In honor of the entire staff of What’s Up Smiley going to New York City for the weekend (which thankfully is only 1 person since the BoltBus was sold out), here are my Top 10 Songs for a bus ride to New York. It’s hard to pick just 10 songs that encapsulate the many moods, the many shades, the many sides of a bus ride to the city. I happen to be rather experienced at riding buses to New York. If you count trips from Boston to New York, Middletown to New York, and DC to New York, I’ve easily taken more than 200 round trips to and from the city. Fung Wah (if they had a rewards program, I’d be George Clooney in Up in the Air), Lucky Star (stops at a Chinese fast food buffet somewhere in Connecticut, the smell of which ruins the whole experience for me), Peter Pan/Greyhound (one word: urine), DC2NY (they give you a free bottle of water and take a vote on whether to watch a shitty movie which is quite thoughtful), Megabus (love the upper deck), BoltBus (hipster classy), Apex Bus (don’t do it), New Century Bus (you may end up stranded in a body shop outside Philly), Eastern Bus (don’t think for a minute the Wi-Fi will actually work); you name it, I’ve suffered through it.
These rides are long, construction is constant, and the traffic up and down I-95 can be brutal, so you need a really good playlist. Songs that get you excited about going to visit your friends, eating all your favorite foods, songs that reflect the transcendent calm and reflection of the journey to the big city, nostalgia for past visits, anticipation for the weekend, the fleeting triumph of what’s to come.
Top 10 Songs for a Bus Ride to New York City
1. Someone Great, LCD Soundsystem
2. Fast Train, Solomon Burke
3. Lovely Day, Bill Withers
4. This Must Be The Place (Naive Melody), Talking Heads
5. Helpless, Neil Young (w/The Band and Joni Mitchell)
6. Four Women, Talib Kweli & Hi-Tek (Nina Simone cover)
7. Tangled Up In Blue, Bob Dylan
8. Oh! Sweet Nuthin’, Velvet Underground
9. Ashes of American Flags, Wilco
10. FNYC, Kelly McFarling
Please share YOUR Top 10 in the comments below! Imagine that all of the broken reading lights and the annoying person sitting next to you talking on their cell phone were instead giant speakers blasting music just for your listening pleasure. Yes, imagine you could hop on top of the roof of the BoltBus, lay on a lawn chair in the sun, and space out the entire four-and-a-half hours to NYC. What would YOU listen to?