Screeeechhh! Was that the sound of your brakes grinding to a halt? Nope. Unfortunately, that happened a long time ago. This screech was the sound of your sanity taking off, leaving you hanging in horrible gridlock with just boredom, desperation, and anger (a group that’s no laugh riot, to be sure).
Before falling back on your usual coping methods at the next standstill — futile GPS rerouting, distant staring, experimental telekinesis — there might be a much simpler portal to sweet serenity: music!
According to Psychology Today, out of all possible mental or physical exercises, listening to music has the most direct impact on mood. Good thing, since, as we know, traffic jams can really test our sunny dispositions.
Since Fridays just so happen to be the worst day for gridlock, here are some of the songs I like to listen to while staring into the belly of the traffic beast.
1. “I Believe I Can Fly,” R. Kelly
The first step toward attaining inner Zen, of course, is positive visualization. Or is it just a flat-out (though glorious) delusion? Either way, hit “Play,” leave your worries behind, and soar … soar!
2. Overture to “The Marriage of Figaro,” Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Mozart improves your overall happiness, says Psychology Today. And, coincidentally, the image of you feverishly “conducting” his work improves the happiness of adjacent drivers. Kudos, Maestro.
3. “Stuck in the Middle with You,” Stealers Wheel
You’re stuck all right. And the nose picker on your right (yeah, buddy, everyone can see you) is certainly a joker.
4. “Electric Avenue,” Eddy Grant
If this doesn’t get you bobbing your head, tapping your foot, and releasing your stress … maybe it will at least work as an alternate route?
5. “Moonlight Mile,” The Rolling Stones
Hopefully you can get out of this mess before the sun goes down. We’re just saying, if day turns to night and it’s still bumper-to-bumper, the bluesy vocals and serene, snail-paced guitar on this cut will help you make the transition without howling in anguish.
6. “Somebody’s Watching Me,” Rockwell
It won’t get that goofy kid to stop gawking at you from the back of his parents’ station wagon. But it will describe it.
7. “The Best Is Yet to Come,” Frank Sinatra
C’mon, let’s hear it: “We’re about to start moving … we’re about to start moving … we’re about to start moving …”
8. “Don’t Stop Believing,” Journey
Well, maybe there’s still hope after all. And even if you haven’t reached your exit by now, this sing-along favorite will at least give you something to do as you wait. Bring it on, rush hour! Air guitars ahoy!
You’ve made it! You’re hungry, you’re tired, and your left leg has fallen asleep, but you’ve been unlocked from gridlock and you’re finally home. You deserve a victory anthem.
9. “We Are the Champions,” Queen
Does this one really need an explanation? You’ve slayed the dragon. You are the champion. “We Will Rock You,” also by Queen, suffices as a good alternate since you totally rocked it. (Additionally, this song works in trying situations, like waiting in line at the bank or working the Sunday Sudoku.)
Now, despite your best (and most melodic) efforts to improve traffic, sometimes frustration gets the better of people. To find out how anger on the asphalt can impact car insurance, and to learn ways to stay safe if things ever get heated, check out our insight about road rage.
What’s your traffic tune?
Have a song you particularly like to jam to during rush hour? Leave a comment and spread the word!