The “holiday season” as it’s called is a time of change and contemplation, as well as travel. A lot of us end up traveling for the holidays, driving for long periods of time through snowstorms and fog to see our loved ones. Some of us just use the winter time to go skiing or see new places that thrive in snowy environments. Whether you’re riding along with your snowbird parents or just going by yourself, a fun part of preparation is what you’ll be listening to.
Road tripping, moving, simple holiday travels — the soundtrack to your journey will often stay with your memories of it. Here are some of my favorite winter-travel tunes.
If you’re driving with a loved one, this is a good 41 minutes of conversation music. I know that Christmas is already over, but if you are still in the holiday spirit, this record is for you. Not only will it keep you in the mood for Christmas, but it’s not overwhelmingly loud on the vocals, so you can continue to chat while it plays in the background.
This is a great driving in the snow record for people my age who remember the “emo” days of junior high and high school. Really an underrated talent, Motion City Soundtrack’s “Even If It Kills Me” is an album that got lost in the shadow of its precursors and peers. The mood of the album is sad and mellow, but yet pretty hopeful at the end of it and has some great, emotionally intense moments. I remember listening to this in the back of my parents car in the tenth grade while driving up to McCall, ID, and I’ll always look at it as a winter album. It’s a great one to sing along to with a friend or family member who also loves it.
A lot of people talk about the album Reconstruction Site, but I think it’s a bit too country for a drive through the cold and snow, albeit emotional and sad in the way the Weakerthans are so good at. Reunion Tour begins with a song, “Civil Twilight”, about a Canadian bus driver in the winter reminiscing, and if that doesn’t say “midnight drive in the snow” to you then I don’t know what does. As the album goes on, the emotional tones of the record along with the contemplative, reflective, and remorseful lyrics work to help you reflect on your year and think about some of the deeper questions of life (it is John K. Samson, of course).
Again, high school was cool. Relient K’s Christmas album really takes me back to — again — driving in the snow, all winter of 2008. Religious lyrics aside, this is just a fun album to listen to if you want a more upbeat, punky approach to typical Christmas songs. It’s silly, fun, and lighthearted. While most of the albums I’ve listed here are more sad or contemplative, this album does a little bit of everything while still leaving you with a smile on your face.
This record has a somber, wintery feel that really fits the mood in the middle of a road trip. Driving through a snowstorm, nothing totally keeps you contemplative and peaceful feeling like the debut release by Wisconsin’s Bon Iver, AKA Justin Vernon. It depends, of course, on how the holidays make you feel. But for me this is a great album if I want to think about life and contemplate where I’ve come in the past year.
What are your favorite winter road trip albums? If you don’t celebrate Christmas but still travel for the holidays, what songs do you listen to and what holiday do you celebrate? Let me know on Twitter @Robolitious.
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