23 October 2020
AUTO TUNES: The best songs for your driving playlist

Need some new tunes for your driving playlist? Check out the best songs you can stream in the car today – in the humble opinion of the AutoApp Editorial team.

Listening to your favourite tunes on the road has certainly come a long way since the days of cassette tapes and CDs. Now with tech like Apple CarPlay or Android Auto, accessing your favourite music only takes a few taps of the smartphone. But if your driving playlist needs an update, check out these awesome song reccs, courtesy of the AutoApp editorial team!

Access the full playlist here!

Sheldon’s driving playlist:

As the oldest member of the team, it’s no surprise that my go-to playlist is rather ecclectic to say the least. Blues, Classic Rock and Yacht Rock are the staples with a fair amount of New Romantics, oldies evergreen ballads and a smattering of Gangsta Rap keeps me guessing what’s next on Shuffle mode.

However, among the 1,333 songs in “I’m old, leave me alone”, there’s three songs never fail to make eve the most mundane drive feel epic!

Best drive home song: Drive – The Cars

The list starts with Drive, naturally. This 80s classic sounds timeless (to Sheldon) with a haunting melody that turns any dashboard into a Yamaha DX7 synthesiser. Time to roll up the blazer sleeves…

Best song for the subwoofer: Way Down Deep – Jennifer Warnes

This is an audiophile’s favourite. As the song title suggests, it explores the deeper reaches of any sound system. If it sounds underwhelming, that because your system have enough bass! Nicely balanced with the crisp delivery of Jennifer Warnes, one of the most underrated female vocalists in the business. The timbre of her voice should shine through the bass notes.

Best for driving with the top down: Believe – The Dirty Heads

I can only best describe this as “acoustic rap” if there such a thing. There’s a reggae vibe somewhere there but the easy-going tempo and rhythm just gives you visions of driving at sunset, in convertible, top down – as you do – and doing that undulating ‘wave’ thing with your hand in the wind.

Brin’s driving playlist:

Okay, so quick disclaimer: I don’t drive. But know what I do enjoy? Running. And when you think about it, driving is kinda like running. Afterall, you need songs with a nice, solid rhythm to keep pace during those long drives, and something quick and catchy (or angsty) for when you’re having a really bad day. My music tastes are pretty varied and as much as I despise labels, I guess you could say I’m a fan of indie, alt, garage, post-punk and the occasional classic when I’m feeling nostalgic. I also strongly believe that teenybopper tunes from the 90s make for good editing music. But that’s another story for another time.

Best song for the slow drive home: Home and Dry – Pet Shop Boys

From legendary synthpop duo Neil Tennant and Chris Lowe comes a song about returning to something comforting and safe. Like your bed, arms of a significant other, or a pint of Ben & Jerry’s.

Best date-night song: ETA? (80s Love Song) – nanu

I’m so thankful I stumbled upon this song by Singaporean duo Nurain and Nadia. With lyrics like “drive down till the sun sets” and “holding hands inside your car”, it’s the perfect song for when you’re cruising around town with bae. Aww.

Best night-out with friends song: Chelsea Dagger – The Fratellis

If you’re a fan of American sports, you’ve probably heard this song at some point. Still, this tune by Scottish band The Fratellis is sure to get you all pumped up for a fun night out with your mates.

Jon’s driving playlist:

I grew up on a steady diet of racing video games and plenty of Top Gear, so after spending so much time glued to one sort of screen or another, it is no surprise that my musical tastes gravitate towards the sort of pulse-quickening beats that go hand-in-hand with fast cars and driving. Rock music, in other words, in most of its varied forms. Although, in addition to that, I’ve recently found myself getting swept up in the retro-futuristic synthwave movement despite having never experienced the ’80s myself. Favourite artists? I don’t have many, as I tend to only add individual songs that I like to my library rather than whole albums, but I’m definitely a huge fan of Muse – and I have Top Gear to thank for introducing them to me.

