Bob and the Wailers sound so laid back that if you slip this onto your car stero you're sure to reach your "Promised Land" in no time.
Watch the video.

3. Red Hot Chili Peppers "Road Trippin'"
The sound of the ultimate "boys only" weekend away. Lead singer Anthony may be your laid back tour guide, but it's Flea's chilled bass funk that fuels this sun and surf soaked rock soundtrack to getting lost along the roads less travelled.
Watch the video.

4. Outkast "Hey Ya!"
Tearing up the rap, rock, pop and R&B map books, Andre 3000 and Big Boi hit the highway with a Motown soul pop celebration that's so frenetically funky it just never runs out of gas.
Watch the video.

5. Mandoza "Nkalakatha"
Sure, its pumping street rhythms are unlikely to save you when you forget to run that red light at 1am in the morning. But at least your hijackers will give you big ups for spinning such "dope" sounds.
Listen to the song 

6. Jimi Hendrix "Crosstown Traffic"
The "Highway Chile" tunes into a satellite navigation system that’s so synchronised with every short cut that no amount of  bumper bending rush hour blues will ever get you down.
Watch the video

7. Brigitte Bardot "Harley Davidson"
60s blonde starlet, BB gives bikers their ultimate crusing fantasy on this sexed up rednition of bad ass French lounge lizard Serge Gainsbourg's road cruising fantasy. Fill up the tank, pick up a blonde hitchhiker and just open the throttle.
Watch the video - it's seriously sexy.

8. Chris Isaak "Wicked Game"
You might find yourself careening down one of director David Lynch's "Lost Highways", but Isaak's sex-oozing baritone drawl captures late night driving nowhere specifically like nothing else.
Watch the video - it's another sexy slice of noir supermodel 'cinema'.

9. Valiant Swart "Die Mystic Boer"
Borrowing his name from a 70s kitsch-automobile classic, Swart races through a boere-blues rock "on the road" narrative that's so epic in it's Afrikaner quest mythology it's almost Biblical.
Read more

10. John Barry "James Bond Theme"
The Aston Martins, Lotus Esprits and BMWs may have fuelled Bond's automotive moves, but it's composer Barry's infamously bold and brassy big band theme that's kept 007 in cruise control for all these years.
Listen to the original 007 theme.

11. Gary Numan "Cars"
Okay, so it sounds like your air conditioner’s been abducted by aliens, but Numan's synth-pop gem remains one of the few one hit wonders on the planet that does justice to what you can actually get up to in an automobile. 
Watch the video.

12. Rolling Stones "(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction"
Mick's "yelp", Keith's sinewy blues rock riffs, and Charlie's metronomic pulse....yep, "Satisfaction" is a 2nd gear, stuck for half an hour behind a bloody convoy of cattle trucks and you're thinking about over taking on a blind curve kind of song, isn't it? 
Watch this rare early video version.

13. Fokofpolisiekar "Hemel in die Platteland"
Three minutes and two and ½ chords of high-octane Afrikaans garage punk rock celebrating tripping through the platteland without a Shell Auto City pit stop in sight. Just watch out for those speed traps though!
Watch the video

14. Madonna "American Pie"
With electro-mechanic Mirwais on board, the Material Girl changes Don McLean’s flat tire ditty about the joys of "driving your Chevy to the levy" with a chrome-polished techno-pop top-up.
Watch the video

15. Tamara Dey "Cocaine"
SA 1st lady of house turns J.J Cale's "Cocaine" into a cautionary pre—clubbing tale of hooking up with your downtown connection. Just make sure you skip to the next track when you’re circling the block "looking for a parking" and the cops pull you over.
Listen to a clip.

16. John Denver "Take Me Home, Country Road"
There's nothing quite like hearing the king of soft country’s crooning chorus to make trekking back to work after any vacation sound worthwhile. 
Watch a weird Japanese duet version video.

Whether it piloting a flashy Ferrari through an N1 speed trap outside Beaufort West or simply steering a more sedate BMW SUV through downtown traffic it's no longer enough to simply have the right set of wheels on your next road trip. To make the most of any road trip you've got to tune up to the perfect soundtrack. publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

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