Monday, July 21, 2008


Friday, July 18, 2008
I-25, 10 Miles North of Albuquerque

Road Music

I find it interesting what music can do to a trip. The right music can make the difference between tedium and exhilaration.

On one memorable trip a couple weeks ago, I tuned the radio to a transmitter attached to my iPod. Dulce rejected some of the tunes, drowning them out with meows. Then, after she howled out some Eagles, Metallica came on with “Nothing Else Matters.” Surprise, Dulce liked it! She became silent and she settled down in her carrier. I had the iPod on shuffle, so as we wound our way to the north, the preference for some music became clear to us. Generally speaking, she showed a marked preference toward songs with strong bass, percussion emphasis, clear vocals and loud guitars. She didn’t like the quite, calm music as much. Now I just need to create a Pandora channel for her tastes.

Today, as we pulled onto the freeway with ZLee and his parents, the Z expressed extreme dissatisfaction with the unpleasant heat of the inside of the behemoth. Dad turned on the CD player, and the cabin was instantly filled with the sounds of Jimmy Buffet strumming and working on the opening bars of  “Son of a Sailor.” My mom’s favorite nephew settled down; within a minute he was in a sound sleep. So we now know that the proper nautical ballads are called for for the Z.

But music on the road is more than just something to please unhappy passengers.

The other day, as I was heading up to the mountains with a couple friends, the weather, always unpredictable, decided to add some interesting effects to the trip. I was in a melancholy mood that evening, and just as the heavens opened, “All Alone” by the Gorillas came on. We went and got a little mud on the tires, and there wasn’t a soul visible the whole time we were up (It wasn’t a big adventure, but it showed that big tires can really plow through the thick stuff, slide along through the thin, and they established that they can make a big splash in deep puddles). 
Jerry will testify that the right music on the open road can set you free. I like Audioslave, Die Toten Hosen, Apocalyptica, The Editors, AFI and Fettes Brot when I’m on a roll. Jimmy Buffet and more mellow tunes are for the last stretch into the lake. And I’ll even put Iron Maiden on when I’m running to the hills. I also find that some of the local radio stations have some good music. Despite being owned by Clear Channel Communications, 104.1 The Edge gets some airtime in my car. There used to be a “pirate” station, an unauthorized low-power radio station, which popped up here and there around the metro area. I‘ve got music that I bought on iTunes and music from CDs, but no particular age is emphasized. Red Hot Chile Peppers, Chance the Gardener, Three Days Grace, Finger Eleven, Flyleaf and the Beatsteaks all go well as road trip music. Franz Ferdinand, Gnarls Barkely and The Foo Fighters add their tunes to the mix.


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