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We gotta get out of this place

if it's the last thing we ever do

A song about life on the road. Frequently this will be about a young person running away from home, and seeking a better life somewhere else. Anywhere else. This often results from Small Town Boredom, and the belief that life on the road is more romantic.

Related to the "Somewhere" Song, which is about a specific place where the grass is believed to be greener, and to the "I Want" Song. See also The Runaway and Walking the Earth.

Examples:


Titled "Wanderlust"

Other Names

Alternative Rock

  • "The Taste of Ink" by The Used
  • "The World at Large" by Modest Mouse
  • "Dorothy Dreams of Tornados" by Cursive
  • "Naveed" by Our Lady Peace

Blues

  • "Boogie Chillen" by John Lee Hooker

Blues-Rock

Classical

  • "Das Wandern" from Franz Schubert's song cycle Die schöne Müllerin (The Pretty Milleress).
  • Emmanuel Geibel and Justus Wilhelm Lyra's "Der Mai ist gekommen". This is a very popular genre in Germany.
  • Ralph Vaughan Williams' "The Vagabond" from Songs of Travel, (text by Robert Louis Stephenson)* Giancarlo Menotti's "When the air sings of summer I must wander again," from The Old Maid and the Thief
  • "Slim's Song" from Benjamin Britten's Paul Bunyan (text by W.H. Auden)

Country

  • "King of the Road" by Roger Miller
  • "On the Road Again" by Willie Nelson.

Electropop

  • "Moving On" by Ryuichi Sakamoto, on the album Sweet Revenge',' is a particularly poignant example

Folk

  • Tom Paxton's "Can't Help But Wonder Where I'm Bound" is a song about how wanderlust isn't such a good idea after all: the narrator is lonely and lost constantly traveling. It ends:

 "If you see me passing by, and you sit and wonder why,

And you wish that you were a rambler too,

Nail your shoes to the kitchen floor, lace 'em up and bar the door

And thank the stars for the roof that's over you"

  • "The Greatest Adventure" by Glenn Yarborough. It's the song that plays at the beginning of the 1977 film of The Hobbit.
  • "Fast Car" by Tracy Chapman.

 You got a fast car,

Is it fast enough so we can fly away? We gotta make a decision;

Leave tonight, or live and die this way?

Folk Metal

  • "Journey Man" by Korpiklaani.
  • "The Road Goes Ever On" by Wuthering Heights

Folk Rock

Gypsy Punk

  • "Sally" by Gogol Bordello

Hard Rock

 Stone free, to do what I please,

Stone free to ride the breeze,

Stone free, I can't stay,

I've got to, got to, got to get away

  • Cold Chisel's "Bow River" and "Houndog"
  • "Bat Out Of Hell" by Meat Loaf. It arguably deconstructs the trope, given that the protaganist gets so caught up in the act of getting the hell out of dodge that he ends up wrecking his motorcycle and dying.

Heavy Metal

Indie Rock

Melodic Hardcore

New Wave

  • "Screaming Skin", by Blondie. "Following my lust for wander everywhere I've never been, I can't escape from the sound of it--the sound of my screaming skin."

Pop

  • The Russian pop song "Zelenoglazoe taksi" ("Green-Eyed Taxi") by Mikhail Boyarsky is about wanting to leave one's home life and go somewhere far away.

Pop Punk

Pop Rock

Punk Rock

  • "Wayfarer" by Hot Water Music.
  • "Night Train" by Bouncing Souls.
  • The ending of two songs on Green Day's American Idiot have this: "Jesus of Suburbia" and "Letterbomb".

Rock

 "Just a small town girl, livin' in a lonely world,

She took the midnight train goin' anywhere"

 "Sally, take my hand

We'll travel south, 'cross land

Put out the fire, and don't look past my shoulder."

    • "Goin' Mobile" is another one:

 "Out in the woods or in the city

It's all the same to me

When I'm driving free, the world's my home."

 "We got to get out while we're young

Because tramps like us, baby we were born to run"

Roots Rock

Southern Rock

Swing Revival

  • "Wolftown Blues" by the Deluxtone Rockets.

 Small town blues, can't wait to get away.

Leaving this town ain't no mistake.

Jump the first rail I got the money to pay.

On and on, ride these blues away.

Examples in other Media

Anime and Manga

  • Quite a few of the songs associated with One Piece have this theme, since the series is all about sailing the seas in search of adventure.
  • The opening of the first season of Spice and Wolf, "Tabi no Tochuu" ("On a Journey") is half Wanderlust Song, half love ballad. Quite fitting for the series.

Film

  • Spoofed with the song "Never Did No Wanderin'" from A Mighty Wind.
  • "Movin' Right Along" from The Muppet Movie.
  • "The Road Goes Ever On" from The Lord of the Rings starts out as a Wanderlust Song, but ends as a "No Place Like Home"-type song.
  • The Russian film Pro krasnuju Shapochku (about Red Riding Hood) features the "Road Song", stating "If you go a road long enough you can get to Afica" and so on.
  • "Wandering Star" from Paint Your Wagon.

Literature

Live-Action TV

Theatre

 "And one day, I'm hoppin' to JFK, and I'm gonna fly!

It won't be long now, any day."

 "At this point in the play, we were planning a show tune

An upbeat 'gotta leave this town' kind of show tune

But we don't know how to write those kinds of tunes"

    • During "Passing Phase," which doubles as a Rockstar Song, the main character Youth sings about his plans to "live in vans crammed with guitars / I'll sleep on floors and play in bars / I'll dance to my own metronome / Until chaos feels like home."
  • "Fortune Favors the Brave" from Aida features the male lead and his shipmates singing about how much they love exploring. Later, "Enchantment Passing Through" finds the two leads sharing their desires to escape their inescapable lives.
  • "Corner Of The Sky" from Pippin functions as one, given that "ramble", "fly" and "run free" are key words in its refrain, and its end-of-the-scene reprises at times when Pippin wants to be somewhere else.
  • The beginning of "Put On Your Sunday Clothes" from "Hello Dolly" (also used as the opening tune to WALL-E). Or it could be a "Somewhere" Song about New York.

 "Out there,

There's a world outside of Yonkers

Way out there beyond this hick town, Barnaby...

There's a slick town, Barnaby!"

  • "Joey, Joey, Joey" from The Most Happy Fella.
  • "Any Place I Hang My Hat Is Home" from St. Louis Woman.

Western Animation

 "I want much more than this provincial life!

I want adventure in the great wide somewhere!

I want it more than I can tell!"

Poetry

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