You’re preparing to go on your road trip. You’ve packed your bags, filled up the car with petrol, and decided who’s starting the journey in the driving seat. But there’s something missing – music! Having the perfect playlist is an essential part of any road trip, especially across the remote Australian landscape.
If you’ve left it to the last minute to sort out your tunes then don’t worry, we’re here to help. A Spotify playlist that will sweep and soar in all the right places as you travel from A to B. We even made sure the bulk of the artists are Australian! To listen to our Road Trip Playlist, simply click this link or use the embedded player below. You can also follow our Spotify account here.
1. Talking Heads – Road To Nowhere
Alright, this is it. Time to put your planning into action and hit the road. Before you hit the gas, lets take a moment to prepare ourselves for the journey by listening to Road To Nowhere, the Talking Heads classic from 1985. The first thirty seconds are especially relevant, as David Byrne and co sing harmonies that begin with ‘Well, we’re know where we’re going’. Now it’s time to get there.
2. Highway to Hell – AC/DC
OK, now it’s time to really get the journey going. AC/DC’s 1979 heavy rock classic is the perfect way to get the car’s passengers pumped for an epic journey. From the opening guitar riff to the crescendo finish, you’ll be in head-banging heaven.
3. The Sonics – Have Love Will Travel
Have Love Will Travel may have been written by Richard Berry, but it’s the version by The Sonics that remains the most iconic version of the song. You might barely be out of your neighbourhood yet, but who cares – with this song, you feel cool, invincible, and ready for whatever the road trip throws at you.
4. Spiritus – Lisa Mitchell
Lisa Mitchell may have been born in England, but she grew up in Australia, and is a true national talent. Spiritus, a single from 2012, has the whimsical melodies needed for a great road trip song. It’s a song that’ll always put you in the right frame of mind for a long road trip – happy, romantic, and full of life.
5. Windshield – Acid House Kings
This melodic song from Swedish outfit Acid House Kings has all the right ingredients for a long summer road trip. The lyrics, “a life behind the windshield, travel by our own wheels, and we’ll go with the sun…”, for one, speak to everything that is great about hitting the open road. And then there’s the sweet voice and harmonies. In all, this songs is about the freedom, the fun, and the possibilities of an adventure.
6. Bruce Springsteen – Born to Run
Though this song makes many references to those lonely American highways, this song is too good not to include on a road trip playlist, regardless of the roads being travelled. Buckle up for four and a half minute ride about hitting the open road and escaping the mundane. It’ll feel especially poignant if it’s just you and your loved one in the car – you’re about to have an adventure you’ll never forget.
7. Green Day – Hitchin a Ride
It may be your own car, but who cares, you’re hitchin a ride alright. You’ve left your responsibilities and the everyday behind for this trip – time to show that you mean business as you cruise along with Green Day blasting from the speakers.
8. Beastie Boys – No Sleep Till Brooklyn
If you’re nearing Brooklyn, turn around and get help, because you’ve taken a wrong turn somewhere. OK, we’re just joking – but really, this song is the perfect tune to blast when the first signs of driving fatigue hit you. You might still be eight hours from your eventual destination, but suck up and have fun – bigger and better minds have had to drive all through the night to get where they need to be (including the Beastie Boys).
9. Magic Bones -Anytime Anywhere
When the tiring effects of driving strike, you’ll have Melbourne punk rock band Magic Bones to pick you up again. This fast and heavy song is three minutes of pure power guaranteed to jolt you to attention. ‘Anytime Anywhere’ will resonate, too – on the road, you can never be sure exactly where you are or what time it is, and we love it because of that.
10. Tom Petty – Runnin’ Down a Dream
‘It was a beautiful day, the sun beat down, I had the
radio Tom Petty on, I was drivin’. Sounds pretty good, hey? You, just like Tom, are going wherever this mystery road trip leads. And you’ve got some pretty sweet guitar as your soundtrack, too.
11. Iggy Pop – The Passenger
The driver rightfully gets a lot of credit on a road trip, but lets spare a thought for the soul in the passenger seat. They get to sit back, relax, and stare out thoughtlessly at the beautiful Australian landscape. OK, maybe we shouldn’t feel too sorry for them. Anyway, this ones for you, the second in command. But don’t get comfortable – it’ll be your time to drive soon enough.
12. Beck – Sexx Laws
Whether you’re in the outback or just pulling into Sydney for a night on the town, it’s always appropriate to bring the funky/brass/bluegrass tones of Beck’s Sexx Laws. If morale is ever low, jump straight to this song -I defy anybody not to feel happy when it’s playing.
13. The Paper Kites – Paint
There is an ebb and flow to a road trip. Sometimes you need fast songs, sometimes you need singalongs. Sometimes, you need those beautiful songs that make you reflect. Paint, a 2012 track by Melbourne band The Paper Kites, is the early evening song you need when everyone’s tired and the sunset looks just right. Enjoy it.
14. Tongue Tied – Grouplove
You, your friends, and a car on the open road: it’s the stuff lifelong memories are made of. What you need is an uplifting, upbeat song that can match the positivity and enthusiasm that you have when you’re all together. Grouplove’s Tongue Tied combines the optimism of youth with the heartbreak of breaking up. In your world, this is the happiness of the journey, but the knowledge that it can’t last forever, so just throw yourself into the moment and be happy.
15. Powderfinger – Sunsets
Brisbane’s Powderfinger were the masters of creating great air-guitar anthems, and Sunsets, from the band’s 2003 album Vulture Street, brings together everything that was special about the band. This track is especially relevant if you’re heading to the coast – make sure you crank this track before you pull over for a night of relaxation, BBQs, and good times on the beach.
16. Tin Sparrow – Eileen
The best road trip songs are the simple, beautiful ones that don’t need any explanation. Sydney band Tin Sparrow are masters of these tracks. Eileen is the song you’ll play in the late afternoon, when you’ve got nothing but the open road before you and nowhere to be. At these times, there’s no need to talk – just sit back and enjoy the ride.
17. Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros
‘Ah, home, let me go home, home is wherever I’m with you’. Yes sir, this is a delight if it’s just you and your loved on the trip (less so if you’re the third wheel, but still). You’re both on the road heading nowhere, but you’ve got each other so you know it’s always going to end well. Aww.
18. Radical Face – Welcome Home, Son
Your trip, if you’ve planned it right, will involve plenty of beautiful landscapes and awe-inspiring moments. Come the end of your journey, you’ll feel tired, but oh so happy with how the trip went. When you’re on the final stretch towards home, put on this song and reflect on everything you’ve seen and done. The beauty, soaring melodies will be the soundtrack for the hundreds of images you hold in your mind’s-eye. If the trip was as good as planned, it’ll do it justice.