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Music Picks

Spring Road Trip!

Songs for the beginning, middle and end of your journey.

By Thom Wong 13 Mar 2008 | TheTyee.ca

Thom Wong is a drone in Her Majesty's Service. He can be found ruminating about the state of menswear at The Sunday Best.

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Journeys of love, hate and freedom.

There are two inescapable truths about road trips: one, they kick ass; two, their time is coming to an end, at least as we conventionally understand them. Rising gas prices and bands of global-warming vigilantes are going to see the end of this grand, albeit Earth-killing, tradition.

So while you can still fill a tank for less than a month's rent cheque, now would be the time to point your vehicle or someone else's onto the highway for parts unknown. Of course, the music you play has as much, if not more, to do with the actual journey than where you eventually end up. To that end, here are three scenarios and song choices for starting them.

Scenario one

You are in love. The world swells beneath your feet. Colours seem brighter, the air smells cleaner, and adventure of the vehicular kind seems to lurk around every corner. This is the kind of road trip that starts with honking horns and bags thrown through open windows, perhaps even bare feet on the dash. (But not on my dash -- that is gross.)

The song you need would be the one at the end of the movie where the two main characters, having experienced some serious life-changing moments, have just had the discussion about how they must now return to their regular lives. But then they share a knowing glance, one that says, "To hell with normal -- let's ride!" And they peel out of the gas station/diner/court house parking lot and off down the road as the distinctive chords of Stereophonics' "Pick a Part That's New" come screaming out of the speakers.

Scenario two

You are in hate. Someone has messed with you once too often, or maybe someone has broken your heart, or maybe you've just broken someone's heart and you need to get away, get away now. What you need is something loud and propulsive, like your car is being shot out of a cannon. You don't need angry -- angry is too easy.

No, you need something that says, "I am taking this car and I am driving it and my troubles away." And preferably something that allows you the occasional raised fist pump with concurrent ferocious nod of the head. Did I mention you want to do this in a Camaro? You do. As the building blows up behind you, the fuzz bass and nuclear drums of Death from Above 1979's "Romantic Rights" ignite your engine -- you are so gone.

Scenario three

You are finally free. You've just graduated from high school/college/university and you have no idea what you're doing next. Or, you just quit your job and have nothing lined up. You have just enough money to survive for a month, but who wants to survive? You want to live.

You have the mindset and possibly the sneer of a Depression-era gangster off to topple a couple of banks and rob your way across multiple state lines (or provincial...but that doesn't sound as good, and really, the provinces are way too spaced out). You're rolling out of town slowly but confidently, knowing that whatever comes your way, you can handle it. You wear a hat. And into the stereo you slip Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings' "100 Days, 100 Nights," which gives you the smooth, sultry rhythms for some quality nighttime driving.

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