Back in the 1950s, Jack Kerouac hit the road with nothing but some drugs, a car and a healthy contempt for mainstream society. But modern day adventure-seekers know that every trip needs a good soundtrack. There’s nothing worse than fiddling with the radio, so plug in your iPod and let College Magazine’s playlist take you to your destination. Don’t be fooled by the literary reference: a summer road trip is not the time to boost your hipster cred with indie sleepers. Instead, we dusted off some classic 1990s and millennial hits, threw in anything with references to automobiles and mixed it all up with the feel-good Top 40 songs you’re embarrassed to show on your Spotify. Crack open your window and sing along. Fair warning: These selections skew heavily toward female readers with a flair for the cheesy.
Here I Come — Fergie
Let “The Dutchess” (Yes, Fergie spells it wrong. Chalk it up to her only flaw…) kickstart your journey with this funky ode to self-empowerment.
Ready 2 Go — Martin Solveig and Kele
Keep the mood upbeat with British electronica. Fight the urge to fist-pump and try to keep both hands on the wheel. Safety first!
A Thousand Miles — Vanessa Carlton
Speaks for itself. No car ride is complete without our favorite breathy songstress’ signature hit.
Ocean Avenue — Yellowcard
The nostalgic portion of our playlist continues with 2004’s catchiest teenage anthem. Oh Yellowcard, where have you gone? With just a few guitar riffs the band awakens the rebellious, desperate, earnestly youthful spirit inside every jaded college student.
Slide — The Goo Goo Dolls
Look deep inside yourself: You secretly love The Goo Goo Dolls. Shh, it’s OK. These shaggy-haired rockers have been Buffalo, New York’s sweetest export since the mid 1980s. I don’t know who May is, but there’s no chance in hell that she doesn’t want to “get married and run away.”
Penny & Me — Hanson
Culture cast off these brothers back in 1997 for the sins of “MMBop,” but they’re been pop-rocking ever since, producing some truly good songs that fly under the radar. “Penny & Me” is their infectious tribute to cruising along with your honey under summer stars.
Fast Car — Tracy Chapman
Oops, did I kill the mood? Sorry, I’m not sorry. If you have never wiped away a tear while crooning with Chapman on the road, you haven’t truly lived.
Chasing Cars — Snow Patrol
Traffic’s congested? Turn onto a back road and slow it down with Snow Patrol’s beautiful, pure melody. Fun fact: “Chasing Cars” is Britain’s most widely played tune of the 2000s.
Ride (Tiesto Remix) — Cary Brothers
The Dutch DJ works his magic on Brothers’ quiet ballad for an energetic club mix worthy of the radio.
I Drove All Night — Celine Dion
My personal favorite diva proves she’s more than a bittersweet balladeer with this way more fun take on the hit made famous by Cyndi Lauper. Between the sexy electric guitar and Celine’s powerful vocals, you won’t even notice how creepy the lyrics are.
How Do You Sleep — Jesse McCartney
After driving all night, play teenybopper fave-turned-R&B-heartthrob McCartney’s bouncy and cool jam to stay awake at the wheel.
Mother We Just Can’t Get Enough — New Radicals
You’ve arrived! Take a victory lap to the 90s band’s infectious, instrument-leaden track. There are drums, guitars, piano, an ATM lady’s voice, “whoos” and “yeahs,” jibberish language and criticism of corporate America. What’s not to love?