Driving Herr Baron

A lot of folks these days are offering up opinion and analysis on this year’s presidential campaign.  Romney should do this.  Romney needs to respond to that.  Feh!  It’s way to early for fretting over campaign minutia.  The only people watching are the fanatics.  It’s like worrying what play the Cowboys are going to run in the third quarter in December.  Sure, you want the coaches thinking about it in the abstract right now but the players haven’t even reported to camp yet.

What I’m saying is voters haven’t even turned on the pregame show.  They’re thinking about other stuff.  One of the loal radio stations mentioned Auto Trader’s list of Top 10 Driving songs.  That’s right, kids, another of the Baron’s patented pop culture pick rebuttal columns.  I’m bored with politicin’ and it’s too dang hot.

You can check Auto Trader’s Top 10 in Youtube form.  In ascending order of driving awesomeness the Auto Trader pick and my choice.

10. Auto Trader pick:  Satisfaction – Rolling Stones

Baron’s pick: Satisfaction – Rolling Stones

I’m choosing the same song but for what I’m sure is an entirely different reason.  Any list of driving songs must include at least one selection from the Rolling Stones.  Their fifty year library of work spans the era when music and driving became intertwined in our culture.  In my mind Satisfaction is indelibly linked to Schwarzeneggar blasting a cassette tape of it in a convertible Buick as he wreaks careening, impossible destruction through the gravel pit before impacting an earth mover at full throttle.  So Satisfaction wins by a nose over Sympathy for the Devil.

9.  Auto Trader pick:  Heard It Through The Grapevine – Marvin Gaye

Baron’s pick:  Maybellene – Chuck Berry

I’ve got nothing against Marvin Gaye but never got the hoohaw over Heard It Through the Grapevine.  Maybe the California Raisins ruint it for me.  Either way, Chuck Berry’s lament to a cheatin’ woman named Maybellene has all the elements of a classic driving tune.  We’re only left to wonder what transpired once his V8 Ford ran down that Cadillac.  Was he stunned to find Marvin Gaye driving it?  Was Chuck the guy Marvin heard about through the grapevine?  Best part of the video – most of the Brits in the audience had probably never seen a live black person before and out walks Chuck Berry to kick their arses.  Witness the proverbial British stiff upper lip at its finest.

8.  Auto Trader pick:  Rolling in the Deep – Adele

Baron’s pick:  Too Many Creeps – Bush Tetras

I think I’ve heard one Adele song in my life and there’s no way she’s going on any Top 10 anything.  It’s gotta have something to do with the UK at the end of Auto Trader.  Well if we’re going to start bandying about affirmative action picks I’m going with the Bush Tetras.  This is a funky little tune that encapsulates the angst we all feel about sharing the road with a bunch of creeps.

7.  Auto Trader pick:  Born in the U.S.A – Bruce Springsteen

Baron’s pick:  American Pie – Don McLean

I could never be Governor of New Jersey because Bruce Springsteen is fingernails on a blackboard to me.  Funny, most folks probably don’t think of Springsteen as a Love Him/Hate Him artist.  I know some people think he’s the best.  I’ll take a pass on Bruce and go with American Pie.  Drivin’ Chevys to levees while drinking whiskey and rye.  Don McLean’s epic ode to Buddy Holly always has everyone in the car singing along.  If there are radio controls on your steering wheel you can bust them time and again with the mute button.

6.  Auto Trader pick:  All Right Now – Free

Baron’s pick:  Night Prowler – AC/DC

Free is actually a pretty good choice.  They were a bunch of 16 year old punks and rocked like doomed teenagers on bath salts barreling down the highway at breakneck speed in a ’72 Camaro.  I really dig AC/DC, though, and by AC/DC I of course mean the stuff they did with Bon Scott.  AC/DC after Bon Scott died is like Charlie’s Angels after Farrah left.  It serviceably fills its niche but it’s just not the same.  Night Prowler uses a different beat structure than every other AC/DC song that gives it a very dark vibe.  The last cut on Bon’s last album is his finest work.

5.  Auto Trader pick:  Go Your Own Way – Fleetwood Mac

Baron’s pick:  Bye Bye Love – The Cars

Okay, now they’re just screwing with me.  All I can figure is that the Internet generation has no recollection of actually dropping coin on an Auto Trader magazine at the corner store so they’re deliberately targeting the boomer generation who does.  It’s a travesty to only have one Cars song on this list because their eponymous first album (aka the Cars greatest hits) and Candy-O might both make my Top 10 driving album list.  Bye Bye Love is a great example of the Cars unique blend of new wave synthesizer and tight rock riffs.

4.  Auto Trader pick:  Good Vibrations – The Beach Boys

Baron’s pick:  Texas Flood – Stevie Ray Vaughan

Car culture was a huge part of the California surf scene embodied by The Beach Boys.  Funny how times change.  California was the epicenter of hot rodding and racing in the days after WWII.  Progressive politicians killed that baby in the crib.  What, they’re gonna race electric cars from windmill to windmill and see who can charge up the fastest?  Hot rod culture has always been more subtle in Texas.  Stevie Ray’s behind-the-back guitar solos are the rock and roll equivalent of steering with your knees down the front stretch at Talladega because you need both hands to light a doobie.

3.  Auto Trader pick:  Another One Bites the Dust – Queen

Baron’s pick:  Trampled Underfoot – Led Zeppelin

I’m pretty sure this must be an Auto Trader UK thing because this is the first of two Queen songs they queue up on the list.  Another One Bites the Dust is certainly one of the most recognizable rock songs with its iconic bass line but otherwise it’s rather boring.  Trampled Underfoot refers to mashing the gas pedal in your hot rod.  It’s the song you want playing when the jackass going two miles under the limit in the left lane finally clears the U-Haul in the other lane and you have room to pass him on the right.

2.  Auto Trader pick:  We Will Rock You – Queen

Baron’s pick:  Roadrunner – Modern Lovers

There are songs that eventually become referred to as a Rock and Roll standard.  Every band has, at some point in time, covered a song to the point we’re left to argue whose version is the best.  Argue if you must, but the Modern Lovers did it first and best.  Some hear Roadrunner and immediately think Wile E. Coyote.  Others think garish Plymouth with a 440 Six Pack.  And the radio on.

1.  Auto Trader’s pick:  Sultans of Swing – Dire Straights

Baron’s pick:  Call Me the Breeze – Lynyrd Skynyrd

Let’s not focus on the lameness of Dire Straights and instead direct our attention to the utter perfection of Lynryd Skynyrd in the top spot.  Skynyrd hits all the right buttons here.  They call me The Breeze, I keep rollin’ down the road.  You’ve got your horn section, a piano solo, the dual axe attack, and rock solid rhythm section.  Just pray your radar detector is louder than the stereo when you close on John Q. Law with the tach needle kissing the red line.

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