Summer is beckoning in Utah, and while it’s scorching, it also calls for a fun road trip to the gorgeous outdoors. Think of the magnificent Arches National Park, Bryce Canyon, and Capitol Reef or a quiet night under the cluster of stars in Antelope Island.
And what better way to celebrate the good days ahead than to upgrade your car stereos and blast these classic tunes:
1. Fast Car by Tracy Chapman
How about starting the drive with some folk music? Not many people know that Fast Car’s actually a love song—and a sad one—as it tells the story of someone who’s trying to escape something bad in their lives.
But you can’t deny yourself hearing Tracy Chapman’s soulful voice as it echoes the chambers of the vehicle. It’s probably an awesome song when you want to start the trip slow (and, let’s face it, road trips can also be a metaphor for our life’s journey—we just want to find our place in this world.)
2. Party in the USA by Miley Cyrus
If you’re looking for the perfect road trip anthem that doesn’t feel too old and too young to the ears, this is it. It has the Western pop vibe that Miley Cyrus is known for—at least in the early part of her career.
What makes this awesome, though? It seems to capture the spirit of any fun ride with friends and family (or alone if you enjoy that too). Sometimes the best trips are those that are not planned or don’t have solid goals in mind. All you want to do is, well, have some fun and party!
3. Don’t Stop Me Now by Queen
A road trip in Utah won’t probably be complete without listening to the happiest song in the world. Hear the legendary Queen telling you to just have a grand time without the care in the world.
This uptempo song can also keep your heart rate up, so you’re less likely to fall asleep and miss out on the beautiful scenes, especially when you pass through Route 12.
4. Hit Me, Baby, One More Time by Britney Spears
Remember when the teenage Britney Spears couldn’t wait for the school bell to ring, get out of the classroom, and then do just whatever she wanted with her friends? Yeah, that’s probably how you’re feeling too after almost a year of being stuck in your home because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
To celebrate the freedom you’re getting for this summer this year, crank up the volume and sing with Britney as she says, “Hit me, baby, one more time!”
5. As Long as You Love Me by Backstreet Boys
If your definition of an amazing road trip in Utah is doing it with someone you love, you probably want some tunes that say how much they mean to you without being too cheesy about it. Don’t worry, Backstreet Boys has got you covered.
“As Long as You Love Me” is a danceable song that will make your heads bob while holding hands and probably taking the Mirror Lake Scenic Byway. But underneath the poppy beat is a message that you accept the person warts and all and that, at the end of the day, it’s their love that matters.
6. Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go by Wham!
There’s too much controversy about this song, but we like to lean on the story that Andrew Ridgeley George Michael’s just complaining about a girl he liked who ended up dancing with somebody else while he snoozed.
That surely is a bummer, but the song’s energetic pop and uptempo can certainly match the speed of the car. It has the fifties and sixties vibe with a hint of the lively music culture of the eighties too, and you can’t get any better combo than that.
7. Sweet Home Alabama by Lynyrd Skynyrd
You may be wondering why singing about Alabama makes sense in Utah. Well, guess what, the song’s actually written in Florida. The bottom line is the guitar riffs and the Southern rock are enough for you to like it whichever state you’re in.
And while the lyrics also talk about a road trip—blue skies, nice cozy home, and travel back to where someone belongs—it may also have a deeper meaning about humanity: just because others are bad doesn’t mean all of them are.
Sure, you can already download or create a playlist of these songs on your Spotify, but nothing really captures the essence of these classics than to hear them straight from an old-fashioned stereo. So get one ready now to elevate your Utah road trip this summer.