Best song for a flat-out blast down the highway: Driver’s Delight – Yuzo Koshiro

In the mid-late ’00s, the easiest (legal) way for underaged car enthusiasts to get behind the wheel was at one of the dozen or so game arcades around Singapore, where two racing game series reigned supreme: Initial D, and Wangan Midnight Maximum Tune. I was firmly in the latter camp, based on the Wangan Midnight manga about the street racers of Tokyo’s Shuto Expressway, and this tune is my favourite from the game’s soundtrack.

One of the main functions of any song in a racing game is to put the player in a pedal to the metal mood, and I’ve found this applies to real life driving as well. My enduring memory of this song was when it started playing during a late night high-speed blast up to Kuala Lumpur (Tuas Checkpoint to KL in 2.5 hours, you do the math). With the road ahead clear, the street lamps flashing by in time with the beat, and the focus required when driving at “how fast can I beat Google Maps’ ETA?” speeds, I had a goosebump-inducing moment that took me right back to those carefree secondary school days in the arcades.

Best song for a late-night, windows-down cruise: Sunset – The Midnight

I’m far from what you might call ‘musically inclined’, so I can’t tell anyone very much about music beyond “this song sounds nice’, but ‘Sunset’ was a bit of an epiphany for me. Hearing its distinctive synthesizer and electric guitar riffs for the first time instantly conjured up ‘80s iconography in my head: in my mind’s eye I pictured a top-down drive along the Pacific Coast Highway in an ’80s Corvette Convertible against a fiery orange sunset as the perfect scene to pair with this song (played from a cassette tape, naturally).

Best song for a road trip with friends: Africa – Toto

Not a particularly imaginative choice, I’ll admit, but there’s a reason why ‘Africa’ is one of the most universally loved songs ever: it’s awesome! Its rousing melody is a great way to liven up the mood during a dreary drive, and well as the fact that it’s been around long enough for everyone to know the lyrics means anyone can join in the (slightly cringey) fun of belting out the chorus as loud as they can. A brilliant song to play on a long road trip, in other words.

Alvin’s driving playlist:

Music is mind-altering, mood-changing; an emotional catalyst for any occasion. It has the psychedelic power to boost your psychological state and to some extent, your physical prowess. Music can also be a healer, a lover, soothing the tired soul at the end of a hard day’s work. What you choose to listen to will define your day. In my musical pilgrimage, there is no good or bad music, only what you choose to like or dislike. And here are my three choice tracks/album to accompany my drive throughout the day and life. Oh, and did I mention the purring of the engine is also music to the ears?

Best song to kick-start the day (and your engines of course!): Highway Star – Deep Purple

Not to be confused with the Nissan Elgrand Highway Star, this song from Deep Purple’s legendary 1972 Machine Head album is, in my opinion, the best track to power up any day. Its pulsating, high-octane, driving rhythm section and searing lead guitar solos hit you harder faster than you can say “kopi O gao kosong!” If that isn’t enough, its lyrics are pure motivation. “Nobody gonna take my car I’m gonna race it to the ground. Nobody gonna beat my car. It’s gonna break the speed of sound.” Ooh ooh, sure makes my Corolla Altis feels like it’s a killing machine. More than ever, I will step out from my car, ready to take on the workday, feeling like a Highway Star!

Best song to diffuse the anger after encountering an inconsiderate motorist: Why U so like Dat? – Siva Choy & the Kopi Kat Klan

How many times have you signalled your intention to filter lanes, only to witness a ‘kiasu’ inconsiderate driver speeding up from far behind? How often have you been horned at when the lights have just turned green? Do you even remember how many times someone hijacked the parking lot you were waiting for? How many? The answer, my friend is not blowing in the wind. Let’s not resort to unproductive violence that may get you STOMP’d. Life isn’t fair. Why you so like Dat is really a song and choice to respond to Singaporean shenanigans with a dose of humour. “I always give you chocolate, I give you my Tic Tac. But when you got your Kit-Kat you never give me back!” WHY U SO LIKE DAT?

