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Commuting. Its’ just one of those things in life that just annoys almost everyone who participates in it. You sit in traffic for seemingly hours on end, waiting for that gap to appear for you to lurch forwards momentarily before coming to a stop just as quickly. The sheer tedium of traffic is enough to drive you mad. Thankfully, someone decided to invent the radio, giving us something to listen during traffic jams, whilst we tap our fingers repeatedly on the steering wheel, waiting endlessly for the BMW driver in front to move.
I’m not a particularly big fan of the radio, I don’t like the way that the songs you listen to are never your choice. If a song comes on you don’t like, you can’t do anything about it, except painfully endure the song until it ends. I like to listen to my own music, and that’s why I use my Ipod as my sound system.
I have a driving playlist that consists of songs widely regarded as ‘Driving Anthems’, with gems such as ‘Radar Love’ by Golden Earring and ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ by Queen. Songs that music aficionados have decided are just right for driving along to. Powerful riffs and emotive lyrics that bring the exhilaration back into driving.
Unfortunately, the anthems designated as ‘driving songs’ only seem to be designed for long stretches of motorway, where you can race along the vast alleyways of tarmac, weaving in and out of traffic, having a great time. These songs aren’t really designed for sitting in traffic and wondering how long it’s going to take before you actually move. Most of my driving is to and from college and work, so I don’t really get to experience motorway driving that often, rendering the existence of driving anthems on my Ipod obsolete.
Intricately designed guitar solos and powerful vocals don’t really work particularly well as you trundle unexcitedly across the roundabout. The only real time that I get to play with speed and combine it with these epic tunes is on a national speed limit road on the way to and from work. But usually, some blithering idiot decides to trundle along at 40mph, slowing down everyone behind him/her, making the music obsolete once again.
Despite the non-existence of specifically designed commuting songs, the driving anthems sometimes work surprisingly well. When there’s a gap in traffic that you can accelerate into, just as the song is hurtling into its most amazing part, the moment is just amazing. ‘Knights of Cydonia’ by Muse is a song that often appears on shuffle on my driving playlist, so I’ve experienced many a time where the awesome vocal power surge that is the song’s main selling point, blasts out from my mediocre stereo system just as the traffic lights turn from red to green, letting me accelerate whilst I simply marvel at the musical craftsmanship of the song. Just brilliant.
Songs that I strongly recommend for any drivers wishing to make driving that much more exciting are many and varied. Some of my favourites include ‘All Right Now’ by Free and ‘Black Betty’ by Ram Jam. There are many others but there’s simply not enough space to list them all. I've enjoyed many a time snaking around country roads in the dark listening to 'Eye of the Tiger' by Survivor, creating memorable moments.
Probably the best part about having music playing in a car is that the car is generally soundproof. This way, I can bawl out the lyrics of my favourite songs as loud as I want, even though my voice sounds like a cat being run over by a lawnmower whilst trying to sing opera. I can sing as badly and as loudly as I want and no-one will bat an eyelid. Until I realise I’m sitting in traffic and my driver side window is wide open. Hasn’t happened yet but I’m in no doubt that it will at some point.
The music can be very cathartic, allowing negative emotions to be left behind along with the toxic exhaust gases, as I chug along in my silver Peugeot. It’s nice to know that there’s at least one thing in life that’s not driving me mad. Isn’t that music to your ears?