7 Songs to Drive at Night to
For those of us who are lucky enough to drive, we all have our rules and rituals about it. We need the mirrors and seats adjusted just right, we need the A/C within half a degree of where we want it, and most importantly we need our tunes cranked (to an EVEN number…you monster).
Driving at night can be a treat. No dreaded traffic, the still, calm of the night, and the artificial light that can almost make you feel you’re on another planet. On the other hand, driving at night can be a chore. You have to run errands or a grind out a long-haul trip to get to where you need to go. Whatever the reason, you need to be sonically prepared to get through.
You need the right song, for the right situation, and today you’re in luck. We're going to span the spectrum of human emotion behind the wheel.
I present, 7 songs to drive at night to.
7. Fear Factory
July 28, 1998
Whether you’re driving a Ferrari, or your member is of sufficient length that the first thing you want to do is seeing what your car is made of, here's something you can hit the highway and put the pedal to the metal to. Maybe you need to get somewhere in a hurry…while, of course, obeying the speed limit… This little less known gem of industrial punishment comes from Fear Factory. Though somewhat straying from their industrial roots as of late, this song is classic Fear Factory. Insane high production value combined with a punishing wall of guitar and drums complete with aggressive vocals. Along with other tracks from the band, this song was featured on an obscure 1999 Playstation game called “Demolition Racer”, I don’t think you need much more explanation than that. I’m not saying to go join the derby after you listen to it, but I can’t say I’d blame you either.
April 2nd, 2010
This song is best known from the movie Drive, about a stoic getaway driver who wears cool sunglasses and driving gloves. That sets the tone nicely for this 80’s inspired electronic track. It’s easy to envision yourself doing something not so savory while cruising to the reflection of neon signs against your window, amidst a backdrop of rain and steam rising from the sewers in an unforgiving city. This song is one of those passive ones, one that floods your head with imagination when you’re listing to it, but leaves as quickly as it came. It has a bit of a Daft Punk vibe, thanks to one half of Daft Punk lending a helping hand on production, but the duet vocals and catchy synth make it almost slow dance-worthy. Sometimes when you’re driving, the driving is the last thing on your mind, and this is one of those tracks that will make your mind wander as far as your imagination will let you. Or until you realize you probably should have been watching the road.
April 18th, 2007
This one is a dubstep classic. Yes, I said Dubstep. However, this isn’t Skrillex, this is what dubstep used to be and what it grew out of: dub music with ambient bass. This track is dub with some jungle elements thrown in and having a decent sub won't hurt either. Sometimes you’ve had a full night, you were out late at a show and need something to wind down to on the ride home. Or maybe you had a stressful day at work, you just want to get home and hitting the road is a necessary evil. This track is a perfect way to center yourself, hypnotic and catchy, it carries you when you need a bit of carrying and lets your mind rest as you gather your thoughts. This one is a MUST for night driving when you need to turn off your brain for a quick second and realize that where you’re at might be more important than where you’re going. Unfortunately, the hook of the song is best known for being sampled by the “rapper” XXXTentacion in his highly successful “Look At Me!”. That track isn’t bad, but this song couldn’t be any further away in the musical spectrum, so don’t confuse the two when you’re trying to unwind.
October 18th, 1994
This one is for all my fellow wannabe gangsta's out there. If you’re familiar with this gem, it’s probably from a brief excerpt in the cult hit movie Office Space, during the very white Michael Bolton’s commute to work where he’s spitting it like he wrote it. Hey, we all like to pretend we run the streets from time to time, who doesn’t like feeling like a badass? And the false sense of safety of your car is the perfect time to indulge in some guilty pleasures you otherwise might never get a chance to indulge in...and in reality, probably for good reason. But in your car, you’re the real G, so indulge away. Everyone should have at least one hard rap song they can recite from beginning to end, and just in case you never get that big break of being a famous rapper, you can still creep the streets at night and feel like a King or Queen. Might be a good idea to keep the windows rolled up though.
3. Chinese Man
"Skank in the Air"
October 9th, 2007
Chinese Man has been around for a while, playing in the realm between beat tapes and world music. This song is simply for bobbing your head and drumming on your steering wheel while doing other things. Sometimes when you have passengers in your car, you’re forced to engage in the dreaded act of conversation and you need something inoffensive and positive in the background to set the mood. This is that song. This track is highly addictive and will probably be stuck in your (and everyone else's) head for hours after. I’ve never played this for a passenger who didn’t ask me what song this was, and as the self-proclaimed DJ of your own car, there is no bigger compliment. Whether you’re DD that night or not, this is a track your passengers will appreciate inebriated or sober. Incorporating world music, it has an urban feel in the beat and lyrics, (Throw ya guns in the air) but draws heavily on eastern instrumentation over an off-time reggae vibe. This is a great conversation starter and you’ll be better for knowing it.
2. Rafiq Bhatia
April 6th, 2018
Driving can be stressful. Traffic can be worse. "Breaking English" by Rafiq Bhatia will take you away from the gridlock and to a place of introspective bliss. A soulful expression of language without words, "Breaking English" infuses a heavenly guitar riff, gospel vocals, and a serene aesthetic to sooth the mind and body. You won't want it to end, and it doesn't, clocking in at nearly six minutes, the song will take you into a new dimension of human understanding. "Breaking English" reminds you that there's a lot more to life than the stressful doldrums of driving. You might even forget that's what your doing.
1. Ram Jam
This will probably be the best-known song, but why mess with it if it works? You can’t go on a road trip without this track and what better way to keep you focused for 10 hours of driving than some good ol’ rock n roll. This song needs very little explanation, the unedited version is 7 minutes long and is a thrill from start to finish. It’s basically one big extended guitar solo, and I for one can’t get enough. Trust me, next time you’re hitting the highway to head out of town, start on the right note, after that you'll never be able to listen to this song again without picturing the open highway.
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