In prehistoric times when cavemen clamored into the very first automobiles they encountered a vexing question: what should they listen to?
Since then the question has become more complex as radio stations, CDs, iPods, and now streaming music services have only multiplied our options. There are so many choices that by the time you’ve figured out what to listen to, you might already be at your destination.
Just as Steve Jobs and Einstein wore the same thing every day to save mental capacity, we offer the following playlist to save you time in 2016. Skip the guesswork and go with these options.
Curvy Mountain Roads: We first discovered the potency of The Bourne Identity soundtrack when driving through the Appalachian Mountains a few years ago on the way to California. Its slow-burning nature and action-centric construction was perfect for scaling peaks, passing slow movers, and sailing downhill after a long slog upwards. You’ll feel like you’re in a movie.
Cold Winter Nights: There’s something about frigid temperatures that gives the voices on public radio’s WUNC the sound of old-timey tube amplifiers. The cold makes the voices seem warm and full while the darkness makes it feel like the speaker is almost right there with you, trundling along as you run errands in the crisp air. Why does this feel different than a bright spring morning? We have no idea.
Early Summer Afternoons: Even if you’re not a fan of country music, there’s something about putting the windows down in May well before the deathly humidity of August and rejoicing in the death of winter. Whatever the country folks are singing is fine with us so long as it’s generally positive and affirming.
Summer Nights: Recently we went to pick up a relative at the airport just shy of midnight and were astonished to feel a time machine effect when listening to Death Cab for Cutie. This Washington band feels like the early 2000s to us, and the combination of darkness and warm weather led us right back to how it felt to be alive at that time. If you’re looking for something to add to your carousel, give them a look.
To the Beach: Here in The Triangle, we’re only a few short hours away from a number of beaches, which is the perfect amount of time for podcasts. If you’re into crime stories, you’ll love “Serial.” If you like legal analysis, go for “Undisclosed.” For fun and goofy knowledge, “How to Do Everything,” and to catch up on the news, “Wait, Wait, Don’t Tell Me.” There’s a podcast for everything out there, so start exploring and download away. Best part: they’re free!
The Plain States: Sometimes you have to go to Kansas, and when you do the only thing that can bear the weight of teetering on the abyss of farmland and flat roads is an audio book. Check out Audible.com for downloadable options that can go straight to your phone. Been meaning to read that biography of Benjamin Franklin? This is a great way to do it. And there’s no way that the radio or your CDs are going to hold up to the relentless assault of the plains. You need narrative. Maybe avoid “In Cold Blood.”
Those are our top choices. Do you have contributions to make? Tell us on our Facebook page or find our Twitter and retweet this post.