There’s a 99% chance anyone who says they enjoy driving do so because it’s the only place you can cry and no one stops you to ask “Are you ok?” and sometimes you just want to drive between LA and Berkeley at night and cry your little fucking heart out. It’s ok. Punks have feelings too. But for that we need a nice soundtrack to get our pyramid-studded hearts in weepy mode. Every band you like probably cries to the sweet melancholy voice of John K. Samson in their tour vans but tell you they blast Hot Water Music or some other angry every-man American band. Truth is, Canadian’s are the real keepers of our emotions.
Samson and Co. are amazing at making you think about death. Others’ and your own. Which is something that should constantly be on your mind when taking a long-haul trip. Here we’re thinking about the faces in obituaries and who they were or might have been and if anyone will remember that. So make sure to tell your family which obituary picture you’d like. It’s your last chance at a memorable yearbook-style photo.
9. “Everything Must Go”
Besides corporeal mortality our Canadian heroes love to break our hearts with the death of a relationship. How about a yard sale to sell off any memory of someone? Fuckin’ bleak. Worse yet, it probably won’t work. So just keep that trinket your ex bought you or you’re going to sell a perfectly good unopened bottle of Curve cologne for too low a price.
You thought selling your past relationship in a yard sale was sad? How about your relatives scooping up all the shit you left behind because you’re dying and they wonder why you never left the only place you knew? Who’s going to take your Funko collection to their home and wonder why you cared more about that than living and dying in the only place you ever knew? Oof.
7. “A New Name For Everything”
How about some hopefulness with a side of misery? That’s pretty punk, right? If this line, “And the route you abandoned is always the path that you probably should be upon”, doesn’t make you slam on the brakes and bring traffic to a standstill because you might have taken it literally but also makes you wonder if you are on the right path then you don’t deserve to drive-and-cry.
6. “Left & Leaving”
Back to metaphorical death. Ever come back home and wonder if you’re a failure? Did you fail your last relationship, job, or other opportunity and it’s time to move back to the starting line? But this time with reminders of what once was with you and in your head? Shit, I hope you aren’t literally driving back home during this song.
5. “Sun In An Empty Room”
Throw this banger on if you’re pulling a UHaul and let the tears stain that questionable bench seat. How can a song about moving out of a physical place be sad? Because you’re also leaving an emotional place and now you’re questioning if the whole experience was worthwhile or if it was just a failed experiment. Tell your friends it’s also referencing an Edward Hopper painting and maybe they’ll help you load your next UHaul.
4. “Without Mythologies”
Breakups are sad. But now The Weakerthans go into overdrive and bluntly posit, “Well, what if the love of your life just straight up fucking dies?” Geez. Make sure to get some food and sit for a minute in your car to think about how you can experience as much as you can with your loved ones before they die.
3. “Plea From A Cat Named Virtute”
Here we go. If you’re a fan you know we’re entering some uncharted territory from The Weakerthans. What if your cat saw how much of a fucking disappointment you are? Even the cat feels bad for you. Maybe it’s a Canadian cat and they’re different but for an American cat to be disappointed in you? Your furry roommate wants to play but you’d rather drink and watch TV? That’s tragic, just like how much you’re spending on gas during this drive.
2. “Virtute the Cat Explains Her Departure”
You thought the cat feeling bad for you was sad? Shit, now the cat said “Peace out” and ran the fuck away because it saw a better future in traffic. After all the complaining the cat reminds us it did love its human. And by the end of the song the cat forgets its own name. Goddamn it, I can’t read the road signs through foggy glasses.
“1. Psalm For The Elks Lodge Last Call”
I know the cat ones are super downers but it’s a cat and as much as I can cry about a cat I can cry way more about my own mortality. Sure, we’re not all members of an elk’s lodge but it’s pretty much a club where you hang out with your friends and aren’t all our circle of friends just our own little elk’s lodge? But it feels like it poses the question, do you want your friends to remember you or do you want to be the last one? Excuse me while I pull over to this Love’s Truck Stop to bawl my fucking face off.