Of CD Wallets and Road Trips

When Katy and I were dating, she in Dayton and I in Raytown, we faced long, monthly drives to see one another. I tried to sell her on this drive by telling her it was only about as long has playing through her 10 favorite CD’s in the car.

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We’re preparing for a trip back to Dayton next week, and I’m packing my CD wallet. I know, it’s 2012 and I should just load up my phone with MP3’s or stream songs from Google Music or something, but the car we’re taking only has a CD player. (I’m not complaining…15 years ago, this would have been a luxury, right?) I think MP3 players have made me lazy, dumping tons of music onto a player with no real intentions of getting to much of it.

I’m not sure I can even articulate what makes a good road trip album. It certainly needs driving beats, and there needs to be some amount of predictability. Nostalgia’s important, too, as my favorite albums make for great road trip albums. (Many of which, I owned on tape and got stuck in the tape deck of a couple different Escorts I had in college for months on end.) But then again, some just tend to be a solid, unflashy album in a band’s catalog. Sometimes I just need an record that will sound good in my particular car at the time. Finally, I take new albums on trips because a 10-hour drive is a great chance to wear in a new one.

Here are a few* that make my list. I’ll let you decide what criteria they meet.

  1. Get Happy!! – Elvis Costello and the Attractions (F-Beat/1980)
  2. Dear Science – TV on the Radio (Interscope/2008)
  3. Red Medicine – Fugazi (Dischord/1995)
  4. Forever Changes – Love (Elektra/1967)
  5. After Dark – various artists (Italians Do it Better/2007)
  6. Bloom – Beach House (SubPop/2012)
  7. a CD I burned with both Object 47 & Red Barked Tree by Wire
  8. Some Racing, Some Stopping – Headlights (Polyvinyl/2008)
  9. Feelings – Motel Beds (Fictionband Mechanics/2010)
  10. Your Future Our Clutter – The Fall (Domino/2010)
  11. Never Hear the End of It – Sloan (YepRoc/2007)
  12. 25 Years of Hits – Pet Shop Boys (Parlophone/2009)
  13. Slideling – Ian McCulloch (Cooking Vinyl/2003)
  14. Oranges & Lemons – XTC (Virgin/1989)
  15. Sex Change – Trans Am (Thrill Jockey/2007)
  16. Wake Up! – The Boo Radleys (Creation/1995)
  17. The Chaos – The Futureheads (Nul/2010)
  18. You Can’t Hide Your Love Forever – Orange Juice (Polydor/1982)
  19. The Loudest Sound Ever Heard – The Choir (Galaxy21/2012)
  20. OX4: The Best of Ride – Ride (The First Time Records/2002)
  21. Last Exit – Junior Boys (KIN | 2004)
  22. some last minute selection by Robert Pollard or Guided By Voices

*My wife reserves the right to edit the final list any time before Saturday.

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