The first trip to be documented on this site will be my trip to see my little sister in Colorado Springs, USA.
As I plan to leave next weekend, my thoughts naturally turn to traveling tunes. Music has always been my passion and I’ve got stacks of jewel cases to prove it. So many albums have earned a place in the soundtrack of my life that it becomes a mission to decide what to listen to. One thing is certain: Traveling can bring on a unique mindset that is different for everyone. Travel can evoke excitement, nervousness, anticipation, dread or even fear.
Depending on your comfort with flying, large crowds, small spaces, long spans of sitting and/or waiting etc., travel can be a thrill or a chore. Considering those emotions, it is wise to choose music that will accentuate the good feelings and sooth the bad ones.
Thankfully, it’s not like the “old days” where you had to carefully select 10 CDs because that’s all that would fit into your little travel CD carrying case. Now you can simply throw together a playlist on your ipod or choose at random by scrolling through your entire library with one thumb and little screen.
For the sake of nostalgia, I’m going to list my top 5 traveling albums – based on the overall quality of the entire album. No one-hit wonders here my friends. Without further ado and in no particular order, let’s do this.
David Bowie’s Ziggy Stardust
This album is close to my heart because many trips were taken listening to this album on repeat with my two favourite hooligans in high school. This album is classic rock meets glam rock and is great for those long stretches of night driving or late travel in general. With songs like “Moonage Daydream” and “John, I’m Only Dancing” it’s impossible to remain unaffected. Instant energy boost. Guaranteed.
The Black Key’s Brothers
Brothers is one of the best albums of the last few years as far as I’m concerned. It’s got a swagger that few can boast of in recent years. Danger Mouse helped to co-produce this in 2010 and it’s got balls if you need a surge of confidence. From “Everlasting Light” to “The Go Getter” and “Ten Cent Pistol,” the whole album is riddled with crunchy, punchy blues rock that makes you feel like your in a time long past. I play this album as a victory once I’ve passed through check-in and all the gates of approval. These tracks will be spinning when everything is good to go and all that’s left to do is board the plane.
Nina Simone’s Black Gold (disc one)
Nina Simone is like my traveling fairy Godmother. She’s been with me through good times and bad. Often times I will listen to Black Gold if I’m worried or nervous, upset or restless. Her voice is like medicine. She croons in your ear with that haunting resonance, demanding your full attention until the outside world is forgotten. Tracks like “Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood,” “See Line Woman” and “Take Care Of Business” sooth the soul and gives your insides a healthy hum to forget your troubles. There is something about her timeless jazz that clears the mind and allows thoughts to flow with greater ease. I never fly without her.
Neil Young’s Harvest
Harvest was a tough call, as I had to choose between that and Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere. For overall album quality and traveling impact, Harvest takes the win as it’s proven the test of time. This album has been with me since I was a young one, listening to my Dad’s records on our old turntable back in the day. I didn’t fall in love with Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere until later in life.
As a teen, I discovered my two favourite hooligans were into Neil Young as well and as a result, many carefree camping trips have been hosted by Harvest. Late nights by the fire with “Heart of Gold” or driving down country backroads with the windows down to “Alabama,” this album will forever make me feel fearless. (If only “There’s A World” could disappear off that album…just sayin’…) A great album for traveling to the airport or getting ready to leave the house to get rid of your pre-travel jitters.
Mos Def’s Black On Both Sides
Ah, the mighty mighty Mos. This album’s rhythm has calming effect on me. Whether I want to zone out in the boarding area or go wandering through terminals, Black On Both Sides always puts me at ease in my own headspace. This album has a certain element that empowers me, but also makes me feel serene. Mos Def is a natural storyteller and his narrative on this album puts me in a calm, confident state of mind. This album has been on so many trips over the years, it’s become a bit of a security blanket and is often put on repeat in my travels.
So there you have it. Wether you need an energy boost, a slap on the back, a high five or a shoulder to lean on, there’s probably an album for that.
Now that you’ve met my top 5 travel buddies, I’d love to meet yours! Click the “thoughts” link below this article to post your top picks.