Five Musical Ways to Cope With Your Long Commute
Is most of your life spent in a vessel like this, but way crappier? Then this list is for you.
Do you fear that too much of your life is spent on the road? Do you see your own mortality in the wide, grey, dismal tone of the turnpike? Do you feel your impermanence and the fleeting nature of time in the pit of your stomach while you struggle in futile attempts to listen to some halfway decent music, finally surrendering and choosing silence instead?Then this is the article for you!
Living in Broward or Palm Beach counties mean you're spending long hours in your car. Whether to visit your bubbie, get to work, or hit up the club. We here at County Grind feel your pain -- we're called County Grind for fuck's sake! -- and we specialize in sound, so we've compiled a list of musical ways to cope with your grueling commute. You're welcome!
5. Whip out those old burned CD mixes you made in college.
Yeah. Remember mixed CDs? Us commuters need those to get by. I don't mean a playlist you configured recently on your iPod, I mean the beautiful shiny disks you scribbled on with a Sharpie, something like Becca's Hits 2001. To dig up old mixes is to find the holy grail of all things car jam.
Listening to the buzzed about indie bands of today can be nice for some time, but it isn't long before that just doesn't do the trick. Cruising over long stretches of highway, or sitting static in the midst of a traffic jam both require a different kind of musical experience. Whether they be guilty pleasures or tracks you forgot even existed, making old songs new again and subsequently serenading yourself is the most therapeutic way to endure those lengthy miles.
There's something about busting out an old favorite that seems to send a rush of endorphins throughout your body and it becomes physically impossible not to grove. The songs and the clever way you assembled them offer the best and most accurate trip down musical memory lane. Whether it be by dancing like a fool to "Jump Around," or belting every lyric to "Closing Time," commuting is YOUR time to listen to YOUR jams and no one can judge you.
4. Dig a little for some record label playlists.
Perhaps you're not as nostalgic of a music listener. That's cool! There's something else to get you through those 45 plus minutes you find yourself restlessly switching lanes. Streamable playlists are like the mix CDs of today, and there are tons online that are definitely worthy of your car's speakers.
Sure, Pandora can be cool, but their selections are often recycled and can get boring. Plus, those advertisements are the bane of existence, Spotify included. This option requires a little pre-drive digging, but it's totally worth it. A good place to start is at your favorite labels. Once you've found that record company that seems to get you and your taste, they often have downloadable mixes that are perfect for your cross county commute.
Some of my favorite mixtape makers are the radical dudes at Burger Records, who have three editions of Now That's What I Call Burger! Through those playlists and others, (Captured Tracks, Limited Fanfare if you want to get local) you can can find your new favorite bands and right there on I-95.
3. Get down with podcasts.
Perhaps you want a little variety in your audio entertainment. Maybe you're in a shitty mood, and you need something that simultaneously cheers you up and makes you contemplate your own life. Perhaps you want to learn something obscure to pretentiously recite on your next night out with friends. Podcasts help with all of that.
I truly believe in the depths of my soul that there is a podcast out there for everyone. You name it, some nerd is out there talking about it. In an episode of Marc Maron's WTF, we hear of his life and his struggles, paired with his stellar interviews with comedians and musicians.
Throughout his years with the podcast, we've heard conversations with Mel Brooks, Thom Yorke, Larry King, David Sedaris, Nick Cave, and the list goes on and on. His comedy chops make it funny, and his emotional availability make him relatable and perfectly real. If I could, I'd gush about it in five more paragraphs.
If you're looking for something a little more profound (though comedy can be that for you too!) then podcasts such as Radiolab, Tangentially Speaking, and Probably Science are an ideal soundtrack for the seemingly endless expressway that haunts our dreams and realities.
2. Straight up comedy albums work too!
Like the above, these are highly entertaining and take literally no effort to enjoy. Since they tend to be longer, they might require more commitment. But that's what makes them so great. Specials such as Maria Bamford's Ask Me About My New God!, Anthony Jeselnik's Caligula, or Louis C.K's amazingly sharp and perceptive Oh My God, flourish in their ability each to remain one unbroken, fascinating voice. Listening to these albums feels like an event in itself, which makes even driving something to look forward to.
1. Read with your ears.
Like comedy albums, audiobooks make driving seem like a special occasion. A good one will take a few drives to get through, but once you get hooked on a good story and the emotive voices that narrate it, you'll find yourself lingering in a parked car, anxiously waiting the next plot point to unfold.
There's hardly a real trick in finding a good audiobook besides choosing one you'd want to actually read. Though you can skim reviews and decide from there. Memoirs, nonfiction with personality, and books read by the author, such as Mindy Kaling's Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns) tend to be the most entertaining and enlightening. Remember, driving time is your time, and you deserve to have a good one.
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