There’s something almost poetic about driving in the middle of the night.

The little country me and my little car frequent during the day is a busy place, full of big cars cutting in front of you, of teenaged schoolchildren with not enough sense of safety, of traffic jams and red lights.

Not so at night. All of a sudden the blearing, bustling traffic has made room for space. Pedestrians and cyclists are nowhere to be found. The very few cars you meet in the fog are other lone travelers heading home, absorbed in their own little world. The last thing they’re doing is cutting in.

The massive flow of impressions and information you get while driving during the day has been reduced to a trickle, leaving room for music.

 

Since I spend an average of two hours per working day in my car, it’s well stocked with all manner of sounds.

I have the soundtracks to three GTA games, for instance. The idea is blatantly stolen from a colleague of mine, but it works. The fictitious radio stations and their commercials manage to be less annoying after ten repeats than the actual real life radio station dj’s. And it doesn’t impede my driving as much as people would assume. I have yet to try the sidewalk as a faster route to get to my destination, for instance.

Most of my car music is randomized, but really, there’s times, and then there’s music to go with them.

Mornings need happy music to brighten grumpy moods. Sinatra, Queen, the Rocky Horror Picture Show soundtrack (yes, I know all those songs by heart, and yes I sing along loudly, I even do the eyebrow waggles and dance moves, minus the footwork).

Going back home in the evening needs de-stressing music. This is where my bad taste really shines: Linkin Park, Korn, System of a Down. I will admit that angry music makes me drive just a bit more aggressively, which is exactly why Mindless Self Indulgence hasn’t made it into my car yet, and why I limit the (otherwise excellent) goth industrial music.

And at night? New wave works well. And calm music: Azure Ray and the likes. Ballads. I once drove slower just to hear the ending to Jeff Buckley’s Halleluja before arriving home. I can imagine Fleet Foxes being perfect night time driving music. Kings of Leon definitely is. Lonely music. If the singer sounds like he’s by himself in the middle of a desert or (for Fleet Foxes) a snow covered forest, it’s the right music to brave the empty miles of asphalt.

 So, one for the audience. What do you drive to? What do you travel to? What fits with which mood?

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