The Way We Move Issue Feature

Curation Urban Culture

Road Trip Songs

This list started almost as soon as we began imagining what a Peeps issue about movement might look like. Even in January, the call to make memories with people we love without really caring about the destination we “intended” to reach was mighty. And now, as the world seems to shift seismically every day, our imagination and our desire for movement has only become more compelling.

The playlist we’ve designed for this imagined trip opens with Madonna’s “Sky Fits Heaven,” which embodies the ethos of mobility and begs us to “wander down [our] own roads” and to realize that all good journeys forever change us. Sometimes we realise the secrets of our spiritual centre by how we move about it. As a counterpoint to Madonna, Björk’s “Hunter,” from her album Homogenic, reminds us that not all change happens along the way, but sometimes must be deliberately sought.

Instead of “waiting for a good time,” “Vroom,” by Charli XCX, begs us to take the first steps in our journey. “Vroom” captures the raucous camaraderie of the botellon in Daniel Albero Santacreu’s article, “Coming of Age on Wheels.” The Smiths song “There is a Light that Never Goes Out” puts melody, voice and mood to the article, capturing both the risk-taking behaviours of drivers in Kerouac’s On the Road or in the film Rebel Without a Cause, evoking the exploration of youthful freedoms through movement. Siouxsie and the Banshees’ cover of Iggy Pop’s “The Passenger” rounds out this reflection with defiance and a call for independence.

The next few songs helps to illustrate the article “Five Movements of Mothering.” Orville Peck’s baritone commands us to “ride the wind” in “Winds Change” and to find the path that feels right for us. “Somnambule” by Coeur de Pirate is equal parts lullaby and love song. The Yeah Yeah Yeahs’ “Maps” shows all the paths that those relationships can take. Finally, we are reminded that we can learn about ourselves simply through the act of moving with the song, “Road to Nowhere” by the Talking Heads.

Our playlist shifts here to provide a backdrop to Dimitris Dalakoglou’s article, “Stories from the Road.” “T5” by the Sweat Shop Boys asks us to confront current Islamophobic regimes that restrict and prevent brown bodies from moving freely. MIA’s “Paper Planes” echoes how the intersections of race and poverty trap marginalized people not only physically, but also economically: its gunshot-and-cash-register hook illustrating how the dream of mobility is often tied to money. Frank Ocean’s “Biking (Solo)” further describes the frustration of immobility and the longing for an escape from both the bondage of wage economy, but also from the places that keep us “stuck.”

The Chromatics’ “Night Drive” evokes both the darkness and the headlights of travelling down a road to an uncertain destination.

Having waxed nostalgic for the car trips of a now seemingly distant past, and considered what movement means within different lived contexts in our world, we then asked, what will movement look like in our future? So, let’s wonder about what that future might look like with two songs composed and written by artificial intelligence. In the first, “Break Free,” sung by Taryn Southern, AI longs (if it can long) to be able to move about in a physical world of touch and motion. In the last song (not available on Spotify), “Daddy’s Car,” by the flowmachines inc., AI attempts to write a song in the style of the Beatles.

This list was compiled long before we imagined that unrestricted movement might soon be a luxury of the past, but we hope that these stories and songs will help you to enjoy a journey from nostalgia to the future imaginary of moving through our world.

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