1. "Better Days" by both Eddie Vedder and Amos Lee.
No, they didn't collaborate--but wouldn't that be amazing if they did?!--but both Amos Lee and Eddie Vedder have songs titled "Better Days" and both of them have seen some serious playtime, according to my iTunes count. I've linked to the Eddie Vedder version below. The first time I heard this song, I was in the middle of nowhere Wisconsin at a ranch house with some girlfriends. One girl popped in the Eat, Pray, Love soundtrack and I'm pretty sure the album was on repeat for the remainder of the weekend. This song makes me feel fiercely lonely and hopeful at the same time. And, true story, one line in this song inspired a story idea that is still percolating in the back of my head.
"Our future's paved with better days." This line resonates with my inner optimist.
2. "Bittersweet Symphony", The Verve
I've been a fan of this song for a number of years (holy crap--I've been out of high school how long?), but it carried an extra special meaning after my high school boyfriend suddenly passed away three years ago. He had been married four months; they hadn't even gone on their honeymoon. Knowing a young, vibrant life like his ended as a result of a "routine procedure" makes me incredibly sad. This song was played at his visitation. This one's for you, KVH.
3. The Beastie Boys
Really, I can't pick just one. My love for these guys goes back to Lollapalooza, 1994. Beastie Boys AND Smashing Pumpkins? Um, yes, please! A guy asked if I wanted to go--it wasn't until later that I realized he liked me. Here, I thought he was just offering me a ticket because he knew how much I loved the Beastie Boys. Yeah, I wasn't savvy when it came to boys. Anyway, if I had to pick only one Beasties album for a roadtrip, I'd stick to the oldie but goodie, Licensed to Ill. Brass Monkey, She's Crafty, or my fave, No Sleep Till Brooklyn. Intergalactic on the Hello Nasty album gets a very close honorable mention as well.