Image by Nike Sulway.
A huge thanks to Rebecca Jessen for putting together this mixtape for The Lifted Brow. You can read an excerpt of Rebecca’s piece from Issue 33, ‘We’re All Going On A Summer Holiday’, here.
A week before the summer holiday to rival all summer holidays you ask me to make a playlist for the drive. I am acutely aware of the importance of creating an interesting, well-balanced playlist, so I don’t take this new responsibility lightly. You add a caveat: only happy songs. Happy? This rules out 95% of my music collection.
- Cliff Richard – ‘We’re All Going on a Summer Holiday’
Whenever I hear this song I think of that TV ad from the 90s, perhaps it was an NRMA ad, or a government ad about road safety. Mum, Dad and 2.5 kids pile into their car, loaded up with luggage, about to start their summer holiday: flash to screaming tyres, busting glass. I found the ad ominous and terrifying, a bit like all of my family summer holidays.
- AC/DC – ‘You Shook Me All Night Long’
Blame my upbringing, but I don’t think any road trip is complete without some Acca Dacca. Depending on your present company and destination, you could play this, or ‘Highway to Hell’. In hindsight, the latter might have proved more appropriate.
- Madonna – ‘Holiday’
One of the best family legacies I inherited was a deep, unquestioning love for Madonna. I have fond memories as a kid of summer holidays spent driving up and down the Pacific Highway with Madonna playing at full volume.
- The Presidents of the United States of America – ‘Peaches’
No drive through the countryside is complete without ‘Peaches’. Is it at this point you ask if I’ve made you a sex playlist? Or is it later, when ‘Hot Stuff’ is playing? Sex, happiness, maybe the two mean the same thing.
- Sleater-Kinney – ‘What’s Mine Is Yours’
This is your first introduction to the band. Family. Relationships. This chaos can be yours too, if you want it.
- Salt-N-Pepa – ‘Push It’
We don’t know it yet, but this song will forever remind us of a particular February evening and a particular aunty, jelly shots and champers in hand, dignity discarded by the jacuzzi.
- Melissa Etheridge – ‘Bring Me Some Water’
No lesbian in the history of lesbians on road trips ever made a playlist without including at least one Melissa Etheridge song.
- Meat Loaf – ‘Paradise by the Dashboard Lights’
You wouldn’t let me include ‘November Rain’ on account of its suicidal undertones, so this is the next best epic with equally excellent riffs.
- Nicki Minaj – ‘Super Bass’
This song is on every road trip playlist because I know it makes you laugh. And there are few better feelings than that of being in the car with you, laughing while singing, hands on thighs, thinking this is how I’d like to spend the rest of my life.
- Miley Cyrus – ‘Wrecking Ball’
Look, I’m a complex human being with questionable taste in music but a big heart. There is room in my life for all sorts. This being one of them.
- Mumford and Sons – ‘I Will Wait’
A different summer road trip, just the two of us, driving through the trees, this song playing. The way you looked at me like you thought you could love every single thing about me. The way I wanted to stop time then and see if it was true.
Songs that didn’t make the second cut:
Mariah Carey – ‘Dreamlover’ on account of the look on your face when this started playing. I guess there really are limits to love.
Carly Simon – ‘You’re So Vain’ on account of who it reminds us of.
Suzi Quatro – ‘If You Can’t Give Me Love’, replaced with ‘Your Mama Won’t Like Me’, which is far more appropriate.
Rebecca Jessen lives in Brisbane. She is the award-winning author of Gap.