Musical Geographies: Strangers

OK, this is not a geographical location but a travel-related theme nonetheless. I’m headed off on my own for two weeks, which I’ve been planning for months, but it was only the other day that I realized that I haven’t been alone for that long in a long time. I’m hoping that I meet some friendly strangers along the way. These songs, admittedly, are mostly not about friendly strangers. The last one makes up for it.

“The Kindness of Strangers” – Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds

OK, really not about friendly strangers.

“Mistaken for Strangers” – the National

This is more about alienation than actual strangers, but you know I love me some National.

“The World Is Full of Strangers” – Camera Obscura

Apparently songwriters like strangers more as metaphors than literal presences.

“The Stranger Song” – Leonard Cohen

See above.

“I’ve Just Seen a Face” – the Beatles

And this is the one that makes up for it. The moment that you meet a stranger and boom, you’re fallin’ into the world’s most perfect pop song.


Musical Geography: Hotels

I’m buried in reviews of B&Bs, hostels, riads, and pensions at the moment, so it seems only natural to share some songs about hotels.

“Heartbreak Hotel” – Elvis Presley

I sometimes forget that Elvis was cool and young before he got old and fat and dead.

“Hotel Yorba” – the White Stripes

I never knew Hotel Yorba was a real place in Detroit. From what I gather, it’s something along the lines of an SRO. Probably not recommended in any guidebooks.

“Hotel Song” – Regina Spektor

Bags of cocaine and unknown girls–this is a very rockstar version of hotel living.

“Chelsea Hotel #2” – Leonard Cohen

Speaking of rockstar…

“Divorce Song” – Liz Phair

OK, this one is a stretch, but it starts out with checking into a hotel, so it counts. And it’s just a good song, so quit nitpicking.