Two words come to mind when summer rolls in: road trips.
Road trips are only as good as the company and the destination. Sure, snacks are a nice bonus, but another thing that makes the long drive more enjoyable is the playlist you blast when you're going full speed on an empty highway, or carefully navigating that zig-zag road with your friends. You've already got the gang's faves and staples, but a few new songs can liven the mood and open doors to new music. If you're in charge of the tunes for the next drive out, we've got a few suggestions.
These 10 new songs will brighten up your next road trip:
1. "Physical" by Dua Lipa
Synths? Yes. Claps? Yes. And a fun dance beat? You bet! "Physical" from Dua Lipa starts off low and builds up to an energizing chorus that'll make you want to dance—in your seat, at least. You'll be singing along to every word, but the bridge is the perfect part to encourage everyone in the car to sing along and clap their hands. If Dua Lipa tells you to get physical, you should! Just take a few cues from her music video.
2. "Know Your Worth" by Khalid
The heavy percussion on this Khalid track featuring Disclosure will have you bobbing your head whether you're the designated driver or you're the passenger. The addictive tune comes with an uplifting "know your worth" mantra and honestly, how could you disagree? It's a fun, upbeat track that'll make that long drive less of a hassle and more of an adventure.
3. "Stupid Love" by Lady Gaga
It's been four years since Lady Gaga released her own music, and the Mother Monster is back with her signature disco-pop sound with powerful vocals to match. Gaga knows how to whip up a fun pop track and "Stupid Love" is no exception. The synth-heavy tune borrows heavily from disco and you might not be able to enjoy this track as much if you're driving, but we guarantee a full party (complete with improvised dance moves) if you're riding in the backseat!
4. "Friends" by BTS
Do your friends a favor and play this song during your next road trip. You might not understand the words, but the lighthearted track is easily a feel-good bop you and your squad can hum along to. The guitars and drums will remind you of jam sessions in your youth—we recommend putting this on as the sun sets on your drive. Fun fact: BTS members Jimin and V worked together to create this track.
5. "Tattoos Together" by Lauv
Count on Lauv to give you the perfect background music for a good time. The song starts with a simple bass and finger snaps that leads to a chill and mellow chorus that will perfectly complement your cruise down a long and winding path. It's painfully simple and yet refreshing, just like good company and a much-needed road trip. The song is part of his 2020 album ~how i'm feeling~, which includes collabs with BTS, Anne-Marie, Alessia Cara, Sofia Reyes, Troye Sivan, and LANY.
6. "Say So" by Doja Cat
It's practically impossible to not hear this song wherever you go, but there's no denying that this viral track is so easy to listen to. The funky guitars and Doja Cat's airy vocals contrast nicely against her badass rap verses—there's something about this song that just makes you want to roll down the windows and feel the wind in your hair. This song was originally released in 2019, but because of its popularity on social media platform Tik Tok, Doja Cat released a music video in 2020, using moves from the popular dance challenge.
7. "Finally/beautiful stranger" by Halsey
After a few rounds of dancing and dramatically singing along to more hype songs, take the time to sit back, relax, and enjoy the drive ahead. Give yourself a breather with this soothing track from Halsey. You would think a striking track needs a lot of elements, but the guitar riffs and her clean vocals make for a ditty that's just as powerful. If you're the type of person to play a song in your head when you lean your head on the window, this song will easily make you feel like you're in your own laid-back music video.
8. "Old Me" by 5 Seconds of Summer
Slowly raise the energy again with this song from Australian band 5 Seconds of Summer. It might not have you grooving in your seat, but it will have you riding the tune in no time. Aside from being a relaxing bop, it's also your cue to thank your past self for helping you get this far. Even the boys of 5SOS took the time to revisit their past—the single's cover art is made up of old photos from their youth.
9. "The Steps" by HAIM
Easygoing and breezy, this track would fit right into your road-trip playlist. The plucked guitars and the echo of drums are a nice base to the vocals of the three HAIM sisters. The song's a little rough around the edges, but it's a lovable track that's just the right amount of lived-in. We recommend blasting this as you're going through a trafficless highway for maximum enjoyment. Can't get enough of HAIM? They're set to release an album this year called Women in Music Pt. III.
10. "Borderline" by Tame Impala
This funky track from band Tame Impala will transport you to an era full of grooves and moves. It sounds way happier and more upbeat than their other tracks (The Less I Know the Better comes to mind), but it's a welcome deviation from their usual. Synths and distorted organs rule the track, making for a trippy and easy listen. The warped vocals are a nice alternative to the usual auto-tuning, and while the roads you take may look and feel familiar, this song could make it feel like a new experience all over again.