As a former musician -read: mediocre musician- music plays a very important role in my life. Whether cleaning up the apartment or road tripping there is appropriate music to accompany any moment. While during exercising I prefer an upbeat or driving mix that gives me extra push to get through the task, I prefer something much lighter while unwinding on the drive home from work.
The music I prefer for travel is something that also varies depending on the mode of transportation, location, type of experience expected, and so on. I began thinking about this while listening to Radiohead’s latest effort The King of Limbs. Radiohead released this album on February 18, 2011, while Jasmine and I were honeymooning in Spain. We downloaded the album and listened to it in our Barcelona hotel room twice through after consuming too many gin and tonics at a Barri Gotic tapa’s bar. I will never forget that night and every time I listen to that album it immediately brings back the feeling of that perfect moment.
Jasmine and I have now crossed the United States by car 2 1/2 times taking different routs each time. Andrew Bird’s Noble Beast got us through the the seemingly endless Kansas prairie, and I couldn’t imagine what we would have done without Die Antwoord‘s grimy rap as we passed through Arizona in the wee hours of the night pulling a UHaul trailer behind our Toyota Corolla fueled by five hour energy drinks -see ‘Our Pact‘, we don’t consume these any more-. While Noble Beast colored our drive through what otherwise could have been boring anxiety inspiring flatland, Die Antwoord stood in stark contrast to the night forcing our eyes open and the foot on the pedal a bit more firmly.
Although the three previously mentioned albums seem to have very little in common, they all have the unique quality of being cinematic. That cinematic quality is what music must have to be in our travel playlist. Choosing the right music when traveling can extend the experience, color the dull moments while commuting, or create those spiritual feeling moments when the song playing makes you know that you are in the right place, with the right people, at the right time.