Music is most powerful at night, because there are less distractions. During the day there are sounds of life, people talking and machines working. But at night things begin to get quieter. That moment is the best time to blast your music loud and the absolute best place to do that is in your car driving. Everyone has a different idea of what night driving music should be so that was the hardest part of making this playlist, creating a cohesive idea of what the night sounds like to me. And of course different music could be applicable to different speeds or locations of driving, but for my purposes I’m going to run with the idea of driving down a highway late at night with the street lights passing you at maybe one too many miles per hour over the posted limit.
After countless hours of unwarranted self-deliberation I decided that the best night driving music always hits three big points: big almost overbearing lead vocals with background choral elements, heavy percussion and an overall spacey ethereal vibe.
Big vocals grab your attention and speak for you: from the gentle seductive melodies of Frank Ocean to the forceful drive behind Ben Thornewill of Jukebox the Ghost, there is a definite presence in voices. Similarly, background vocals have an incredible effect on the overall feel of a song: Bombay Bicycle Club uses background vocals elegantly, not only adding to that spacey vibe I mentioned but adding multidimensionality to the music and facilitating some deep night contemplation...or something.
Night music needs a beat, lest you fall asleep. However for driving it’s not about having a crazy intense rhythm but rather an upbeat one that metaphorically keeps the car rolling. Vampire Weekend is a band driven through percussion so even in softer songs there exists a certain level of energy. In this playlist I definitely favored more of an acoustic drum sound, but electronic deep bass music would be another great direction for curating your own night drive playlist.
“Space vibes” sounds made up, and it probably is; it’s when the song doesn’t feel like it’s coming from the speakers, but rather, you’re wrapped up in the middle of it. Reverb and echo effects balanced with the aforementioned background vocals really create a space that the music moves in. Songs like “Punching in a Dream” and “Amazing” do this really well and are excellent with their layered sounds.
Most of these tracks aren’t explicitly happy or sad and can really match any mood. You could take them for a ride to celebrate a promotion or take them out when you’re remembering that one really embarrassing thing you did in middle school. Lord knows that’s what I’ve used them for.
So if you want to give it a whirl, here’s a link: http://spoti.fi/1LL2b23. But keep an eye on the speedometer. With the windows down and this on full blast it might be hard to keep the car below the legal limit.