Trucks in Pop Culture
There's nothing like a great American road trip.
With the power of a pickup truck, drivers have the option to not only cross the nation by highway, but also to take the roads less traveled. However, the perfect trip needs the perfect soundtrack, and if you drive a truck, we might just have you covered.
To lay the foundation for the ultimate truck driver playlist, American Trucks picked apart the lyrics of two decades of Billboard Hot 100 songs since the year 2000 to search for those mentioning trucks. We also wanted to learn more about the folks behind the wheel, so we surveyed 1,042 truck owners about their music preferences and behaviors.
Trucks in Lyrics
Despite popular belief, there's more to a truck lover's playlist than just country music. While that's the most popular truck-featuring genre, let's take a look at the variety of others that often mention trucks.
While the sounds of country music (as well as other popular genres) may have changed over the years, the frequency of its truck mentions has only increased. Before 2000, only 5.1% of the most popular songs included trucks. While mentions haven't increased drastically, even taking a small dip from 2015 to 2019, they have gone up to almost 8.0% in 2020 and the years since. That's more than any other time frame.
For context, these truck-related mentions include the terms: truck, pickup, Ford, RAM, GMC, Chevy, Chevrolet, Silverado, Cybertruck, F150, and 1500.
Some of these songs include trucks in both the title and lyrics, like "Wait in the Truck" by HARDY featuring Lainey Wilson, "Truck Yeah" by Tim McGraw, and "My Truck" by BRELAND. Other songs have trucks tucked into the lyrics. For example, "Get Like Me" by David Banner featuring Chris Brown and Yung Joc mentions "Chevy" multiple times in the chorus.
While country music reigned supreme, with 14.5% of those in the Billboard Top 100 containing truck talk, a few surprising genres came next. The runner-up was rap (8.6%), followed by hip-hop (8.5%) and rock (5.2%). Compared to country music stereotypes of most country songs being about trucks, almost 15% is much, much less than half of the most popular country music.
Music Favorites on the Road
While country music and trucks seem to go hand in hand, what kinds of music do truck owners really listen to? American Trucks surveyed drivers about their musical preferences and the experiences they've had in their trucks. We even found out how these things might relate.
Despite country music having the most truck-related songs of any genre, it sat toward the bottom of truck owners' genre preferences — just 27.7% said it was their favorite. Instead, an overwhelming percentage of truck owners (47.1%) said they prefer classic rock. Other favorites were alternative (41.6%), blues (41.2%), and hip-hop (40.7%).
These findings discredit the stereotype of truck drivers loving country. After all, trucks are great vehicles for just about anyone! But what do most truck drivers have in common? And do any of their experiences align with their favorite type of music?
When we asked our participants about experiences they've had in their trucks, over half of them said they've had road rage. And of those, a large percentage said they prefer alternative music (77.4%). Maybe they should try some relaxing classical or jazz music instead.
Many truck owners (40%) have also had sexual encounters in their vehicles. Sounds like a country song in the making, right? Maybe — but their genre preferences included mostly blues, metal, alternative, and indie or classic rock.
But, of course, we all have music we don't like to admit listening to — the kind we belt out the lyrics to when the windows are up and there's no one else in the car. For our respondents, the top guilty pleasure song that fit the bill was the 1976 hit "Saturday Night" by Bay City Rollers.
As for their favorite "guilty pleasure" artists, truck drivers were in fairly close agreement. Justin Bieber took the top spot with 37.3% of votes, but right behind the Biebs was a tie between the Backstreet Boys and South Korean boy band sensation BTS (both with 34.5%). Other popular artists rounding out the list were Avril Lavigne, Jonas Brothers, Adele, Britney Spears, Rihanna, Justin Timberlake, and Katy Perry.
Trucks on the Mind
Whether it's your first or hundredth time taking a road trip in a pickup, it's always fun to blast a themed playlist for the occasion. Luckily, the ultimate truck driver playlist is not exclusive to any one category of music; every genre has songs about trucks. So go ahead and sprinkle in some odes to your beloved vehicle, along with a guilty pleasure or two — whatever makes for the perfect soundtrack for your next adventure in the driver's seat (be it sexual or otherwise).
For this study, we analyzed the lyrics of all Billboard 100 songs since the year 2000. For each song, we searched for truck-related mentions, including the following: truck, pickup, Ford, RAM, GMC, Chevy, Chevrolet, Silverado, Cybertruck, F150, and 1500. Additionally, we surveyed 1,042 truck owners about their music preferences and truck experiences.
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