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Fascinated by the ride-sharing economy and great conversations with drivers across the country, I thought I’d try driving myself.  There’s only so much you can learn by asking someone. And in the case of driving for Uber, without driving you don’t see what it’s like with a variety of passengers, times, and “contexts” including in-between rides or damn-I-drove-too-far for that pickup and lost money on gas. And wouldn’t you know it! I fell in love with the on-demand anthropology, not to mention reducing drinking and driving* and discovering new music.

I started asking riders for their favorite song. Of course “favorite” is difficult for anyone to answer. “How about one from your top five?” Also difficult. Then “Hey, I collect songs, what can I play for you?” That’s the ticket, yielding the amazing Spotify playlist below. Perhaps one could call it “the true sound of St Louis” as you would be amazed that there have only been four repeat requests. No peer pressure when riding alone.

Driving has been a good lesson in stereotypes–some re-enforced, like the hacker who requested Black Tiger Sex Machine and said society isn’t ready for quantum computing–and some occasional, wonderful surprises that challenge those stereotypes. Urban youth with Beats brand headphones and baggy pants? Goo Goo Dolls. Suburban housewives? Anything sexy and misogynistic. If you aren’t easily offended, have a look at the lyrics for Choices (yup) by E-40 and imagine yourself driving a car full of attractive well-heeled women singing along.

So here you go, the DJ Uber STL playlist, one song per rider in the order they were requested. (The playlist is public but I haven’t been driving since coming out to the Bay Area, so it won’t be updated for awhile.)

Undone the bird and the bee
Till I Collapse Eminem Nate Dogg
Love Yourself Justin Bieber
Cookie Thumper! Die Antwoord
Cissy Strut The Meters
Sleepless – Shlohmo Remix Flume Jezzabell Doran
We Own It (Fast & Furious) 2 Chainz Wiz Khalifa
Renegades X Ambassadors
All That Matters Justin Bieber
Crystallize Lindsey Stirling
Shots – Broiler Remix Imagine Dragons Broiler
Zombie The Cranberries
Misfits Third Eye Blind
Jaded Aerosmith
Fusion Fun Pete Snell
Here Comes The Sun – Remastered The Beatles
Friday I’m In Love The Cure
She Will Be Loved Maroon 5
Where Are Ü Now Skrillex Diplo Justin Bieber
She Belongs to Me – Take 1, Solo Acoustic Bob Dylan
Tennessee Whiskey Chris Stapleton
Drink You Away Justin Timberlake
Just Ain’t Gonna Work Out Mayer Hawthorne
Keep in Touch Dogs On Acid
Bohemian Rhapsody Queen
Driver, Surprise Me The National
A Head Full Of Dreams Coldplay
Bang Bang Lawrence Taylor
Sirens The String Cheese Incident
Master Of Puppets Metallica
The Warrior’s Code Dropkick Murphys
Crazies feat. Husser – Original Mix Black Tiger Sex Machine Husser
N.Y. State of Mind Nas
Simple Man Lynyrd Skynyrd
American You Yelawolf
Everlong – Acoustic Version Foo Fighters
Shoop Salt-N-Pepa
My Way (feat. Monty) Fetty Wap Monty
Whatta Man Salt-N-Pepa En Vogue
The Remedy Puscifer
Only One Yellowcard
Force Ten – Live Rush Geddy Lee
Summer Sixteen Drake
Firework Katy Perry
Carry The Zero Built To Spill
Teach Your Children Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young
Chanson Pour L’Auvergnat Georges Brassens
Burning Love Elvis Presley
Choices (Yup) E-40
Schemin Up (feat. Drake and P. Reign) OB OBrien Drake P Reign
Nobody To Blame Chris Stapleton
Gimme Shelter The Rolling Stones
Ants Marching Dave Matthews Band
Don’t Stop Believin’ Journey
I And Love And You The Avett Brothers
Space Bound Eminem
Jumpman Drake Future
My Neighbor Is Happy Again Keller Williams
Ghostbusters Ray Parker, Jr.
Battle Axe – Live Quiet Riot
Leg Of Lamb Queens of the Stone Age
No Line On The Horizon U2
Liquid Swords GZA
This Song Tears Easily (Mi Tiro Su La Cerniera Mix Gigi D’Agostino
Chains – Audien Radio Edit Nick Jonas Audien
Chicken Fried Zac Brown Band
Beer Reel Big Fish
Budapest George Ezra
10,000 Emerald Pools BØRNS
Gangsta’s Paradise (feat. L.V.) Coolio L.V.
I’m So Excited The Pointer Sisters
Badge Eric Clapton Jon Astley Andy Macpherson
Sabbath Bloody Sabbath – Remastered Version Black Sabbath
Flight Of The Valkyries Richard Wagner Miguel Del Oro Orchestra
Maria Dave Brubeck
7 Years Lukas Graham
Sissyfuss Surprise Me Mr. Davis
Jai Ho! (You Are My Destiny) A.R. Rahman The Pussycat Dolls Nicole Scherzinger
Kal Ho Naa Ho (From Kal Ho Naa Ho”)” Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy Sonu Nigam
Summer Of ’69 Bryan Adams
Love Her Madly The Doors
Diamonds On The Water Enya
Sugar Maroon 5
You Make My Dreams – Remastered Daryl Hall & John Oates
Something To Believe In Bret Michaels
I Got A Car George Strait
Iris The Goo Goo Dolls
Astral Weeks – 2015 Remastered Van Morrison
Birmingham Shovels & Rope
Dhating Naach (From Phata Poster Nikhla Hero”)” Nakash Aziz Shefali Alvares Pritam
Radioactive Imagine Dragons
Sympathy For The Devil Motörhead
1Hunnid K CAMP Fetty Wap
Jolene Ray LaMontagne
On My Mind Ellie Goulding
Speak to Me Pink Floyd
Be Without You Mary J. Blige
Different Hos Blackbear
Vivrant Thing – Club Mix Q-Tip
You Were Right RÜFÜS DU SOL

 

* DUIs: A 2016 article says Uber doesn’t reduce deaths related to drunk driving. That might be true right now, but I suspect that won’t be the case in the coming years. Saint Louis is an alcohol town (thanks Anheuser-Busch) and very large geographically. If someone wants to go out drinking, there isn’t any public transit and everything is relatively far away–figure a good 20-minute drive. Generally speaking, my fares go to work, the airport or out to drink. I ask them, “what did you do before Uber?” To a tee they say the same thing: “The cabs are unreliable if you can get one, they stink, the drivers talk on the phone the whole time in a language I can’t understand, so I risk it.” Because of this I contend that over time deaths will be reduced, and it might behoove Uber to release statistics showing the number of bar pick-ups vs. alcohol consumption in a given location as a leading indicator. You can hate the player (I’m looking at you, Travis), but don’t hate the game. Uber is a good thing. (Lyft too, but Uber is already the Kleenex and Xerox of the used-t0-be taxi world.)

Cover photo retrieved from the Catholic Gentleman website on March 2, 2017. Thank you Google Image search.

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