I recently had a friend reach out to me, asking for 'some fresh tunes to fuel an 18-hour drive over the next few days.' I am no stranger to the drive from Cali to Colorado, and I know that endless stretch of Mojave, my friend. 

There are a few emotional stages of road tripping. This playlist of 'hit the road' songs and desert anthems is going to be your co-pilot through all of them.

ThinkStock Photos

Phase One: You're pumped. It's just you, snacks, fuel and the open road. Enjoy the elation for about 150 miles.

After a few hours, you begin to come down from your high, and road trip remorse kicks in; Phase Two.

'OK. I've been driving for three hours, so I just have to do this six more times and I'm there. Six times... oh, crap, why didn't I buy a plane ticket?'

In Phase Three, things start to turn around as you head forward. You realize the desert around you. You can't get views like this at cruising altitude, and you begin to appreciate the beauty in your desolate surroundings.

However, as your car's fuel runs low, Phase Four begins; Completely rational road trip fear.

'Do I stop at that gas station that looks like it was abandoned during the Cold War?' 

Just as you're about to opt for the next stop you find, you see the 'No Service for 100 Miles' sign. You need something, anything, to distract you from those recurring thoughts you're having about The Hills Have Eyes.

'That movie isn't real. Nuclear testing didn't really happen here.  Oh... wait.' 

As you fuel up and leave in that seedy gas station in the dust, you feel a new-found appreciation for life. You hit the road again, needing an emotional boost to keep morale high during your next stretch.

In the final phase, your barren surroundings have become a bore. The radio is static as different shades of beige and brown blur past your window, and you begin to question leaving the West Coast. Just as you start to long for the Golden State, you see the the purple snow-capped peaks in the distance. You see the Rocky Mountains. You've made it.

Welcome to Colorful Colorado.


  • Lord Huron - Fool for Love

  • The Head and the Heart - Shake

  • Langhorne Slim and the Law - Strangers

  • First Aid Kit - Silver Lining

  • Lana Del Rey - Ride

  • In the Valley Below - Stand Up

  • Silversun Pickups - Nightlight

  • Wolf Alice - Moaning Lisa Smile

  • The War on Drugs - Red Eyes

  • Catfish & the Bottlemen - Kathleen

  • The Kooks - Bad Habit

  • Joywave - Now

  • BØRNS - Electric Love

  • CHVRVCHES - Leave a Trace

  • Alvvays - Adult Diversion

  • Ether Teeth - Memory Leak

  • Slow Caves - Saturn (Local Band)

    Sure the vid is all Cali, but the band is all Fort Collins.

  • Foals - Mountain at My Gates