When Emily Hampton agreed to carpool back to her hometown for the holidays with roommate Alex Tucke, she had no idea they would spend the trip listening to the saddest ten-hour playlist ever committed to mp3.
“I mean, it just made sense for us to ride together,” said Emily, who has shared an apartment in Des Moines with Tucker for the last eight months. “My family lives in Columbus, Ohio and he’s from Dayton, so it’s basically on the way. I thought it would be a good way to save money on gas.”
But when Alex volunteered to put together a playlist for their drive, Hampton soon realized her terrible mistake.
Initially, Tucker was disappointed to learn that Hampton’s 2014 Honda Accord did not have an 8-track player. Planning for all contingencies, he also brought the mix on cassette and CD. He eventually settled for plugging his iPhone into the aux cord, noting that some of the bass tones on the Orville Peck songs might be muddled via mp3.
It started out innocently enough. The playlist included some Morrissey, Portishead, Bon Iver, and a couple of songs off the ‘Steven Universe’ soundtrack–typical sad bisexual stuff Alex plays around the apartment. But when the duo hit the Illinois state line, it became evident that he planned to play Sufjan Steven’s ‘Come On, Feel The Illinoise’ album in its entirety. “I mean, for God’s sake—it’s not even noon and we’re listening to Phoebe Bridgers? Take a Zoloft,” Emily sighed.
Alex paints a different picture and is certain Emily enjoyed his expertly curated playlist. Apparently at one point, she was so overcome with emotion while listening to the B side of Mitski’s debut album ‘Bury Me At Make Out Creek, she almost drove the car off a bridge.
“I think I’ll try to break the aux cord the next time we make a pit stop,” says Hampton. “I’ll say it got caught while I was trying to adjust my seat or something. Silence would be preferable to another Death Cab for Cutie song. Or maybe I’ll call my grandmother who has Alzheimer’s on speakerphone.”
The 650-mile road trip will span four states, two time zones, and dozens of musical genres from slowcore to post punk. Tucker even went as far as to add some of his partner’s spoken word poetry to the mix.
“I would give anything to hear ‘Country Grammar’ by Nelly right now, and I HATE that song,” Emily sighed wistfully.
If Emily survives this week’s road trip, she hopes to fly home for the holidays next year.