The Friday mix: pack your suitcase
Travel. There is nothing like it to broaden the mind, heal the soul, and make you appreciate home. My wife is on a plane to Korea right now. I also have an old friend who just got back to the U.S. from Thailand. He visited me this week and is driving back home to Texas via Chicago this weekend. This put me in a mind to assemble a mix of travel related songs.
- Stay Where You Are – Ambulance Ltd.
Everyone needs time off. I have friends who take “staycations.” I don’t do that very often. It’s affordable, but why do you work if not to be able to go cool places. No, you have to get out and…
- See the World – Gomez
This is why everyone leaves home, right? OK, business occasionally, but everyone likes to see someplace new at times. This is a sweet acoustic melody about traveling and finding yourself a mate.
- Leaving Home Ain’t Easy – Queen
One of the things that makes Queen so fantastic is all four members are great songwriters. This is one of Brian May’s songs about how setting out into the world is hard on you and on the people you leave behind.
- Go Outside & Drive – Blues Traveler
If you want to travel, this is inevitable. This is from “Save His Soul,” which was always my favorite Blues Traveler album. In BT’s typical sunny pop fashion, John Popper is overcome by inertia in this song.
- Setting Forth – Eddie Vedder
Vedder did the soundtrack for Into the Wild and it is fantastic all the way through. My favorite song on the album is a cover of “Hard Sun,” but this one is also great.
- The Bed’s Too Big Without You – Sting (feat. Rankin Roger)
Sting does a much more up-tempo version of this song without The Police. The version released on The Truth About Cats and Dogs soundtrack features Rankin Roger (of The English Beat and General Public). Sadly, this sample doesn’t give you much, but here is a mediocre live version with Rankin Roger.
- Woman Driving, Man Sleeping – Eels
Well, instead of missing your significant other, bring him/her along. I love a road trip. E completely captures the feel of a late night drive on this track. Love it.
- The Way – Fastball
I included this for the chorus, “Where were they going without ever knowing the way?” The downside of driving is getting lost. This tune always makes me think of Smash Mouth. I like the retro feel and the keyboards.
- Airline to Heaven – Billy Bragg & Wilco
Well, you can always fly. You can’t get to most places without doing it. This is a fantastic track from “Mermaid Avenue Vol. II” that features the winning combination of joyful acoustic guitar and handclap percussion.
- Plane Crash – moe.
This is the genius of Rob Derhak, the bass player. The song is towering, with several distinct passages, but the lyrics are just perfect. And I have to confess, I think about this song most times I get on an airplane.
- Mr. Cab Driver – Lenny Kravitz
If you flew – and didn’t crash – you need a cab. Kravitz tells us of the difficulty a dreadlocked black man has getting a cab. It’s from his first album and the energy is unbelievable.
- Camping Next to Water– Badly Drawn Boy
OK, so it’s not how you get there, but what you do when you get there. One of my favorite reasons to travel is to go camping. Damon Gough has a delicate hand with this pretty acoustic tune from “Hour of the Bewilderbeast.”
- Homesick – Kings of Convenience
If you’re gone too long from home, no matter how cool your vacation is, you miss it. Seems like more than half the songs the Kings write are melancholy, but they are nearly all beautiful. They’re very Simon and Garfunkel, but that’s OK with me.
- Many Rivers to Cross – UB40
UB40 does a fantastic job with this old Jimmy Cliff song about struggling against adversity to find your way home. Both the lead and backup vocal performances are wonderful.
- Souvenir – Neil Finn
“It’s nice to go traveling, but it’s so much nicer to come home.” — Frank Sinatra. Hopefully, you picked up a souvenir to remember it. Finn has a great talent for pop songs. This is a pleasing melange of strings and guitar with well-mixed percussion.
As I put this mix together, I discovered it is a rich topic and I imagine I will put together a few more mixes along these lines in the future. Enjoy this with orange juice from a can and a teeny tiny bottle of airline vodka. Have a great weekend.
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