Producing a great driving playlist isn’t difficult. At the last count, there were roughly 3,659 compilation CDs entitled Your 100 Best Driving Tunes (or some variation on that). A selection will be available in your local supermarket.
What would be harder, we thought, would be to produce a list of absolutely terrible driving songs. And seeing as we like a challenge, that’s exactly what we’ve done. We’ve picked our personal selection of five distracting, speed-inducing, sleep-promoting and downright annoying songs to have on when you’re at the wheel. Off we go:
Also Sprach Zarathustra — The Portsmouth Sinfonia
The Portsmouth Sinfonia was a kind of 80s musical experiment: an orchestra comprised entirely of people who couldn’t play. Or at least, not using the instruments they were performing with. The orchestra made genuine attempts to play challenging classical pieces. Depending on your disposition, you may find the result excruciating, hilarious or infuriating. Whatever your reaction, anything by the Portsmouth Sinfonia is one of the most distracting things you could have on in the car.
Hey Mama — Black Eyed Peas
We’re including this one because research supposedly proves that this is the most dangerous song to listen to when driving. Admittedly, the research (conducted by confused.com) is rubbish, amounting to the observation that one person drove worse when she listened to hip-hop. Maybe the song is so middle-of-the-road, that’s where she drove.
Play With Me — Extreme
Nineties hair-rock band Extreme are probably best known for their syrupy ballad More than Words. But in the very silly and annoyingly catchy Play With Me, they unleash monster guitarist Nuno Bettencourt. If you like fast guitar (and you probably should), this is a terrible driving song. You may find yourself trying to keep up with Nuno. When the blistering solo hits at 2:26, you’re in trouble.
Additional warning: prolonged listening may make you adopt a stupid haircut.
The Scientist — Coldplay
You might think we picked this one because there’s a car crash in the video. But actually, it’s the music. Now, we’ve got nothing against Coldplay, and don’t want to offend their legions of fans. It’s just that as a soundtrack for driving, personally we find The Scientist a wee bit…plodding. Rather colourless. On the limp side. It just makes us want to put the car back in the garage and do a jigsaw instead. Not that Coldplay care.
4’33” — John Cage
Here is classical composer John Cage’s infamous piece 4’33”. This particular version is arranged for piano, though it’s also scored as a full orchestral piece. This piece significantly increases the chance of accidents, as drivers devote their attention to finding what’s gone wrong with their stereo. For a nice explanation of 4’33”, see the Wikipedia entry.
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