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Which Music Genre Is The Most Exhilarating To Drive To?

A great song can be the perfect complement to any drive, whether it be a simple trip to the shops or a road trip to a different part of the country. But what makes the perfect driving song? Is it R&B or Rock?

To find out what was the most exhilarating and calming genre of music to listen to while in the car, Vanarama asked 100 participants to play our special Spotify mix during their daily drives and record their heart beats per minute (bpm).

Continue reading to find out which genre made their heart rate increase the most and to play the song that made it happen.

Crank Up The Punk Tunes To Really Enjoy Your Ride


Our research revealed that Punk is the genre that makes your heart rate increase the most during a drive. The average participant’s heart rate rose by 21bpm from their resting heart rate while listen to punk, all the way to 86bpm.

Our Punk song, 'Blitzkrieg Bop’ by the Ramones, made our participant’s heart rate increase by at least 3 more beats per minute than the next most ‘heart stopping’ music genres - Indie (83bpm) and Rock (82bpm).

We asked Marianne Rizkallah the head music therapist from North London Music Therapy, what effect music has on your heart rate. She responded saying “studies show that when we listen to music with a fast beat (or tempo), or a beat that increases, our heart rate can elevate and sometimes even match the BPM of the piece we're listening to. It's part of the stress response within our bodies. We also have to consider other musical properties: for example, I Bet You Look Good on the Dancefloor has an opening lead guitar line where the notes get higher and higher, perhaps prompting a similar surge of energy that we feel from the driving beat throughout the track.”

Play the song that rose the heart rate of our participants the most here:

Put On Your Favourite Trance Songs For A Relaxing Ride

However, if you’re looking for a more relaxing and calming ride during your road trip then a playlist of Trance and Opera music is definitely something to have prepared. Trance increases your heart rate the least of any genre - raising from a resting speed of 65bpm to 70bpm once our participants heard Adagio Of Strings by DJ Tiësto, while Opera music only increases the heart rate of the average person by a further 2 beats to 72bpm.

Marianne also added that “many of us use music to help us get in or out of a feeling state, e.g. using music to relax or to feel more energised while exercising. We know that music affects our limbic system (where emotions are processed) as well as our autonomic nervous system (dealing with our heart rate amongst other things), so having a playlist to help us remain relaxed while driving could help our heart rate and our mood. While certain tracks are more likely to increase our heart rate because of their musical properties, it's important to remember that personal preference is a big factor - we're more likely to gain the desired affect from our playlist if we like the music we're listening to!”

Play the song that decreased the heart rate of our participants the most here:

Here’s a list of the songs we used in the test, chosen for being highly recognisable examples of each genre featured for consistency:

· 50 Cent – In Da Club (Hip Hop)

· Luciano Pavarotti – Nessun Dorma (Opera)

· Destiny’s Child – Survivor (R&B)

· Blitzkrieg Bop – Ramones (Punk)

· Modjo – Lady (Hear Me Tonight) (Dance)

· Artic Monkeys – I Bet You Look Good On The Dancefloor (Indie)

· Avicii – Levels (House)

· Carly Rae Jepsen – Call Me Maybe (Pop)

· AC/DC – Back In Black (Rock)

· Tiësto – Adagio for Strings (Trance)

Download our playlist and try it out for yourself. All you need is an Apple Watch, Fitbit or similar device to record your heart rate:

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