“Trapped in time. Surrounded by evil. Low on gas.”…or the art of making the perfect mix for cruising at night

27 May

There is nothing i enjoy more than meeting up with friends at dusk and heading out on a late night drive through the country.  Conversations are better, time feels like it doesn’t  exist, the world feels like it’s full of possibilities, and the stress of day to day monotony are forgotten completely. It’s the only place i truly feel free, where i finally believe that anything can happen, where my friends and I strip away  all pretensions and  feel truly alive.

Before heading out there are a few necessities that must never be overlooked; Redbull (or your choice of energy drink), Nicotine (pick your poison), something for the munchies, something to pass around (i’m not condoning or promoting but from personal experience having something….um… light-able(?)….. guarantees a solid cruise to go from being just something to pass the time to epic), and the all coveted “cruising mix”.  I have hundreds of mixes that i’ve refused to discard even though at least three tracks on each disc are unlistenable due to scratches from floating around on the floorboard of my car. Each of those discs has it’s own story, it’s own memory , and all i’ve got to do is slip it in and turn the volume up and have that precise night come flooding back to me.

The problem with putting a mix like this up is that the unknowns which go into a perfectly made mix cannot be accounted for, i’ll never be able to bring in that intimacy through a high speed connection.  You have to know who will be with you and what they are currently digging, which bands are overrated to them, which ones are underrated, genres they don’t respect, pop songs that they secretly enjoy, and most importantly you need to know when it comes down to that final drag of the ride when all words fall silent and your heading back home, minds in quiet contentment, that the songs playing are going to truly encapsulate a feeling between the group of you at that exact moment. This is not always easy to do. Inevitably there will always be at least one person who is foreign to the group and who probably doesn’t enjoy anything outside of corporate mainstream radio and you have to make sure that songs make the mix which they will appreciate because if one person isn’t enjoying themselves it doesn’t take much for them to upset the vibe between everyone else.

There are three parts to a night cruise. There’s the departure; everyone in good spirits high in everyday conversation and only needing the mix to send of a solid vibe to set the tone for the entire journey without being too weighed down not to allow it to slip off into the ether. The settling in; this is where the music works more as a guide, both for conversations and for emotions. I usually use this part of the mix to bring up songs that we haven’t heard in a while, songs that we may normal be “too cool” for but given the right opportunity with a couple good friends they can be great tracks to sing along with. And then the third being the introspective part of the drive where conversations become more personal and where you have the unique chance to take a look inside yourself as a collective. The third part also being where at least one person inevitably falls asleep. When looking back on past nights out it’s amazing how much the bond as friends becomes strengthened  and on more occassions than i can count how many crushes and friendships have moved on to something more tangible all from the right songs and where you end up sitting along the way.

Although this mix could feasably be something i would immedietely burn up and take out tonight it’s also only a guideline. an example of a good way to go about planning a night journey through the country. Hopefully a few of these songs will make it onto your own mix before heading out with friends.

Part 1:

The Departure

Minus the Bear- Pachuca Sunrise

cut copy- Take me over

Allo Darlin- the polaroid song

Hightide Hotel- She dreams of melting rocks

Passion pit- eyes as candles

The Love Language- Heart to Tell

Tokyo Police Club- Boots Of Danger

Harlem Shakes- Nothing But Change part II

Darwin Deez- Radar Detector

Beach Fossils- Youth

zeus- kindergarten

Animal Collective- Summertime Clothes

Free Energy- Dream City

hooray for earth- surrounded by your friends

The radio dept.- always a relief

sun airway- put the days away

fun. – All the pretty girls

yeasayer-madder red

the rural alberta advantage- north star

Matthew and the atlas- I will remain

Shiv Hurrah- All my teeth

Belle and Sebastian- If She Wants Me

Rogue Wave- Eyes (b-side)

David Gray- Babylon

Sam Means- yeah yeah

The Tillers- Ludlow Street Rag

Dan Mangan- Fair Verona

Good Old War- My own sinking ship

One Response to ““Trapped in time. Surrounded by evil. Low on gas.”…or the art of making the perfect mix for cruising at night”


  1. The Definitive Hooded Sweatshirt Playlist « heycoolkid! - August 31, 2011

    […] how ridiculously long this post ended up being. I’d debated breaking it up as i had with the “Trapped In Time, Surrounded By Evil, Low On Gas” or the art of making a perfect mix for… playlist but that one was easy to breakdown. Although you may only download one or two tracks in my […]

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