Wild Child West Playlist: A Soundtrack For Getting Free

I made the playlist on my laptop over a year ago. I called it “i am gonna do this.”

It was a list of about twenty songs that grew into a list of about a hundred songs that encompassed all the feelings in my tiny heart about getting free, running away, doing the stupid and impossible things that don’t make sense, and figuring it out from there. I promised myself I would listen to it every day, like a musical version of that daily affirmations things that people tell you makes your life better.

And then I did. And it drove me (a little) crazy. It made me restless, and it made me brave, and it made me a dreamer.

These are the songs that reminded me what I was made of and what I wanted to be and do and see and feel and how afraid I was not so much of failing, but of not trying. These are the songs that reminded me of how it was to feel infinite like when I was 21 and every night stretched into twilight and every day started in a cloud of smoke.

I am gonna do this. This playlist makes me sure of it.

Playlist: I Am Gonna Do This

Baba O’Riley – The Who
The Glory – Kanye West
Happy – C2C; Derek Martin
Complexion (A Zulu Love) – Kendrick Lamar; Rapsody
Shut In – Strand of Oaks
Banshee Beat – Animal Collective
Luna – Bombay Bicycle Club
Not Going Home – The Elected
Setting Forth – Eddie Vedder
Graceland – Paul Simon
Everyone – Van Morrison
Ramble On – Led Zeppelin
Sitting – Cat Stevens
Only In Your Heart – America
I Want to Break Free – Queen
Brave – Sara Bareilles
The Recipe – Kendrick Lamar; Dr. Dre
We Ain’t Them – D. Glover
Learning To Fly – Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers
The Suburbs – Arcade Fire
Humiliation – The National
Besides – Gui Boratto
Bed Peace – Jhene Aiko; Childish Gambino
Distant Sures – The Cave Singers
Red Eyes – The War On Drugs
Chandelier – Sia
Run Away With Me – Carly Rae Jepsen
Champagne Coast – Blood Orange
Always Like This – Bombay Bicycle Club
Free Fallin’ – Tom Petty
Somewhere Only We Know – Keane
The Wanderer – Bonus Track – U2; The Edge; Johnny Cash
Big Jet Plane – Angus & Julia Stone
Cotton – The Mountain Goats
Some Nights – fun.
Thank You – Alanis Morissette
Blue Moon – Beck
We Are All Made Of Stars – Moby
Hard Sun – Eddie Vedder
Highwayman – The Highwaymen
Don’t Stop Me Now – Queen
Hate It Or Love It (G-Unit Remix) – 50 Cent; The Game; Tony Yayo; Young Buck; Lloyd Banks
Till I Get There – Lupe Fiasco
Heart Of A Lion (Kid Cudi Theme Music) – Kid Cudi
Freedom – Nicki Minaj
Now & Forever – Drake
L.E.S. Artistes – Santigold
Now Or Never – The Roots; Phonte; Dice Raw
What I Got – Sublime
Don’t Stop – Fleetwood Mac
Learn to Fly – Foo Fighters
Pork And Beans – Weezer
Get Up And Go – Hanson
Open Road – Slightly Stoopid
Desert Song – Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros
Coast to Coast – Elliott Smith
Wet Sand – Red Hot Chili Peppers
Leaving Las Vegas – Sheryl Crow
Bitter Sweet Symphony – The Verve

Wild Child West is a mini-series about this thing I’m doing with my life wherein I quit my job so I could pursue my dreams and fulfill my intentions as written in my copy of The Desire Map in Los Angeles. I’m also posting live from the road using the hashtag #WildChildWest on Instagram and Twitter, so.

Before you go! Autostraddle runs on the reader support of our AF+ Members. If this article meant something to you today — if it informed you or made you smile or feel seen, will you consider joining AF and supporting the people who make this queer media site possible?

Join AF+!


Carmen spent six years at Autostraddle, ultimately serving as Straddleverse Director, Feminism Editor and Social Media Co-Director. She is now the Consulting Digital Editor at Ms. and writes regularly for DAME, the Women’s Media Center, the National Women’s History Museum and other prominent feminist platforms; her work has also been published in print and online by outlets like BuzzFeed, Bitch, Bust, CityLab, ElixHER, Feministing, Feminist Formations, GirlBoss, GrokNation, MEL, Mic and SIGNS, and she is a co-founder of Argot Magazine. You can find Carmen on Twitter, Instagram and Tumblr or in the drive-thru line at the nearest In-N-Out.

Carmen has written 919 articles for us.


  1. Oh man, some of my favorite songs are on here. I am planning 2 different road trips with my queer BFF, and this playlist looks perfect for that. Bonus points: “Graceland” by Paul Simon is her absolute favorite song of all time. Thanks for sharing the awesome, Carmen!

    • I LOVE ‘GRACELAND’ SO MUCH! it’s my #1 – it’s actually the song that began this playlist a long long time ago, so. i hope y’all listed to it and love it on the way, @lebraswell!

  2. Fun fact about the Tom Petty Free Fallin video. It was mostly shot at the mall close by to me(Westside Pavilion Mall), before it was redesigned. The movie theater at the mall has 21+ matinees where one can buy wine, or vodka coolers(like smirnoff ice) and drink it while watching a movie. They also have matiness where it’s couch seating(and only 20 people max). It’s a pretty good theater, and worth going to at least once, when you are out here.

  3. Is there supposed to be a streaming link? I really want to listen to this, but I can’t find it on 8tracks or Spotify.

  4. I really think I’d like listening to your iPod. So many good artists here!
    Other songs that come to mind when I think of journeying/freedom are Celeste (Ezra Vine), Stay on the ride (Patty Griffen), From Finner (Of Monsters and Men), and Life is Life (Noah and the Whale), and Nothing for Granted (Brendan James).

  5. this is an awesome road trip playlist!! i currently have no reason to road trip, but if I did, I’d do it listening to this.

  6. CARMEN. THIS PLAYLIST!!! I love you and I love this, thank you for giving us a soundtrack for dreamchasin’ and daydreamin’.

Comments are closed.