Music is an integral part of the travel experience: it amps you up on adventures or calms you down on the beach, attaches memories of a time or place to a song that you can revisit, and drowns out the sound of screaming children on cramped modes of transportation. With this in mind I decided to share some of my favorite travel tunes with you every week, and since I’m a big fan of alliteration, I decided to do it on Tuesdays.
This week’s travel jam comes from one of my favorite formerly-alcoholic female singer-songwriters, Chan Marshall (aka Cat Power). While most of her music fits better on a playlist for lonely nights in bed drinking Jack Daniels straight from the bottle than the soundtrack to a voyage, her new single “Ruin” from her forthcoming LP Sun is, as Stereogum describes it, “a sharp, spacious, almost buoyant pop song about traveling the world.”
In the buildup to the chorus, Chan name drops Saudi Arabia, Dhaka, Calcutta, Soweto, Mozambique, Istanbul, Rio, Rome, Argentina, Chile, Mexico, Taiwan, Great Britain, Belfast, Spain, Wollongong, and Tokyo as places she’s been, which makes this song a quite literal travel tune. She also points out that she’s seen “the desert” and “some little bitty island in the middle of the Pacific,” and I assume the vagueness can be attributed to her aforementioned alcoholism and the accompanying blackouts.
Listen to “Ruin” below, and if you like what you hear be sure to check out the rest of Sun, which is streaming in its entirety on NPR.
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