Travel Tunes: Seattle Edition

One of the best things about traveling is that it creates such great visceral memories. I can often remember the most mundane details of life as long as I was out of town when it happened. “Remember that time when the waitress in a the bunny print dress gave us free coffee? Yeah, that was definitely in Springfield.”– Things like that.

Traveling is such a sensory experience, and I create some seemingly odd associations with places that I visit. When I think of Chicago, I think of the first day of school, Coca-Cola, and Monopoly. Don’t ask me why. But the most powerful way to transport myself back to place I have visited is music.

And with that I will introduce my new “mini-series,” Travel Tunes. This is my alliterative way of saying that I will create playlists that correspond to various cities that I have traveled to. Some playlist make a lot of sense. Some don’t. Some songs have stories associated with them. Some, I would tell you in a very New Age-y way, just have the right “energy.” But all of these songs help me recapture a moment and place in time.

While not the dearest to my heart, Seattle is the nearest, geographically speaking. In the battle between Portland and Seattle, I am a life-long team Portland. But there still is something to be said about the Emerald City. It is Portland amplified. Bigger buildings, bigger companies, bigger wallets. While Portland aims to be a conglomeration of the hippest small towns in the world, Seattle is all urbanity.

Though Seattle is still mostly associated with grunge and Kurt Cobain, to me the dream of the 90’s died in Seattle. It’s the place where the prom queen gets a job at Microsoft and the high school quarterback is wearing crisp white scrubs at the UW medical school. In other words, it’s classic pop music with electronic edge, something that leaves you as cool and detached as ducking out for a lonely cigarette on a rainy night.

1. “This Place Is A Prison” – The Postal Service

“You can pace the grounds from the Cascades to Puget Sound” may make this selection a bit obvious, but it’s slow paced angst strikes me as the kind of feeling that blankets a city in its third straight month without sunlight.

2. “Easy-Lucky-Free” – Bright Eyes

Lyrics that a UW English major would write.

3. “D.A.N.C.E” – Justice

Sometimes people do actually have fun in Seattle.

4. “The Moneymaker” – Rilo Kiley

Getting ahead in a land of a million (OK, 600,000) people.

5. “The Twilight” – Cut Copy

Australia and Seattle. Practically the same thing?

6. “It’s A Hit” – Gumar & The Magical Midi Band

This association may just come from the fact that I stumbled upon them at FolkLife. At any rate, I know that this cool kid optimism lurks somewhere in Seattle. Also, they have a robot.

What do you think of when you think Seattle? Are there any songs you associate with the city out West?


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