Four of the best songs that seem like they should be about travel, but really aren’t.

Music makes things a little bit better. If you’re a nervous flyer, you can slap your headphones on, close your eyes, and press play. If you’re on a road trip, music tends to make the time pass by a little faster. Plus, there’s nothing better than a good ole’ fashioned sing-a-long. Music and travel and intrinsically linked, as they should be.

Yet, because musicians are devilish little minxes, nothing is just about travel. It’s often about heartbreak. Family. Relationships. Using illicit substances.

Here are some suggestions for your travel playlist, with accompanying Youtube links.

  1. Hit The Road Jack – Ray Charles
    With deceptively simple piano chords, this Ray Charles classic is sung from the perspective a cheating (now ex-) boyfriend being kicked out of the house by his lady. The backup singers play the part of his lady, “Hit the road, Jack! Don’t you come back!” This song is not liberating, but it does have a delightful feminist bent. Plus, it’s a favorite for road trips. The chorus practically begs to be sung loudly and out of tune from a backseat of a station wagon.
  2. Jack and Diane – John Cougar Mellencamp
    That hair. Oh, that hair. Someone should write poetry about this man’s hair. Man, John Cougar Mellencamp must’ve slayed some moms’ hearts back in the day. This song is best for when you’re flying home and you’re feeling warm and fuzzy. This song is romance and butterflies in your stomach. Your plane just taxied. You’re pumped to be home and you’re going to see your special someone. Blast it specifically when exiting your gate.
  3. Scar Tissue – Red Hot Chili Peppers
    This song is a bummer. Anthony Kiedis wails on about isolation and the different paths he’s traveled while fighting addiction. For the average traveler, Scar Tissue is for midnight drives to clear your head. It’s for when you feel small when you look out of a plane window and it’s nothing but darkness and the little flash on the tip of the plane’s wing.
  4. Here I Go Again – Whitesnake
    God bless the eighties, man. Where else would so much big hair and pleather be so appropriate? This 1982 power ballad is best for when you have so many feelings. This is song is in the same vein as Ray Charles’ Hit The Road Jack. It’s about heartbreak and leaving and not quite knowing what to do about it. Similarly, this song is best heard through scratchy speakers and having your best friend yell the lyrics with you with all of your windows down. Because you have Many. Feelings.

This list could go on forever. With the magic of Spotify and Youtube, you could have your infinite playlist. On a boring Sunday afternoon, try digging around and composing your personal, perfect playlist. You’ll thank yourself later.

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