Think back to one of your most memorable drives. You can — no doubt — remember the road you were driving, who you were with, what Mazda you were cruising in, and what else? The music. Every great drive needs a soundtrack. When that familiar guitar line or chorus pipes through your speakers, you grip the wheel a little tighter, your foot instinctively pushes down a little harder on the pedal, and nostalgia takes over as your car hits those highway curves.
At CorkSport, we know that once you have the car and the parts, and maybe even the route to drive, the next thing you need is some great tunes. Whether it’s a modern banger or a classic rock song, you can always use some new tunes for your next road trip playlist. CorkSport’s suggestions, from old standbys to modern hits, will make sure your head’s nodding next time you hit the pavement with your Mazda.
“Slow Ride” by Foghat
For a song called “Slow Ride,” this tune sure makes you want to drive fast. Featured in the movie “Dazed and Confused,” this 1975 rock hit may tell you to “take it easy,” but we bet it will encourage you to put the pedal to the metal.
“Drive Slow” by Kanye West featuring Paul Wall and GLC
In contrast, the mellow thump of Kanye’s “Drive Slow” is the perfect accompaniment to cruising around town. Hitting the streets to look for some honeys? Put the windows down, bump this, and go out on patrol.
“Low Rider” by War
One of the all-time classic driving jams. To quote the Beastie Boys, “slow and low, that is the tempo,” and this funky, upbeat hit is ideal for any kind of drive. If you’re looking for a great twist on this standard, check out Amerigo Gazaway’s “Tenderoni (Lowrider Cruisin’ Mix)” that combines War, Chromeo, Marvin Gaye, and T.I.
“Ride Wit Me” by Nelly featuring St. Lunatics
Nelly may owe the IRS 2.4 million, but this joint ain’t broke! If you’re looking for a smooth song to have on as you pick up your lady, look no further. Good bass, smooth flow, and a catchy hook? Like the song says, “if shorty wanna rock, we rockin’ to this.”
“King of the Road” by Roger Miller
OK, this one’s pretty old school, we admit it. But, it’s also a quintessential driving song packed full of Americana, nostalgia, and that ol’ traveling spirit. Call it a classic, dub it a guilty pleasure, or tell your friends it was your grandpa’s favorite song. With us, you’ll have no shame toe-tapping to this classic.
“Car Song” by Spank Rock featuring Santigold
If you want to put your subwoofer through its paces, anything from Spank Rock’s catalogue will suffice. But with its car-centric title and lyrics, this rhyme-laden bass-boomer gets our pick for the jam you’ll most want to roll to.
“Old White Lincoln” by The Gaslight Anthem
We know you’d rather drive a slick Mazdaspeed 3 than an old, white Lincoln, but this earworm from New Jersey rock band The Gaslight Anthem is an incredible driving song. Heavy on the nostalgia, this tune is a love letter to youthful escapades and the cars that featured in those memories.
“Radar Love” by Golden Earring
No list of driving songs is complete without this masterpiece. With a churning, chugging bass line that forces your foot to lean on the gas (“I’ve been drivin’ all night, my hands are wet on the wheel. There’s a voice in my head that drives my heel.”) and lyrics you can belt out as you fly down the highway, if this song doesn’t make you want to drive you should see a doctor — you may actually be dead.
“Get Your Roll On” by Big Tymers
Maybe it’s how car-heavy most of the music videos were, but there’s something about late-1990s/early-2000s hip-hop that lends itself perfectly to rolling, windows down, with the volume cranked up. Needless to say, with this jam bumping in your Mazda, you’re required to get your roll on.
“Panama” by Van Halen
Much like that late-1990s hip-hop, classic rock feels like pure driving music. There’s something about it that grabs you by the guts and makes you want to drive. It doesn’t get much more classic than this track from Van Halen, which features engine-revving sound effects to boot. Hit the road, turn the volume up as far as it goes, and get ready to pound the ceiling as you shout, “PANAMA!”
“Neckbrace” by Ratatat
Sometimes, a great beat constructed by a two-man-band is all you need. There’s not much more than percussion and bass in this jam by Ratatat, but it thumps along in such an addictive way that there’s no way you’ll take a pit stop with it rumbling out of your speakers.
“Born to Run” by Bruce Springsteen
Like we were gonna make a list of great driving songs and not include The Boss. Yeah, right! “Born in the U.S.A.,” “Dancing in the Dark,” really, you can take your pick. But, for our money, start with the classic “Born to Run” and just keep cruising through the Springsteen discography as you head off into the sunset.
“Levels” by Avicii
After a long week, sometimes getting up the adrenaline to hit the town on Friday night needs a jumpstart. “Levels” is basically audio caffeine. It’s electricity for your ears. It’s a shock to the system and fuel for epic evenings. “Get a good feeling” by bumping this.
“Black Betty” by Ram Jam
Though the meaning behind the lyrics is widely debated, we’ll stick to the interpretation that “Black Betty” is one helluva hot rod. I mean, it just feels like a driving song, so whatever else it may mean, this tune is a necessary jam when you hop in your ride.
“Have Love, Will Travel” by The Black Keys
This gritty, funky take on The Sonics’ original thumps along nicely as it pipes out of your speakers. Sometimes you just need a little low-fi soul delivering a gritty guitar riff to your night driving.
“S.O.B.” by Nathaniel Rateliff & the Night Sweats
When it’s hard not to stomp your feet or clap your hands to a song, you have the mark of a great road trip song. When that song also allows you to holler, “SONUVA BITCH!” at the top of your lungs, you know you’re driving with a winner on the radio.
“See You Again” by Wiz Khalifa featuring Charlie Puth
By far the most melancholy track on our driving playlist, this song from the “Furious 7” soundtrack is a tribute to the late, car-loving Paul Walker. While it might hit you right in the feels, it’s upbeat, catchy, and feels like a natural tune to get you thinking mistily about your local Mazda community.
“She Is Beautiful” by Andrew W.K.
Just substitute the word “car” every time Andrew W.K. says “girl” and you’ll see this rock anthem really is the perfect love song for your Mazda.
These tunes should get you started, but we’d love to hear about your favorite driving songs down in the comments. And if you take these jams on the road, take a picture, and tag us with #CorkSport when you post to Instagram!