CoS Exclusive FeaturesHotList 'Em Carefully

The Best Songs About Cars

on February 21, 2014, 11:30am
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Ask a 16-year-old: A car is everything. From that euphoric moment walking out of the DMV with a freshly-printed license and the thought “These suckers say I can drive!” to soul-sucking rush hour bottlenecks, cars are a more significant presence in our lives than some family members. They’re an odd mix of utility and luxury, freedom and adherence to the rules. In many cities in this country, it’s impossible to function without one. That’s why even though it’s only been a hundred years or so since the Model T made maybe the most successfully invasive product debut that century, the songs that we sing about cars are every bit as culturally important as love songs, murder ballads, and other major topics that earn prominent spots in our lore.

That said, we thought we’d take a look at exactly what we’re talking about when we sing about cars. Call it a taxonomy, an attempt to condense an entire subject matter into its smallest parts. When we sing about cars, we sing about the cars we race, the cars we want, the cars we have (which are seldom as awesome as the cars we want), the cars we cruise, and the cars we flaunt (frequently for wooing purposes). Whatever your speed, there’s probably a car song out there about you.

–Erin Carson
Staff Writer

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23 comments

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Fred
July 25, 2014 at 11:39 am

“I’m in Love with My Car” by Queen – It’s THE car song. Red Barchetta should be there as well.

Karen Kraus
February 26, 2014 at 12:33 am

I don’t know if it’s already been mentioned in the comments… but what about Dan Seals’ “My Old Yellow Car”?

Rich Grunenwald
February 25, 2014 at 6:03 pm

No “Hot Rod Lincoln”? Are you kidding me?

Jesse DuBay (@jdubay3)
February 24, 2014 at 4:06 pm

I would have to throw in a vote for Airbag or Killer Cars by Radiohead

Anonymous
February 24, 2014 at 2:06 pm

A post titled “The Best Songs About Cars” and yet there is no mention of Long May You Run? Come on now.

Anonymous
February 24, 2014 at 1:53 pm

“Black Metallic” by Catherine Wheel!!!

Zack
February 24, 2014 at 11:15 am

Pink Cadillac, to my mind the greatest car-as-vagina song out there.

CJ
February 24, 2014 at 10:18 am

Ummm…and for those that wax nostalgic on late-’80’s Miami hip-hop, what about “Cars That Go Boom” by L’Trimm…song of junior high!

Vehicle Rental Singapore
February 24, 2014 at 4:25 am

This blog for Best Songs About Cars is very good and like the image this is too live thanks.

Jlf
February 23, 2014 at 12:23 pm

No Radar Love?! There’s not even a close second. “I’ve been driving all night, my hands are wet on the wheel…”

Daniel Foxhound
February 23, 2014 at 10:49 am

“Who’s Gonna Drive You Home” – The Cars
“Fast Car” – Tracy Chapman

Come on….

Jude the Obscure
February 22, 2014 at 3:52 pm

“Pop Music’s Saddest Songs About Car Crashes,” Huffington Post: http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2012/11/21/pop-music-songs-car-crashes_n_2169464.html

Jude the Obscure
February 22, 2014 at 3:46 pm

How about the tragedy of cars? “He blew his mind out in a car” (Beatles’ A Day in the Life), “In a fast german car / I’m amazed that I survived / An airbag saved my life” (Radiohead’s Airbag), The Smiths’ “There Is a Light That Never Goes Out” (“If a 10-ton truck crashes into us / To die by your side…”), David Bowie’s “Always Crashing in the Same Car” (from the album Low), Graham Parker’s “Crawling from the Wreckage,” M83’s “Don’t Save Us from the Flames,” Kanye West’s “Through the Wire” (about surviving a car crash), Springsteen’s “Wreck on the Highway,” etc. It’s not all celebration.

Jude the Obscure
February 22, 2014 at 3:32 pm

Upon reflection: Aren’t all American “classic rock” songs about driving? Hitting the road, driving down the highway, etc.

Chad
February 21, 2014 at 3:32 pm

You can’t actually make this list without “Panama” or “Highway Star”. It’s a fail otherwise.

Gabe Rosenberg (@GabrielJR)
February 21, 2014 at 3:24 pm

Personal favorite is “’92 Subaru” by Fountains of Wayne. Although you’re forgiven for ignoring/not knowing it.

Dan HardRock Hitchcock
February 21, 2014 at 3:04 pm

Every song on this list withers and dies in the harsh light of “Long May You Run” by Stills-Young (okay, mostly Young).

testvideogallery
February 21, 2014 at 1:25 pm

Where is “Red Barchetta”?

Dimitri Sionis
February 21, 2014 at 1:23 pm

There are plenty of car references in Cake songs, “Long Line of Cars” is a personal favorite.
But “Stickshifts and Safetybelts” must be one of the best songs about cars ever written: “A lot of good caaaaaaaars are Japanese, but when we’re driving I need my baby next to meeeeeeee”!

Robert Palmer Plore (@R_PalmerPlore)
February 21, 2014 at 1:16 pm

You missed ‘Contact’ by Phish. Fucking shame on you CoS.

Anonymous
February 21, 2014 at 12:53 pm

how can you not have any springsteen?

DT (@BigLipped)
February 21, 2014 at 11:51 am

How can you forget “Little Red Corvette”?

Anonymous
February 23, 2014 at 10:44 am

” Who’s Gonna Drive You Home ” , The Cars. Come on!

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