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Far Out 40: Travelling the world in music

@josephtaysom

Musicians spend their lives clocking up the miles in a van, waking up in a different city from one day to the next with travel and homesickness providing abiding inspiration as they make their way from town to town. Their life is led by the road, so what better place to start when planning your trip than with the music?

For as long as time itself, artists have been uncovering the hidden truths behind place names. Geographical areas have the power to spark an autobiographical tale about a night to remember, a town to forget or sometimes even anomalies like Phoebe Bridgers’ ‘Kyoto’, who used the city as a vessel to unlock feelings she’d locked off, and everything in between.

On the surface, the aforementioned track sounds like Bridgers is simply describing her leisurely day off in Japan as she details the woes of touring life. The topic then switches to her fraught relationship with her father that plagued her mind during her stay in Kyoto and became the singer’s overarching memory from the trip.

More often, however, locations offer a source of love and hate in equal measure. It is something which LCD Soundsystem proficiently dealt with on their hometown ode, ‘New York, I Love You But You’re Bringing Me Down’.

If you want to be walking through the streets of Manhattan with James Murphy, glaring at the Dublin skyline with Fontaines DC, or getting a tour of Berlin from Lou Reed, then this playlist is the ultimate place for you.

Let your favourite artists be your tour guide, and travel around the world with these 40 handpicked songs.

The best songs about places

  1. Bob Dylan – ‘Brownsville Girl’
  2. Bon Iver – ‘Calgary’
  3. The Maccabees – ‘Kamakura’
  4. Led Zeppelin – ‘Kashmir’
  5. Father John Misty – ‘Leaving LA’
  6. Baxter Dury – ‘Miami’
  7. St. Vincent – ‘New York’
  8. Kanye West – ‘No More Parties in LA’
  9. Neil Young – ‘Last Trip To Tulsa’
  10. Lianne La Havas – ‘Tokyo’
  11. Joni Mitchell – ‘Chelsea Morning’
  12. John Lennon – ‘New York City’
  13. Wolf Alice – ‘Lisbon’
  14. Fontaines DC – ‘Dublin City Sky’
  15. The Doors – ‘LA Women’
  16. Phoebe Bridgers – ‘Kyoto’
  17. Vampire Weekend – ‘Cape Cod Kwassa Kwassa’
  18. HAIM – ‘Los Angeles’
  19. Fleet Foxes – ‘Mykonos’
  20. The Snuts – ‘Glasgow’
  21. Declan McKenna – ‘Brazil’
  22. The Beautiful South – ‘Rotterdam’
  23. Phoenix – ‘S.O.S. In Bel Air’
  24. Elvis Presley – ‘Viva Las Vegas’
  25. Bruce Springsteen – ‘Atlantic City’
  26. The Beach Boys – ‘Salt Lake City’
  27. The Clash – ‘London Calling’
  28. Chuck Berry – ‘Route 66’
  29. LCD Soundsystem – ‘New York, I Love You but You’re Bringing Me Down’
  30. The Beatles – ‘Back In The USSR’
  31. The Lovin’ Spoonful – ‘Summer in the City’
  32. Sufjan Stevens – ‘Chicago’
  33. Paul Simon – ‘Graceland’
  34. Lou Reed – ‘Berlin’
  35. The Byrds – ‘Nashville West’
  36. Editors – ‘Munich’
  37. The Fall – ‘Edinburgh Man’
  38. Pulp – ‘Sheffield Sex City’
  39. Leonard Cohen – ‘Chelsea Hotel #2’
  40. Lana Del Rey – ‘Arcadia’

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