Photo by Joshua Sortino on Unsplash

The Long and Winding Road: A Global Wanderlust Mix

When I built this mixtape, I challenged my followers on Twitter to inspire it. We agreed on the theme of traveling and wanderlust. Enjoy!

it’s a small world

For obvious reasons, this is the best opener for a mixtape about global wanderlust. We become cynical about the themes as soon as it invades our ears. The idea behind is archaic and dated. But the spirit of the song will always ring true, from 8 months to 108 years. Besides Kris told me to open the mix with it lol.

We Gotta Get Out of This Place – The Animals

"Now my girl you're so young and pretty
And one thing I know is true
You'll be dead before your time is due, I know
Watch my daddy in bed a-dyin'
Watched his hair been turnin' grey
He's been workin' and slavin' his life away
Oh yes I know it"

My parents grew up during this era of music. The Animals have always stood out to me. My dad preferred the surf rock of the Searchers, the Zombies, etc. and my mom was into girl groups, like the Supremes. Their arrangement of “The House of the Rising Sun” reverberates to this day, mostly because of Eric Burdon’s vocals. “We Gotta Get Out of This Place” was written for the Vietnam era (coincidentally I did a big report on the Vietnam War and chose this song to represent the mixtape), but it’s still an important song.

Mad World (featuring Gary Jules) – Michael Andrews

"And I find it kind of funny, I find it kind of sad
The dreams in which I'm dying are the best I've ever had
I find it hard to tell you, I find it hard to take
When people run in circles its a very, very
Mad world, mad world"

This came from the Donnie Darko soundtrack and was written and originally performed by the fellas in Tears for Fears. This arrangement is haunting and gripping. Upon Kris’ suggestion, I thought it’d be a nice, emotional damper after the almost upbeat cynicism of “We Gotta Get Out of This Place.”

Drive to Nowhere – Mylin

"I'm going to drive to nowhere, 
gonna leave all my plans behind
Don't know when I'll get there,

but I'll know when I see the sign
I'm going to drive to nowhere,

gonna leave all my plans behind
Don't know when I'm coming back"

I’ve been following Mylin’s career off and on. She started on MMC, did some records in Japan, and went indie when her contract was up with Avex Trax. She’s done a few indie albums (she’s on hiatus at the moment), but this song always stuck with me. It’s just her voice and her guitar, telling a really bittersweet story. You can almost feel the breeze from the open window of a car as you drive down the wide-open road whilst you’re listening.

60 Miles an Hour – New Order

"You can take me to an island, ride across the stormy sea
We can worship pagan idols, there together you and me
Why don't you run over here and rescue me?
You can drive down in your car
Why don't we both take a ride and turn that key
We'll drive at 60 miles an hour"

New Order. C’mon, what can you say? Like “Drive to Nowhere” it’s very much a road song that isn’t necessarily about driving on the road. It’s about living life with someone special. Maybe it is a traveler and an open road. It’s got that almost blinding drag race feels with the twangy guitar that is indicative of their sound.

Runaway – Janet Jackson

"We'll sail the water of many colours
Won't need no compass
Love will guide our way
Don't need nobody
Long as we got each other
No need to hurry
We've got everyday"

Marz suggested this song. I was almost going to put “Escapade” but I had to agree that “Runaway” was a better overall fit. It also had a better vibe to follow “60 Miles an Hour.” I still remember watching this video on MTV. Ahh, so cool.

Life is a Highway – Rascal Flatts

"There's a world outside every darkened door
Where Blues won't haunt you anymore
For the brave are free and lovers soar
Come ride with me to the distant shore"

This is the Rascal Flatts version but Tom Cochrane’s original still stands the test of time. The first time I watched “Cars” and this came on, I knew immediately it was the perfect song for the movie. I love the arrangement. Very much like Tom’s but it’s still got that Rascal Flatts’ country flavor to it.

