When I was writing my pen pal post the other week, it reminded me a lot about my various travels over the years. There are certain cities or locations where music played quite a role in my experience, or at least in remembering my experience there.
Adding to The Music Challenge – songs from around the world. Or rather songs that remind me of being around the world.
Italy - I was living in Arezzo, Italy. I was 21, I think, at the time. It seemed like friends and I were at a club every other night. The one we frequented the most was Dolce Verde (Sweet Green). It was a gorgeous club with several different music venues spread throughout the property. It had swimming pools and greenery. Gorgeous place. We were in the main part of the club and they’d been playing whatever Italian pop hits were running the charts. I didn’t really speak Italian. Whatever I knew, I learned while I was there. It was very Lost in Translation – me living in Arezzo. So I never understood a damn thing when it came to the music. Rhythm is universal, apparently, of which I have none. But it was fun dancing to an Italian Top 40 all the same. Suddenly, those familiar words began echoing throughout the room. “Young man …” I was SO pumped! The thing is, I didn’t even really get to partake because I was fascinated by this group of people that knew little to no English whatsoever gyrating and SINGING ALONG word for word to YMCA. These were people that definitely didn’t know what the lyrics meant, let alone what a YMCA was, but here they were, hundreds of twenty and thirty-somethings belting out line after line of the Village People’s most famous number like Aretha Franklin belts out Respect. It was awesome. Whenever YMCA plays to this day, I can’t help but be back in that club watching a bunch of Italians dancing and singing along with an American classic.
30. The Village People, YMCA (1978)
Italy (take 2) In the vein of being able to sing a song word for word without actually knowing what any of the words mean, brings me to number 31 of The Music Challenge. Somehow I learned this entire song while I was living in Italy and yet I don’t know what any of it means. The funny thing is, the song isn’t even Italian. It’s like French or Spanish or something? Still reminds me of Italy though, every time.
31. Manu Chao, Mi Gusta Tu (2001)
The Netherlands – Schiphol Airport in Amsterdam. One of my favorite airports ever. Beautiful airport. Beautiful city. Beautiful people. That said, things got ugly. I arrived to this song playing on every television screen in the terminal. It also played everywhere else I went in Europe that trip. I had a 20 hour layover for my return home and I swear the video played every fifteen minutes on every TV at every lounge and at every gate. I was so over Train by the time I was flying back to the States.
32. Train, Drops of Jupiter (2001)
England – Just preparing to go to London had me listening to these two songs a thousand times on my ipod, let alone when I was actually there. Now when I hear them, I can’t not think of fish and chips, red phone booths and Doctor Who (for some weird reason?).
33. The Clash, London Calling (1979)
34. Warren Zevron, Werewolves of London (1978)
South Africa – The perfect ironic scenario. This song played everywhere while I was there and I laughed every damn time. Seriously.
35. Toto, Africa (1982)
Any songs you have to add to the list from your travels?