Summer’s almost over and you still haven’t given that Mustang a nice cleaning. You and your car have places to go, whether it’s the lake, a barbecue, or just succumbing to the pull of the open road before summer is over. You both must look your best. So here are five sonic car-wash necessities to get the suds flowin’ and your motor runnin’.
5. Queen, “I’m in Love with My Car”
Let’s face it: Your ride deserves an owner like you. Thoughtful. Caring. Devoted to its happiness. It was fate that brought you together. Queen’s Roger Taylor understood this relationship in “I’m in Love with My Car.” “The machine of a dream, such a clean machine,” he purred in that blues-ragged voice, “with the pistons a-pumpin’, and the hubcaps all agleam.” Your car looks sharp when it’s smoothed immaculate, its grime blasted clear, washed toward oblivion. Brian May’s guitar doubles as the suds and those layered Queen harmonies bring this auto-erotica to a heavenly apex.
4. The Cars, “Moving in Stereo”
Pretty much anything by The Cars qualifies as car-washing music, as my own father would attest. But there’s something about “Stereo,” with Greg Hawkes’ intergalactic keys and Elliot Easton’s low guitar growl, that lends itself to a driveway summer scrub-down. It also stirs visions of a poolside Phoebe Cates in and out of a bikini top (“Fast Times,” indeed), a definite plus, and, um — sorry: what’s the topic, again?
3. Derek and the Dominos, “Layla”
While not technically about cars, soap, water, or Phoebe Cates in a red bikini, “Layla” works precisely for its two-part assault. The multiple threads of Eric Clapton/Duane Allman guitars (Allman on that screaming, got-me-on-mah-knees riff) serve as perfect accompaniment to the car-wash act itself, followed by the cool-down of Jim Gordon’s arresting piano coda — when the other instruments fall back in reverence, only to slowly slip in again — which complements the post-wash wax-sculpt as the car’s youthful vigor reveals itself for all the world to behold.
When you gaze into that water-mist rainbow as it settles upon your hood, what do you see? The outlines of cities that unfold to your roll as you and your car — your true-blue partner — rule the night together in your lady-killing primes. The soundtrack for this moment and other promised moments: Big Boi and Gucci Mane, their wicked flow cut with the croon and groove of Harold Melvin & the Blue Notes’ “I Miss You” (subtract the begging, multiply the smooth). With a night-life buzz reflected in your windshield, the town at your feet and under your wheels, nothing’s gonna block your shine.
1. Rose Royce, “Car Wash”
You knew this one was coming (it’s in the title, for God’s sake), but honestly, isn’t it a lot more fun and way more efficient to wash cars as a team, especially if they’re passing through one right after the other? Rose Royce establishes the importance of teamwork in the track’s opening seconds as a play on an old koan: More effective than one pair of hands clapping are many hands clapping, all for the greater good. In this case, it’s to provide a backbeat for a sleek, slick disco/soul/funk hybrid that, as the ’76 movie of the same name claimed, put “more dip in your hip, more glide in your stride.” Can’t say as much for Christina Aguilera’s 2004 rehash, a hunk of junk best left in the trunk.
Check Out More Music…