Moving quickly on land has always been more than a means to an end for Mankind: it’s been an obsession. Sure, medieval methods weren’t always so exciting, and not likely to spawn a play titled “Ye Moderately-Paced and Incensed” starring Vienna Diesel. But the combustion engine not only made speedy movement accessible to all, it also made it exciting. What better than film music to accompany such an endeavor? As technology improved and gradually replaced whole orchestras crowding the back seat, portable recordings made driving soundtracks possible, from 8-track tapes to iPods.
Possible, but dangerous. Action music is not new, but it was reinvented in the 90s with the advent of Hans Zimmer and his Media Ventures cronies. Their action music always carries the danger and peril of minor key, it’s driven by powerful synth effects and of course a well-defined rhythm that doesn’t let up. Classic scores like The Rock, Crimson Tide and Speed are sure to make your insurance premium go up. Consume responsibly.
But driving doesn’t have to be all white-knuckled speeding and swerving. Could anyone digest the despising irony of being stuck in a traffic jam while listening to this? Sometimes, to alleviate road rage, the best driving music is in fact something more like The Spitfire Grill.
But regardless of what you pick, another problem quickly arises: unless your ride is the quietest limo or perhaps Air Force One, a steady and even film music listening experience in a car is just about impossible. That’s because film music has spikes and dips. Even full-throated tracks like that Crimson Tide clip above has quiet moody moments that are sure to be lost in the ambient noise of driving. If you crank up your volume to 11 to hear it, be prepared to jump through the sunroof when the action kicks in.
So driving with film music is an imperfect science but the potential is there. As long as scores like this are avoided.