Top 10 Alternative Driving Songs

 
Something that’s never gone away as car
technology advances is the desire to listen to great music while driving,
especially if it compliments the scenery or relaxes you mid-traffic-jam.
 
As a Guitar teacher I’ve been exposed to an
enormous amount of Music of all styles and popularity levels. So, presuming
that you already know the clichéd motorway big hitters from The Eagles, AC/DC
and Bruce Springsteen, here are my Top 10 Alternative Driving Songs. All by bands
you may’ve forgotten, or haven’t heard of at all.
 
Here’s the accompanying Spotify playlist -
Get it saved and get in the car!
 
 
1) Everything Everything - To
The Blade
Everything Everything are one
of the most exciting British bands of the last few years, and what’s more, the
3 founding members were born and raised in Northumberland. This track, “To The
Blade” starts unusually, with a rambling solo vocal, but the huge crescendo/drop
at 0:54 takes the song in an amazingly energetic direction.
 
 
2) Mark Knopfler - Sailing To
Philadelphia
You already know Knopfler,
arguably the finest Guitarist the North East has ever produced, as the man
behind Dire Straits (Sultans Of Swing) and composer of film score / NUFC anthem
Going Home/Local Hero. This hypnotic acoustic ballad refers to “Durham and
Northumberland” in verse one, conjures up visions of Northumberland’s scenery,
and is a collaboration with Folk legend James Taylor.
 
 
3) Tears For Fears - Everybody
Wants To Rule The World
This 1985 hit definitely fits
the category of “Forgotten Classics” - revived as a fantastic driving song by
Peter Kay’s recent BBC sitcom “Car Share”. The typically huge 80’s drum beat
and fluctuating melancholic melodies make this song perfect for our driving
playlist.
 
 
4) José González - Crosses
José González is an
Argentinian-Swedish artist known for his moody, evocative folk songs. “Crosses”
is one of his best, with a drivingly rhythmic undercurrent and a reflective
vocal that lends itself to looking out the window at the world flashing by
 
 
5) New Radicals - You Get What
You Give
This one made New Radicals
something of a one hit wonder back in 1998. It’s a perfectly constructed pop
song with a lot of energy, making it a great driving song and one that’s sure
to bring back memories of the late 90’s when for a brief moment, this song was
everywhere
 
 
6) Al Stewart - Year Of The Cat
Glasgow-born Al Stewart
released “Year Of The Cat” in 1976 (and instantly moved to L.A. following its
success!) - It demonstrates his great storytelling lyricism and the melodic
talents of the band around him. The song manages to simultaneously be upbeat
and have an edge of sadness. You’re going to find yourself singing along to this
one.
 
 
7) Nitin Sawhney - Breathing
Light
Nitin Sawhney is a
British-Indian composer and producer who has worked with just about everybody,
won multiple awards for his film scores, and even originally worked with actor
and comedian Sanjeev Bhaskar on the concept that later became BBC sketch show Goodness
Gracious Me. “Breathing Light” is a beautiful genre-mixing instrumental full of
interesting violin, piano and percussion parts.
 
 
8) Grizzly Bear - Two Weeks
Grizzly Bear emerged from
Brooklyn, NY in the early-mid 2000’s.
“Two Weeks” is one of their best songs, full of amazing, swelling vocal
harmonies that create an epic, scenic soundscape. This is another one
well-suited to the more scenic routes, and another one that’ll get you singing
along, with some painfully high-pitched (but very fun) Oohs and Aahs. Enjoy!
 
9) Porcupine Tree - Trains
What starts as an acoustic
ballad later becomes another huge soundscape, that won award after award for
its surround sound mix in 2002.  This was
the first song I thought of for this driving playlist, such is the dynamic of
the song (you’ll see what I mean - remember to listen to the spotify playlist). It’s
also probably one you’ve not heard of, as Porcupine Tree have remained relatively
obscure.
 
 
10) Mutual Benefit - Not For
Nothing
Disillusioned US banker turned
hippy-songwriter Jordan Lee formed Mutual Benefit to realise his Folk music
aspirations. “Not For Nothing” is typical of his writing - bare, emotional
lyrics, luscious strings arrangements and a reflective mood that is made for a
night-time drive.
 
 
That concludes my playlist of
the Top 10 Alternative Driving Songs. I’d love to hear your own driving
playlists so be sure to share them. Happy listening!
 
 
 
 
 

About the author:

Alex Bruce runs Bruce Music - Guitar
Lessons London
.
 
Bruce Music provide expert,
friendly Guitar Teachers to students all over
London.  You can find Alex and Bruce
Music on Twitter here