I just got home from vacation and I’m experiencing the bends as I re-enter the atmosphere of the illusive, yet always intriguing, Smog City. It always takes me a moment to shift gears.
For many road trips and eventful summers of my life, there is a soundtrack. Back in my teens, there was the New York Summer of Son of Sam, a sweltering season with an ominous killer on the loose. Cue “Brick House,” by the Commodores. For me, that tune calls up a sense of lurking danger combined with summer abandon. Those atmospherics were big in the ’70s, which you can experience by watching just the first ten minutes of the movie Jaws.
The summer of 2012, on a more positive note, is in full swing with one vacation already under my belt.
- For the long drive through the impressive, yet oppressive, desert landscape of Nevada, cue “The Shadow Of Your Smile,” by Friends Of Dean Martinez.
- Landing overnight in a campground by The Great Basin, the sky shines with a myriad of lights and comets. There are more stars up there than freckles on a redhead. Cue “Triangle Walks (Tiga’s 1-2-3-4),” by Fever Ray.
- Arriving at our final destination in Idaho, it’s a beautiful mountain lake brimming with trout. The air is so fresh you can almost taste the ozone. Cue “Me, Me, Me,” by Lars and the Hands of Light.
- We’re passing through the small towns of the Northwest on our return, ghost towns with partially blinking motel signs harking back to their ’50s and ’60s heydays. Each motel has the requisite pool filled with unattended kiddies. (There’s probaby more pee in that pool than Keith Richards has handed over in a lifetime of drug tests.) Cue our anthem, “Bohemian Rhapsody” by Queen.
iTunes is an incredible resource for a long trip. You can download stories, books, and podcasts. Our favorite podcast inspired the anthem of the trip: “Rhapsody in Bohemia,” from KCRW’s Unfictional series, is a deconstruction of Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody.”
Tags: anthem, Bohemian Rhapsody, Brick House, camping, Fever Ray, Friends of Dean Martinez, jaws, Kcrw Unfictional, lars and the hands of light, Me, Nevada, playlist, queen, road trip, roadtrip, The Commodores, The Shadow of Your Smile, Trentmoller, Triangle Walks, vacation