Some folks adore the charm of the highway. I find driving long distances an affront to my neuromusculoskeletal system and spend the whole time wishing a “Star Trek” transporter would appear in an adjacent cow field and beam us to the beach.

Music helps soothe the savage beast that is a multi-hour road trip, marking the miles in song-sized increments. But what I load onto my MP3 player for family vacations isn’t necessarily what I’d listen to if I were lone-wolfing it. A road trip needs easy anthems, epic sing-alongs that appeal to every prisoner in the vehicle — which is why Snow Patrol, above, was recently our sonic companion. The Irish/Scottish band’s sophomoric but surging songs sound fantastic when played loudly on Virginia’s Skyline Drive, dovetailing nicely with the emotional trigger provided by widescreen vistas.

I also thought the spacey jams of Iceland’s Sigur Ros would be the perfect nighttime soundtrack for the journey home. Alas, the inside of our car functions like a wind tunnel, and all of the music’s ambient details were obliterated. Road trips don’t reward subtlety.