(Image Credits: Andrew Collins)

I’m not sure if I’ve plunged into some truly depraved tier of hipsterism or if I’m just still high off the fumes from Radwood 2, but this week I had an epiphany: cassette tapes are the best way to listen to music while driving.

Sitting in traffic, running to the grocery store, or anywhere in the midst of the banal chores you do in your car is not the time to test this theory. But when you’re focused, driving for pleasure, driving because you can and because it’s awesome and you are a freedom-loving asphalt-assaulting hero to your younger self... I’m telling you: tapes.


We live in an age of unprecedented demands on our attention. Pops and buzzes incessantly ring on our phones and computers, the same places we get our music. Between iTunes, Spotify and whichever is your app of choice, you can pretty much conjure any song you’ve ever heard of out of the air and onto your phone.

But that leaves you spoiled for choice. Another decision to make while you should be busy driving. It also forces you to fumble with your phone, which is a mood-breaker at best and a lethal driving distraction at worst.

CDs? You can still skip tracks, and you know you’re going to want to. Who needs ’em.


The radio is, of course, the ultimate passive source of driving music which requires the least possible effort. But it bombards you with commercials at the most heroic moments of your personal driving fantasies.

A tape plays what it wants. Or rather, it plays what you wanted when you recorded it or popped it in. But then it doesn’t take any shit. You’re not going to bother skipping songs on a tape, because that’s a pain in the ass. The music washes over you completely, because you don’t think about what you’d rather be listening to.


I drive to get around like everybody else. But I also drive for the sake of experiencing my car and seeing the world. In that mode, I want my connection to the internet to be severed and every scrap of distraction eliminated.

Except, of course, for my sweet, sweet soundtrack. And for that reason, I’m all about tapes now.


Reviews Editor, Jalopnik | 1975 International Scout, 1984 Nissan 300ZX, 1991 Suzuki GSXR, 1998 Mitsubishi Montero, 2005 Acura TL

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