The Daily Texan’s road trip playlist to accompany you cross-country

Reya Mosby, Life and Arts Editor

Editor’s note: This article first appeared in the June 7, 2022 flipbook.

Trudging through vast open fields and repetitive terrains can make summer road tripping dense and boring, but the perfect soundtrack can transform any excruciating drive into an exciting journey. To help make these treks feel more like an adventure, The Daily Texan compiled a playlist of feel-good oldies because everyone knows classics make for the best road trip soundtrack! 

“Tiny Dancer” by Elton John

This rock and roll classic, reminiscent of being young, happy and free, provides the perfect twangy, mellow track for your drive. The storytelling in the masterful lyrics by Bernie Taupin and the musical composition by John intersect to create beautiful ebbs and flows, builds and releases and other intricacies, solidifying it as a reflective track perfect for the beginning of a journey. 

“Only the Good Die Young” by Billy Joel

Equipped with a fun, hand-clapping beat, Joel’s pop-rock anthem will make listeners bop along while traveling long, stretching American highways. The upbeat strumming and gritty saxophone solo make this a catchy tune about having fun, embracing desire and living life to the fullest. 

“Ain’t No Mountain High Enough” by Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell

When this Motown duet plays, singing along to “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough” is almost completely irresistible. Both Gaye and Terrell contribute powerhouse vocals that surge with passion, making listeners feel like they are wrapped up in a whirlwind summer romance themselves. 

“Don’t Stop” by Fleetwood Mac

This feel-good, pop-rock song about letting go of the past and embracing the unknown makes for the perfect song to nudge listeners into welcoming new journeys. The song is electrified by a killer guitar solo in the bridge and energetic percussion that make the already upbeat, hopeful song a classic dance tune.

“I’m Every Woman” by Chaka Khan

This ultimate disco anthem about self-love and female empowerment will have the whole car showcasing their sassiest, most confident personas. Khan’s layered harmonies and ad-libs give the groovy track a rich, full sound supported by power belts full of vibrato and impressive vocal riffs. 

“Mamma Mia” by ABBA

The familiar ticking sound joined by a marimba and guitar provide a spunky intro for a song many hold near and dear to their heart. The wistful lyrics and playful instrumental put the listener in a happy-go-lucky, dizzy-in-love and ready-for-summer headspace. 

“9 to 5” by Dolly Parton 

This feisty country-pop tune features a stellar instrumental and backing with the clicking of typewriters, brassy horns, soulful background singers riffing and even Parton’s nails acting as a part of the percussion — all coming together to create a colorful and exciting track.

“Signed, Sealed, Delivered I’m Yours” by Stevie Wonder

This soul hit draws listeners in from the first few seconds with a raspy opening scream followed by bold horns. The passionate vocals depicting a former lover yearning for his old love are perfectly conveyed through dragged-out horns, dramatic high notes and Wonder’s own emotional ad-libs that persist through the funky Motown beat. 

“Love Shack” by The B-52’s  

“Love Shack” will generate laughing and dancing within the first moments of energized drumming on this hectic and insanely fun track. Wacky sections enhanced by fantastical narration and theatrical solos, both spoken and sung, make this a deliriously fun song.

“Born to Run” by Bruce Springsteen

This true rock and roll classic provides listeners with a huge tidal wave of sound, combining Springsteen’s raspy and powerful voice, rhythmic glockenspiel melodies, power chords and pads with guitar, piano, drums and even sounds from saxophone and organs to create this epic track that demands to be listened to with the windows down and the volume blaring.