Tag: Carla Bruni

Five favorite travel-related songs

A long time ago in a galaxy not so far away, this blog was devoted to music and concerts. Since I started travel writing, I’ve neglected my passion for the auditory arts. I’m combining the two today in this post.

When I walk around town, I always have a song playing in my head. It’s like having a personal soundtrack. Here are some of my favorite travel-related songs/compositions. I’d love to hear what yours are in the comments.

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PHOTOS – Songs That Remind Me of Places

I love how hearing songs can help one rediscover places frequented long ago. The way smells seem to bring back forgotten memories (Juicy Fruit gum for me, for some reason), it’s like you’re transported back to when that sensation of being was first mentally recorded. Usually emotive, intense nostalgia can be both fun and scary.

Is there a song that reminds you of a place? How does it make you feel? Let me know in the comments. And please click the images to get a deeper story on where each photo came from…

I’m in Vancouver for my cousin’s wedding. I had been listening to Carla Bruni’s “Tout le monde,” finding the music video where she emerged through a dark tunnel as particularly relevant to international travel (even to Canada). While I didn’t have to pass any dark tunnels, Vancouver was definitely a light at the other end of the path. Pristine, brisk and full of natural beauty, it was a great escape from the normalcy of everyday life.

Coldplay always reminds me of my time at The Conversation Group, most likely because it was there that I first listened to Viva La Vida. While it was bittersweet, as all their songs are, it leaned more to the sweet side.

I’m home in Hawaii for Christmas and I find an unopened copy of Yeah Yeah Yeah’s Show Your Bones in my parents’ collection. No one is really sure how it got there, so I immediately enjoy the album and claim it for myself. While I didn’t care for YYYs after hearing “Maps” in college, the songs on Show Your Bones really resonated with me. I’ve since gone back and acquired their previous releases, but this album is still my favorite.

I spend about 13 hours wandering around Manhattan while listening to Rilo Kiley the entire time. I have tickets to their upcoming show at the The Warfield and I need a crash course on their discography before heading back home. While this isn’t my favorite song from their first few albums, it’s the one that reminds me most of wandering around for hours. Another good candidate would be “All the Good That Won’t Come Out,” a song I recall hearing a lot despite the random rotation.

Another one in New York City: I’m at the Brooklyn Bridge, and hearing this song reminds me of the other, more familiar ocean. When I hear this song, I imagine drifting away on waves into the vastness of the ocean, a characteristic of the sea I’ve always marveled at.

“The ocean rolls us away… away… away…”

Carla Bruni – “Tout Le Monde” / Crossing the Northern Border


I know I already reviewed Carla Bruni’s debut album, Quelqu’un M’a Dit, but I wanted to revisit one of her tracks in relation with my trip to Vancouver. Before heading to the airport, I discovered and shared Bruni’s “Tout Le Monde,” knowing it would be the last thing posted for a week on my Facebook profile (yeah, serious business). It’s my favorite song right now as it reminds me of the moments I spent with my family in Vancouver, in limbo between employed and (what I would discover a week after returning) unemployed.

Vancouver is a pretty city. It’s got a great living balance between urban life and an appreciation for nature. They’re pretty good with keeping things green too (idling your car is a crime). The numerous mountains surrounding the pristine harbor create a really breathtaking view. And at night, lights high in the hills emit a row of faux stars floating above the city, confusing us for days until we finally figured out what they were.

Before I left, my friend, Elena, convinced me to write an essay for the book she’s publishing. I remember starting the essay in our dark hotel room, blessed with a view of Yaletown building lights. I started by writing about the quietness of the space – muffled street sounds perforated by rambunctious voices of late night revelers below – and included mentions of my parents, soundly asleep in the bed nearby. But I wasn’t able to finish the essay in Vancouver…

Just like the video, like going through a dark tunnel, is how one might describe traveling. When you’re in a plane, it’s as if you’re not a part of this world. You move between cities in a climate unique to your own. While it may be raining and dreary on the Earth’s surface, your existence above the clouds leaves you immune and bathed in sun or stars… in transition and above the storm.

My phone was off for a week. I don’t think I’ve ever had a phone off that long… No internet. No email. No Twitter. Totally free. It felt really nice. Checking my stream upon returning to the States was a little disheartening. I really don’t need to be hearing about the latest-upgrade-to-software-I’ll-never-use during all my waking hours, I discovered (no offense to you if that’s what you love to Tweet about). It was really nice being cut off. I can’t stress that enough.

I wasn’t able to finish the essay in Vancouver… Instead, I finished it after I returned, a few days after getting laid off. I think the multiple scenarios, time lapses and life situations in which the essay was being redrafted in really aided its development. It framed itself within a new perspective, reflected upon and transformed. And that it found completion during this period of uncertainty and confusion is particularly ironic given the focal topic of the essay project…


See the complete photo set: Facebook Photos – Vancouver
Read more about the places I visited: Yelp Reviews – Vancouver!

On Rotation: Muse, Imogen Heap and Carla Bruni

I happily discovered each of my last three album purchases were individually phenomenal. The needed injection of fresh music helped reinvigorate the love between my speakers and ears, a love whose passion had faded. Also, apologies to the neighbors.

Muse – The Resistance
I’ve been a bit tired of Muse for the past few months. While still noting them as my favorite band, the relentless audio onslaught they produce gets a little tiresome to the ears after awhile. They overcome the monotony of their past barrage with The Resistance, a musically diverse album that more than hints at influences from Queen. Their fifth album release (Hullabaloo is a soundtrack and collection, and thus does not count) incorporates increased use of keys and synth, reminiscent of Origin of Symmetry, with schizophrenic, Phrygian-filled songs that run the gamut of musical expression (for better or for worse). The incredibly moving three-part “Exogenesis: Symphony” is a stunning end to the album and highlights Muse at their absolute best. On the downside, the obvious inclusion of politics doesn’t suit my taste in its form here, as it requires more poetics than, even I’ll admit, Matt Bellamy can provide (Green Day pulled it off much better on American Idiot). In true Muse fashion, lyrics aren’t the most subtle but they definitely sing better than they read, so I can forgive them. From danceable rock to Rachmaninoff-esque piano solos, The Resistance is another great add to any Muse fan’s collection.

Imogen Heap – Ellipse
Listening to Imogen Heap is always an experience. Her lush voice and the audio harmonics of her songs create such a vivid landscape of a prettier world. Tracks like “Wait It Out” would serve well within any indie movie’s soundtrack. The overall vibe doesn’t stray too far from 2006’s “Speak for Yourself.” I’m still a bigger fan of her previous album but with great tracks like “Half Life” and, the album’s single, “First Train Home,” that might just change sometime soon.

Carla Bruni – Quelqu’un m’a dit
Okay, this isn’t new but it’s new to me. Released in 2002, the album is as intimate and warm as any music can be, showcasing Bruni’s soothing voice against acoustic guitars. And how can one not swoon just a little bit? She’s an Italian-born, French singer-songwriter/ex-model.


Give me a break…