Recently I wrote a post on novels that encourage wanderlust, and I mentioned how just listening to music can often leave you wanting to hop on a plane or drive off into the sunset for new adventures. So I knew it wouldn’t be long before I wrote a post on my favourite collection of songs for when you’re in the mood to take off.
Born to Run – Bruce Springsteen
Might as well start with the one I mentioned, and this is a classic for anyone feeling stuck in a stagnated place and knowing there’s so much more to do/see. I love a good dose of Springsteen, and listening to this energetic, famous song with his gruff and glorious vocals, well if I was Wendy I wouldn’t have hesitated.
Mr Tamborine Man – Bob Dylan
Although no one is 100% sure of the meanings behind the lyrics – some say insomnia, others say LSD – listening to this song makes me think of Dylan as someone feeling carefree and with nothing to lose, which is an excellent reason to travel. Blowing’ in the Wind is also a good Dylan choice for carefree travel.
Me and Bobby McGee – Janis Joplin
My favourite song by Joplin (and allegedly written about Joplin), is a sweet nostalgic song about two young lovers on the road with little possessions between them except each other.
Moon River – Audrey Hepburn
“Two drifters off to see the world” is my favourite line from the song, and like Me and Bobby McGee its a beautiful song for when you want to combine wanderlust and romance on your travels. Or if you just want to admire Audrey Hepburn, who seemed to have been an amazing person as well as stunning.
And now for some contemporary songs…
The Road – Frank Turner
One of my favourite musicians ever, Frank Turner delivers a refreshing honesty in his lyrics. This song is possibly the perfect song for musicians on tour, but anyone can sing along to the chorus and agree with the irony of finding freedom in following the road.
Ride – Lana Del Rey
This song, as with most of my pickings seems like the perfect song to play during a road trip. Travelling, as with life, is really about constantly moving forwards against the odds in case you miss something important and worthwhile. Or, as that wise Dory once said: “Just keep swimming”.
No Roots – Amy MacDonald
Whilst Hepburn and Joplin’s songs are for two travellers, I love this song because it’s a reminder that independence and being a lone wolf isn’t so bad. I am yet to go travelling on my own, but when I do I bet I’ll be listening to this song a lot.
Two Fingers – Jake Bugg
This song takes me back to playing Bugg’s first album A LOT on a road trip last year, and listening to this song reminds me of the carefree, high spirited feeling (probably because I wasn’t driving).
And a couple of songs that sympathise for when you’re itching to take off:
Piss Factory – Patti Smith
The godmother of punk tells it how it was for her before she left for New York, and doesn’t hold back on venting her frustration towards the circumstances of working in a factory. The song fades out on high optimism and ambition, and its always good to think how Patti Smith really did become somebody – and an icon for many.
Motorcycle Emptiness – Manic Street Preachers
A song that criticises our culture of consumerism, and although it makes it clear that there is no escaping from it, it does make you want to look outwards for moments when life isn’t about consumerism (although finding these places and moments often require purchasing a plane ticket or too…)