If you’re anything like me, you’ve already spent a lot of this summer at airports higherAnd the recent bout of severe weather didn’t exactly help. This means that you will need something to listen to while you spend time at the station.
Brian Eno understand. In the mid-1970s, the idea for one of his most enduring works came to him during a long and stressful flight delay at an airport in Cologne, Germany. Wouldn’t the whole experience be more bearable, he wondered, if the airport made quiet, unobtrusive noises throughout the terminals? He began experimenting with the concept, and it eventually led to what is both wonderful and unfailingly useful “music for airports” (1978), his first publicized work of what he called “ambient” music. The album and its subsequent sequels in the ambient series produced a fruitful genre, and it’s still thriving, and on our 2016 list of Top 50 ambient albums of all timePitchfork ranked “Music for Airports” at number one.
I’m not saying that delaying your trip should be as fruitful as Eno’s; I won’t judge if I fail to conceive of an entirely new kind of music before Ascension is over. All I’m saying is that you can use some music to calm your nerves and put your distress into a larger context. This is where today’s playlist comes in. A few of her songs – from Liz FairAnd John Denver And Byrds Explicitly about flying, inspired by the new perspective that changes in scenery and altitude can bring. Others aren’t quite as direct but still have some kind of weightless expansiveness. One of them, ostensibly at least, is about hot air ballooning, but I think this is still important.
Hopefully, this playlist will keep you from delaying your flight. But if you still need to listen to something when you’re done, it’s always there “Music for airports.” (And Jon Pareles Playlist (One of Eno’s 15 Best Ocean Trails.)
1. Caroline Polachek: “The Gate”
I hope you will not spend also Plenty of time to “stand at the gate,” to quote this ethereal, tonally tuned opening from Caroline Polachek’s 2019 album, “Bang.” (Listen on YouTube)
2. Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers: “Learning to Fly”
As in many of the songs here, Flight serves as a kind of emotional metaphor in “Learning to Fly,” a 1991 song from Petty and the Heartbreakers’ Jeff-Lynne album “Into the Great Wide Open.” (In October 2017, shortly after Betty’s death, Bob Dylan played a beautiful cover of this song live, as a tribute to his colleague Wilbury.) (Listen on YouTube)
3. Neko Case: “Lady Pilot”
“We’ve got a lady pilot, she’s not afraid to die,” sings Nico Case on this impressionistic adventure from her 2002 breakthrough album, The Blacklist. (According to the International Association of Women AeronautsOnly 5.8 percent of the world’s airline pilots are female. Not even close to enough!) (Listen on YouTube)
4. The Byrds: “Eight Miles High”
Commercial planes don’t actually fly as high as eight miles, but apparently the Byrds thought “six miles high” didn’t sound cool. What sounds unequivocally cool is Roger McGuinn’s 12-string guitar. His playing on this pioneering psych-rock song was influenced by Ravi Shankar and John Coltrane. (Listen on YouTube)
5. Lise Fuhr: “Stratford on Gay”
The perspective-shifting experience of flying makes us all poets—especially when you have a window seat. Liz Phair perfectly captures the view from the 27D on this track from “Exile in Guyville”: “As we went from farmland to grid, the town plan was all I saw.” (Listen on YouTube)
6. Howlin’ Wolf: “Mr. plane man
On this song from the “Change My Way” set, The Blues Howlin’ Wolf Man Man Man demands that he fly to Jackson and deliver an urgent message to his child: “Aahhhheeeeeeee, Ahhhehehehhe!” (Listen on YouTube)
7. John Denver: “Departure on a Jet Plane”
The next time you’re not sure what to do with yourself while waiting for a connecting flight, remember that John Denver wrote this song during a layover. He used his time well, as I say. (Listen on YouTube)
8. The Fifth Dimension: “Up, Up and Far”
By the end of this playlist, we hope you’ll travel, like this rich, groovy 1967 tune from the Fifth Dimension. Preferably in an airplane rather than a hot air balloon, but at this point I don’t blame you for seeking alternative forms of transportation. (Listen on YouTube)
*Remember Amplifier Friday, when I told you about my experience seeing the North American opening date for Beyoncé’s Renaissance World Tour? I didn’t get to the show at all because my flight to Toronto got canceled – and then my flight Outside Toronto is also cancelled. I was stranded there for two more days, which I spent mostly on hold with several airlines. Now I know how Drake felt when he was He ran through the 6 with his scourge.
Listen on Spotify. We update this playlist with every new newsletter.
“Airports (Waiting) Music” track listing
Track One: Caroline Polachek, “The Gate”
Track 2: Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, “Learning to Fly”
Track 3: Neko Case, “Lady Pilot”
Track 4: The Byrds, “Eight Miles High”
Track 5: Lise Fuhr as “Stratford on Guy”
Track 6: Howlin’ Wolf, “Mr. plane man
Track 7: John Denver, “Leaving on a Jet Plane”
Track 8: Fifth Dimension, “Up, Up and Away”
For more practical advice on air travel, some of my colleagues at the Travel Desk have put together this handy guide I really should have read before my trip to Toronto.
And, RIP Jane BirkinMuch more than just a bag label! Among many other things, Birkin has also been a motivating collaborator with all of his peers Serge Gainsbourg And the great director Agnes Varda, and of course a solo singer-songwriter in her own right. wraps “Jane B.” And “dee duh dah” Today in her honor.