Far above th’ ocean, deep under th’ sea

As it did last year, my summer travel begins with a drive to L.A. I remember selecting CDs for the drive last year and kicking off the trip with the Bright Eyes album I’m Wide Awake, It’s Morning. The thing about Bright Eyes is, one has to be in an appropriate mood to enjoy it, otherwise he just sounds whiny and self-absorbed. And indeed, my mood underwent a major shift during my travels last year, and my traveling music correspondingly shifted to Mercury Rev’s The Secret Migration, especially the revelatory “Secret for a Song”.
For this year’s travels I’ve again turned to Mercury Rev. They are at their best when singing about travel and movement, and their 1998 album Deserter’s Songs is full of these themes. The best track on the album is “Goddess on a Hiway”, and it is terrific driving music—the first time I heard it I was driving over the Bay Bridge watching the setting sun light up the East Bay, and it was perfect. The lyrics are a bit opaque, but I suspect they are about peak oil.
Instead of a Friday random ten, here are ten CDs I am bringing with me for the drive:

  • Art Brut, Bang Bang Rock & Roll

  • Pulp, Different Class
  • Snow Patrol, Eyes Open
  • Spiritualized, Ladies and Gentlemen We Are Floating In Space
  • The Duke Spirit, Cuts Across The Land
  • Yo La Tengo, Painful
  • The Delgados, Peloton
  • Pretty Girls Make Graves, Élan Vital
  • Mercury Rev, Deserter’s Songs
  • My Bloody Valentine, Loveless

11 thoughts on “Far above th’ ocean, deep under th’ sea

  1. Mason

    I’ll fill in the gap for a random 10 (as I do online stuff instead of going to bed, which is what I should do, given that I need to get up early again tomorrow and I’m already extremely sleep-deprived):
    1. Maniac by Miachel Sembelo
    2. Tango to Evora by Loreena McKennitt
    3. Girls Just Want to Have Fun (acoustic version) by Cyndi Lauper
    4. I Will Remember You by Amy Grant
    5. Boadicea by Enya
    6. Personal Jesus (7 inch version) by Depeche Mode
    7. You Look So Fine by Garbage
    8. Love in the First Degree by Bananarama
    9. Vogue by Madonna
    10. All My Colours by Echo & the Bunnymen
    I won’t take the time to interpret this set (as I’d rather read some baseball before I crash), but let me know if you find any meaning. :)
    This does remind me, however, that I need to figure out who else besides Lemming is up for the Echo concert in June.

  2. Lemming

    You’re gonna need to remind me of the dates–it looks like I’m gonna be out of town for a decent chunk of the end of June.

  3. Lanth

    I have to say, I’ve really enjoyed the Mercury Rev _Secret Migration_ CD since you last recommended it. I’ll have to see about getting their new one.

  4. Arcane Gazebo

    Lanth: Actually Deserter’s Songs is an older one. It’s very good. It caught me off guard because it doesn’t sound quite like Secret Migration and has some weird tracks, but I’ve been liking it more each time I hear it. Other key songs (besides “Hiway”) are “Opus 40″, “Tonite It Shows”, and “Delta Sun Bottleneck Stomp”.

  5. shep

    I’ll back T up here. Deserter’s Songs is my favorite of Mercury Rev’s stuff. My main concern about Mercury Rev is that they walk the line between “engagingly busy” and “distractingly cluttered”. Deserter’s Songs really seemed to focus them — by stripping down and stepping back, they force you to follow them.

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