Take Me to Another Town – Emma Bunton

"Gotta take my bike to the train
Train to the bus
Bus to the beach and sail on
And then I'll surf to the shore
Walk to the plane
Fly to what I can depend on"

“Take Me to Another Town” is a cheeky song. “There are too many people who would kiss me if they could.” There had to be a playful song. Like Professor Tolkien said, “not all who wander are lost.” What’s traveling if you don’t fall in love with someone? When I was developing the mix, I knew this song had to be on it somewhere. Sandwiched between “Life” and “Hawaiian Roller Coaster Ride” was almost too perfect. Emma’s two solo albums have been very sixties, blue-eyed soul, and it feels like a song Nancy Sinatra or Dusty Springfield might’ve sung, had it been written in their time.

“Hawaiian Roller Coaster Ride – Kamehameha Schools Children’s Chorus

"There’s no place I'd rather be
Than on the seashore dry, wet free
On golden sand is where I lay
And if I only had my way
I'd play til the sun sets
Beyond the horizon"

Another Disney song, haha. I can’t help it. What I wouldn’t give to be in Hawaii and surfing. Well, I’d have to LEARN how to surf, but ya feel me. I know you do

Eh, Eh (Nothing Else I Can Say) (Bollywood Remix) – Lady GaGa

"Boy, we've had a real' good time
And I wish you the best on your way
I didn't mean to hurt you
I never thought we'd fall out of place"

I know what you’re thinking, you’re only putting a Lady GaGa song on this mix because you’re a stan. NO… well, yes. I love the Bollywood remix because it makes me feel like I should break into some awesome synchronized Bollywood dancing. It’s very summery and light-hearted and sounds awesome with the Hawaiian lead-in.

Down in New Orleans – Dr. John

"We got magic, good and bad
Make you happy or make you real sad
Get everything you want, lose what you had
Down here in New Orleans"

“The Princess and the Frog” is one of my favorite Disney movies. I saw it for the first time with A and T, and loved the visuals and the music. Not to beat you over the head with history but the twenties were a very important time in feminism. Women were standing up and letting their voices be heard. Obviously it wasn’t the Civil Rights Movement but they were starting to at least make little waves, if not tsunamis. Tiana’s story very much fits in with that time period. Dr. John’s version of “Down in NOLA” just sends chills down my arm, which is, as you know, my indication a song is AWESOME. I don’t romanticize the area but as a student of history, I’d love to experience walking through there someday.

It Happened in Monterey – Frank Sinatra

"Ah, it happened in Monterrey, a long time ago
I met her in Monterrey, in old Mexico
Stars, guitars, lips red as wine
Broke somebody's heart and I fear that it was mine"

Just a classy love song from ol’ Frankie. There’s something about this song in this mix that makes me wanna get up and dance with the spiffiest guy in the joint. And I live in Vegas. There are hot guys in nicely tailored suits everywhere lol.

Singapore – Girls Aloud

"When you're gone my loneliness is real
Got your love to remind me how that feel
In my head I can see your long goodbye
You kiss my lips as I try to fix your tie."

I like the pensiveness and low-key dream-like anxiety in the song. I thought it fit well with the other songs. It captures the inevitable doom of a long-distance relationship.

The Long and Winding Road – The Beatles

"And still they lead me back
To the long, winding road
You left me standing here
A long, long time ago
Don't leave me waiting here
Lead me to your door."

How could I name a mixtape after this song and not include it? haha. We have a clock in our house that plays a pop song at the top of the hour. This is one of them. It’s kind of nice to hear it play in the house when you least expect it.

Autumn Song – Manic Street Preachers

"So when you hear this autumn song
Clear your heads and get ready to run
So when you hear this autumn song
Remember the best times are yet to come"

I’m sure you thought that if I was gonna name the mixtape “The Long and Winding Road” that I would end it on that note. You’d be wrong. I wanted to leave you on a positive note. “The best times are yet to come.” So even if you can only live vicariously through the music, at least you know there’s a big world out there ready to be experienced.

tree branch