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What do you need for a driving playlist? The fizz of the white line, the pull of the horizon, the tires beneath you slurping up the miles … You need forward momentum and you need space—expansiveness. You need regular beats and loads of deep repetition. Spiraling guitars. Engine-rumble. Pockets of dream. And because this is America you also need ZZ Top.
Health note: If you get stuck in traffic while listening to this playlist, turn it off. Its urgency and motive force are too great for a static situation. Turn it off, or you’ll go insane. Turn it off and repeat quietly to yourself, 15 or 20 times, this line from Brother Jack Kerouac of blessed memory:
You can’t live in this world but there’s nowhere else to go.
All right … traffic’s moving again. Turn the music back on. Crank it up.
1. NEU!, “Hallogallo”
A wonderful German band from the 1970s, NEU! was the great purveyor of motorik—onto this clipped, propulsive beat could be layered all manner of gorgeous melodic drift. Industrial-pastoral, you might say.