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Husband's Road Trip Playlists Are a Labor of Love [Unscripted column] | Entertainment

Husband's Road Trip Playlists Are a Labor of Love [Unscripted column] |  Entertainment
Husband's Road Trip Playlists Are a Labor of Love [Unscripted column] |  Entertainment


I take great pride in being the partner in my relationship who is the planner, especially for road trips.

Whether it's sunscreen, snacks, or safety pins, I'm usually the one who puts it in the bag. But there's one thing I always loosen my grip on in Control Freak, and that's essential to any good trip: the playlist.

My husband, who I give about three more seconds before he turns beet red reading this, is a master of the trade. I know this skill dates back to high school, when he spent countless hours stringing together songs for his friends on burned mix CDs. These friends told me they always cherished the mixes he made for birthdays and beyond.

Before a recent weeklong vacation that took us to two New Jersey beaches and the Catskills, my man chose no fewer than 260 songs spread across two playlists, totaling about 14 hours of music. It was a labor of love, with a mix of recently released music (Charli XCX, St. Vincent) and songs that fit the vibe perfectly (Beach Boys, Bruce Springsteen).

The best part, though, is hyper-specific Easter eggs for its audience of a me. There was Southern Nights by Glen Campbell, a song I can't stop singing. It also included Such a Night by Dr. John, which, without fail, makes me burst out laughing within seconds and always inspires bad impressions of the bluesman. (Hey, like the song says, if I don't do it, you know someone else will.)

But the beach vacation playlist is more than just a way to flatter a woman. It’s also a time capsule of our collective musical moment. My husband rightly described it as the halfway checkpoint of the musical year, since we always take a trip to the shore in June.

It also captures artists we've seen or will see in concert this year, like Bob Dylan and Dinosaur Jr. (Not together, but I wish.) There were also several songs from Monsters of Folk, a supergroup whose music we share. 'love and whose disc was reissued. was waiting for our ears when we returned from the beach.

Now, before we go any further: I can feel Generation X seething as I read this, and I fully recognize the fact that my husband and I are both too young to have had the true mixtape experience. This required a different level of commitment: waiting for a song to come on the radio to record it in its entirety for your listener.

But hey, we went through the trenches in our own way. You haven't known fear until you've been burned by a hot laptop whose CD drive is working overtime, humming as loudly as a vacuum cleaner.

Although I appreciate the ease of the digital age, there is something I miss about these physical CDs, which should be protected to preserve this gift that someone designed for you.

I still have the first CD that my husband made me, for my 20th birthday, when we were just friends while they were students. The ghosts of my past boyfriends had already thrown CDs at me; some introduced me to great artists (Rufus Wainwright) and others barely played (sorry to my EDM loving ex.) But this was different.

Scrawled in his chicken scrawl, my guy's birthday blessing was titled A Day in the Life, an obvious nod to the Beatles. It started slowly and picked up the pace in the middle before returning to calm, much like the ebb and flow of our time spent awake each day.

It wasn't just a pile of songs that someone wanted me to listen to. It was a narrative.

The Beach soundtrack, while more of a meandering tale, is no different. And wherever our shared story takes us next, I'm sure I'll keep singing.

Jenelle Janci is LNP | Life and Culture Team Leader of LancasterOnlines. Unscripted is a weekly entertainment column produced by a rotating team of writers.




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