Song of the Week

EHSDA Song of the Week: Motor Away

Motor safety is a major issue for many businesses. In 2019, there were 2,122 deaths resulting from occupational transportation incidents, which is 39% of the 5,316 fatalities from occupational injuries that year, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. For the latest EHSDA Song of the Week, we revisit a 1995 indie rock classic from Guided By Voices, “Motor Away.”

While it doesn’t necessarily discuss driving safely, “Motor Away” is a supremely catchy song about driving away from your problems. Led by prolific frontman/main songwriter Robert Pollard, GBV has been around in various forms since 1983, releasing close to 40 full-length albums. Toiling in obscurity but beloved by its fans, the early GBV albums were produced on a shoestring budget and featured a “lo-fi” sound that blended elements of garage rock, power pop, punk, psychedelic and progressive rock.

“Motor Away” is on the band’s eighth studio album Alien Lanes, released in April 1995. Early GBV albums also featured songs that were mostly under 2 minutes long, sometimes fragments of songs that faded in and out. But “Motor Away” is one of the longer songs on the album, clocking in at a hefty 2:06. It’s a propulsive pop gem that captures the hopeful feeling you have at the beginning of a road trip, when the highway is in front of you and the possibilities are endless.

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