Music can ease long road trips

The time has come for Trojans to toss aside their textbooks and pack their suitcases for a hard-earned recess from midterms. This weekend is one of the most anticipated times for Trojan football, as Cal and USC duke it out at California Memorial Stadium in Berkeley, Calif.

For those lucky enough to get away to Northern California with friends, there’s one thing that you’ll need just as much as clean laundry and extra cash — the perfect road trip playlist. Forget the radio and turn your car into the ultimate music hub with this handpicked selection of songs so there’s never a dull moment in your adventure.

To follow the full 5 hour and 36 minute playlist, composed of hits such as Katy Perry’s “Dark Horse” and Tyga’s “Switch Lanes,” look below.


For the purposes of this column, however, here are some standout tracks worth taking a look at.

“Talk Dirty” — Jason Derulo feat. 2 Chainz

Singer Jason Derulo began his pop career releasing bubblegum singles such as “It Girl” on which he crooned, “You could be my it girl / Baby you’re the s*** girl / Lovin’ you could be a crime.”  Ah, what a brilliant lyricist.

But in all seriousness, Derulo’s career has taken a more mature turn with his most recent album, Tattoos. The Mediterranean-influenced sampling of American-Israeli duo Balkan Beat Box’s “Hermetico,” which kicks in around 0:41, is quite the contrast to what we’re accustomed to hearing in Derulo’s songs. Though he typically plays it safe with his R&B numbers, the experimentation pays off here. The inclusion of 2 Chainz’s provocative verses further electrify this track.

“Biggie Bounce” — Diplo feat. Angger Dimas & Travis Porter, TWRK Remix 

Producer Diplo makes his way onto another edition of “Traveler’s Tracks.” But this time around, I’m revisiting his music to honor the October release of his album, Revolution. The title track fails to impress as past hits “Express Yourself” and “Boy Oh Boy” did, but “Biggie Bounce” makes up for the disappointment.

But fair warning, fellow Trojans: As the name suggests, the TWRK remix might have your passengers dancing erratically against your seats — safety not guaranteed.

“Resolution” — Matt Corby

In every road trip there comes a point when eyes start to droop, voices start to trail off and you’re left with an endless road and a car of sleeping friends.

Vocalist Matt Corby provides the perfect backdrop to the more relaxed portion of a road trip with this song. The song begins with slow fingerpicking and a gentle drumbeat. Other notable instruments, such as the banjo and keyboard, accompany his passionate vocals. As Corby told Australian radio station Triple J, “The song was written in this little dingy L.A. apartment I’ve been living in for the last few months. It’s an ode to humanity and the way I want to be with other people and spread some love in an un-cheesy way.”

“Loved You Tonight” — John West

I discovered John West by chance on a beautiful spring day this past year, while strolling through Third Street Promenade, gelato in one hand and shopping bags in the other. A crowd slowly formed around a fedora-wearing fellow, whose infectious charisma left passers-by smiling from ear to ear. I threw a couple of dollars into his bucket, enamored with his lyrics such as, “Would you mind if I told you I love you tonight / Cause it seems when you’re close to me / It’s gonna be alright.” It was only later in the day that I learned who he was. He wasn’t just any other street performer, hoping to get his big break. He was John West, an artist who had performed with names such as Big Sean and Pusha T.

“Tired Magician” — Lady Danville

Our crosstown rival, UCLA, brought Michael Garner, Matt Frankel and Dan Chang together in 2005 to form Lady Danville. The indie-pop trio has covered songs such as MGMT’s “Kids” alongside the creation of unique numbers such as “Cast Away” and “Love to Love.” Lady Danville’s accolades include features on MTV, E! as well as the critically acclaimed documentary, Craigslist Joe.

Despite its success, Lady Danville suffered the same fate as bands such as ’N Sync and My Chemical Romance: a bad breakup. But not all was lost, as members Michael Garner and Dan Chang went on to create the group Hunter Hunted, producing music with similarly indie vibes.

“White Walls” — Macklemore feat. Schoolboy Q and Hollis

Ben Haggerty, better known as Macklemore, is the 6-foot-tall free spirit who graced radio airwaves with his songs “Same Love” and “Thrift Shop” this past year.

But “White Walls,” a gem off of his 15-track album, The Heist, deserves just as much attention as the aforementioned tracks.

The masterful inclusion of the pungi, a flute-like instrument used by snake charmers, spices up the song with an ethnic flavor. Though Hollis Wong-Wear’s vocals cannot compare to Mary Lambert’s heartfelt verses in “Same Love,” she does the job. Plus, all the talk of driving will add a little sparkle to your roadtrip: “I got that off-black Cadillac, midnight drive / Got that gas pedal, leaning back, taking my time.”

“Home” — RAC

I know. It’s cheesy. But when the time comes to turn that car around, you’ll be happy to hear this familiar Edward Sharpe and The Magnetic Zeroes number. The Remix Artist Collective version slows it down a notch and adds other instruments to the arrangement to give it an innovative spin.

So if you’re headed to NorCal, enjoy your weekend in enemy territory. Bask in the lack of smog and cooler temperatures. But just remember, regardless of your destination this weekend, sunny Southern California and lively Los Angeles will always be your home.


Rini Sampath is a sophomore majoring in international relations (global business). Her column “Traveler’s Tracks” runs Mondays. 

Follow Rini on Twitter @RiniSampath