It’s turning into a good transport and culture week. There’s the postcard art exhibition, for a start, and British electropop singer/songwriter Little Boots announced her new album on Monday (25 February 2013), with the release of the first track Motorway. It’s surely destined to be one of the most significant songs on the subject since Kraftwerk released Autobahn in 1974/75 (depending whether you’re referring to the album or the single). Perhaps unsurprisingly, songs about motorways don’t come along very often.
It’s in that tradition of road-as-escape-route songs. She’s looking for her perfect place, seeking a new life and a new plan, leaving behind a small town and friends who have their own lives and preoccupations. She asking someone to join her and drive today (though we don’t find out who, or whether they even join her at all).
It’s a lovely track, but slightly mournful at the same time – I’m not convinced her heart is really in this plan.
Motorway is a night song (not surprising given that the album from which it comes is called Nocturnes), with Little Boots driving past neon lights and towns she doesn’t know as she heads for the unknown (I place get credit on people who don’t use Sat Navs – terrible things). It’s “Getting late,” she admits, and “coffee’s cold / Heavy eyes on the road / We won’t stop, no we won’t brake”. Now that’s just verging on the dangerous, as is her suggestion that “We won’t look back / So don’t look back”. That’s what rear-view mirrors are for. Though she might mean not mean it literally.
You can hear Motorway at Little Boots’ website, where she’s even allowing people to download it legally, for free. The album’s out in May this year.
One thought on “Sing When You’re Driving (“Motorway” by Little Boots)”
I knew I was going to get into trouble suggesting that Motorway was going to be one of the most significant motorway songs since Autobahn. The most startling omission to which my attention has been drawn is 2-4-6-8 Motorway by the Tom Robinson Band, released 1977. Whoops. Someone else suggested The Smiths’ Is It Really So Strange? but I don’t think that’s really about motorways, despite the fact that Morrissey loses his bag in Newport Pagnell (we assume the service station, not the town).