Best album for a relaxing drive home after a hard day’s work: Jazzelegance – Jack Jezzro

Armed with a nylon-string guitar, backed by double bass and acoustic drum section, Jeff Jezzro’s rhythmic improvisations and fingerstyle technique is smooth, relentless, romantic and vintage classy. I’ve chosen the entire album as its a real challenge to choose my favourite track. This makes for a lazy Sunday afternoon’s al fresco tea or relaxing drive home after a long day at work. Drive slow and let your day unwind. Here’s a sample.

Sam’s driving playlist:

So, I’m leaving myself open to a lot of judgement here but having spent the better part of ten years listening to more Korean music than anything else, it should be no surprise that my contributions are *gasp* Korean. Now, it might be hard to appreciate music in a language you don’t speak or worse still, songs that butcher the English language. But, I promise that there are some rare gems worth paying attention to, even if these sometimes angsty lyrics are lost on you.

Best song for when you’re stuck in slow-moving traffic: Bawling – Primary & Hyukoh

This collaboration between Primary and Oh Hyuk, who are better known for hiphop and indie rock respectively, is a surprisingly mellow blend of jazzy tunes and soft vocals. Relaxing as it sounds, the romantic tune betrays more melancholy lyrics about an indifferent relationship.

Best song to drive with the top/window down: So High (feat. Jisim) – Standing Egg

Standing Egg is a ten-year-old indie acoustic band consisting of members Egg 1, Egg 2 and Egg 3. Their identities remain largely unknown to the real world, and for the most part, these eggs produce and compose the music while inviting other vocalists and musicians to perform them. So High has just the right amount of head-bop and finger-drumming on the wheel, along with a rap bridge that you’ll hardly find misplaced. Most of all, if you remember all the heart-fluttering feelings of being in love, then this song is for you.

Best song for a morning drive date with Bae: It’s Sweet – Lena Park

Whether you’re off to brunch or something fancier with your special someone, a little romantic music never hurts. It’s Sweet is all about enjoying the company of your loved one, and with Lena Park’s sweet vocals and light acoustic music, you’re bound to feel a little lighthearted and tingly too.

Marcus‘ driving playlist:

Despite being a ‘90s kid, my music taste tends to skew towards songs that were released before I was born. Perhaps it’s been influenced by my mum, who’s a big fan of artists like Air Supply – but listening to ‘80s music just feels comforting and gives me a nice fuzzy feeling.

I’ve once been told by a GrabHitch rider that I’ve got “quite a retro playlist” for someone my age, when Glory of Love by Peter Cetera came around. Similarly, there’s plenty of feel-good music in my playlist, but here’s another three that see heavy repeat.

Best song for a late-night seaside cruise: Starting Over Again – Natalie Cole

Natalie Cole’s – Nat King Cole’s daughter – soulful voice is the perfect accompaniment for a seaside cruise under the stars, with the windows down and wind blowing.

Best song for a perk-me-up drive: Nothing’s Gonna Stop Us Now – Starship

With a title like Nothing’s Gonna Stop Us Now, it’s the perfect motivational track for any situation. In the car, though, the fast tempo is sure to perk you up, whether you’re sitting in traffic or bombing down South Buona Vista Road.

Best song for highway driving: Can’t Fight This Feeling – REO Speedwagon

The tempo, lyrics, and tune of Can’t Fight This Feeling just gel together perfectly, for what I feel is the ultimate highway driving song. With a moderate tempo and Kevin Cronin’s dynamic vocals, you’re gonna need to fight the feeling to sing along at the top of your voice.

AutoApp Awesome Playlist Vol. 1

Now that you‘ve got enough songs for your driving playlist, why not check out these little known shopping places? And if you’re passionate about music and new tech, you’re gonna want to check this out.