Playlist: Night Driving

If you listen to this playlist, these magical lights will appear.

One of my favorite times to drive is at night, preferably not in the inexplicable, infuriating 4am traffic LA conjures up on weekend nights, but on open, dark freeways with the glowing mile markers speeding past. Thus, a playlist is born. Below are 16 songs that are perfect for driving at night, broken down into three specific categories (yes, this much thought is necessary).


1. M83 – “Midnight City”
Roll the windows down and turn it to 11.

2. Justice – “Phantom pt. II”
Perfect for driving down the 101 near the city. No traffic allowed, though.

3. Kavinsky – “Nightcall”
Yes, this is from Drive. Yes, you should feel like a badass when driving to it.

4. The Killers – “Jenny Was a Friend of Mine”
Been a staple in my night driving play book since Hot Fuss came out. Awesome bass line…steering wheel drumming encouraged.

5. Moby – “Flower”
Coincidentally, this song is in Gone in 60 Seconds. I picked it not for my love of Nic Cage, but because it’s awesome. Don’t believe me? Wait til 2:18.

CATEGORY TWO: Open, Empty Road

6. LCD Soundsystem – “Someone Great”
I’m going to call this a transition song. You’ve just left the city and the freeway’s all yours. If you can listen to this song without bobbing your head, I’ll…do something drastic and unpredictable.

7. Thom Yorke – “Black Swan”
Tangent: Radiohead will always work as night driving music. There’s something about the bass lines and Thom’s distant vocals. I picture driving through a forest road for some reason.

8. Milagres – “Glowing Mouth”
Recent addition to the blog (proof here) and welcome addition to the playlist. Wait until it really kicks in and gets to the chorus.

9. Pinback – “Syracuse”
I forgot how great Pinback is. The transitions in tempo in this song are fantastic. Roll the windows back down.

10. My Morning Jacket – “Gideon”
This one definitely screams “empty road.” Blast it.

CATEGORY THREE: Contemplative and Tired

11. Modest Mouse – “Gravity Rides Everything”
Probably my favorite Modest Mouse song. Calming it down. Turn on the AC to stay awake.

12. Explosions in the Sky – “The Only Moment We Were Alone”
I think if I were forced to have one band create a soundtrack for my life, it would be Explosions in the Sky. Make sure to stick with it until 6:32.

13. Air – “Universal Traveler”
An older song and reminder of how great Air is. Dreamy is the only word I can think of to describe it. Take a tip from fellow Swill Merchant, Dres, and blast the heat while keeping the windows down. Great way to help the environment.

14. Jimmy Eat World – “Night Drive”
Another old school staple. And no, I’m not just putting this on here because it’s called “Night Drive.” It’s because it’s actually an amazing driving at night anthem. Preferably between the hours of 2 and 4am.

15. Sia – “Breathe Me”
Finish it out with the melancholy of Sia. Best for arriving home as the sun rises.


16. My Morning Jacket – “Touch Me I’m Going to Scream Pt. 2”
Bonus song because it’s great for driving. Within the eight minutes of greatness, it covers all three categories, though in reverse order. Good way to cap it off.

Test this playlist out in the Grooveshark player below, find it again on our “Lists” page, and better yet, subscribe to it on Spotify here. You can always find it again by clicking our Spotify icon in the sidebar and getting to our profile that way.

Nothing left to do but get in the car and drive.

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