OAKLAND – A recent Journal of Musicology paper titled ‘Slow Rides and Fast Cars: The Sound of Reckless Driving’ concluded that there aren’t nearly as many popular songs about driving normally as there are about driving at extremely fast speeds.
“Hits advocating irresponsible driving span multiple genres. Songs about going fast evoke freedom and escape, while songs about driving slow can symbolize contemplation or smooth love-making,” said Tricia Burton, lead researcher on the study. “However, musicians don’t have much to say about going a cool 35 on the way to do some errands at the strip mall. That’s how I drive. It sort of makes me feel like I’m doing life wrong. I wonder why these singers aren’t worried about getting caught by the cops or endangering others on the road.”
Local folk singer Charlie Pena recently released a song about driving cautiously, but it didn’t catch on with his fanbase.
“A few years ago I wrote a tune called ‘Responsible Roadtrip’ about hitting the highway in a recently inspected vehicle with a full gas tank and a solid plan,” said Pena. “I thought that lyrics like ‘obeying the law/in my Nissan Sentra’ were relatable, but people didn’t find it compelling. Crowds would boo when I sang about respecting speed limits because it reminded them that society has us all trapped, and the freedom of the open road is an illusion. My mom liked the song, though. She told me she was proud of me then reminded me to renew my AAA membership.”
Car mechanic Jeff Perkins weighed in on how songs about extreme driving affect vehicle performance.
“You would think that the biggest reason behind unplanned car repairs is owners neglecting maintenance, but 90% of parts failures are attributable to Charli XCX songs about driving like a maniac,” said Perkins while inspecting a completely totaled Chevrolet. “These tunes are good for business. If you want to drive so fast your tires catch on fire, we’ve got a special going where installation is included with purchase of new ones. But also, going way below the speed limit on short trips is bad for your engine, so if you’re always vibing to ‘Slow Ride’ then I recommend changing your oil every 1,000 miles.”
At press time, Burton also realized that there aren’t very many songs about getting a healthy amount of sleep.