To be perfectly honest, all I’ve been listening to this week is the Tragically Hip. I was one of the few lucky bastards to snag tickets to their final tour (technically I’ll be at their final show), so I’ve been listening to Now For Plan A most days, along with some of my other favorite Hip tracks. But as the excitement grows around my upcoming vacation to the Pacific Northwest, I’ve had some travel tunes stuck in my head too. Songs about the West Coast, songs about the places I’ll be visiting. Songs about quitting my job, because you know the last few weeks before vacation are always the most difficult at work. So I thought I’d assemble a list of some of those songs for the Friday Five.
1. Wimps – “Quit Your Job”
I’m counting down the seconds until I can ditch my place of employment for 10 days of freedom. You know how it is — they know that you’re getting some time off, so they do their best to work you to death before you leave. You know, just so you start your vacation stressed and exhausted. It happens every time. And as I grind my teeth through the frustration, I always have this song in my head.
Staring down the clock / Oh no, they don’t pay you enough
2. Sleater-Kinney – “Light Rail Coyote”
Portland is where we’ll be spending the majority of our time, though our travels will also take us to Seattle, Olympia, Astoria and beyond. And I can’t think of Portland without getting Sleater-Kinney’s homage to their city in my head. It has some of my favorite Brownstein riffs, and is one of the best S-K tracks, in my opinion.
Burnside will be our street / where the kids and the hookers meet / diners and strip club junk / bookstores and punk rock clubs
3. Angus & Julia Stone – “Big Jet Plane”
I have no beef with John Denver, but I like this as an alternative to “Leaving on a Jet Plane.”
Gonna hold ya, gonna kiss ya in my arms / Gonna take ya away from harm / Gonna take her for a ride on a big jet plane
4. Bright Eyes – “June on the West Coast”
I’m always drawn to songs about traveling from place to place, seeking out a space that feels like home, asking a city to claim us. I suppose I’m a bit of a wanderer, still unclaimed, trying to find a place to permanently call home. Until then, I’ll keep traveling with my love, and someday we’ll finally land. [Technically I have found that place, but it requires moving to another country, and that’s not as easy as they make it seem in the movies.]
I visited my brother on the outskirts of Olympia / where the forest and the water become one
5. Indigo Girls – “Hey Kind Friend”
This one’s a bit of a sad tune, but beautiful and simple. I’ve always loved the geographical references and the images they conjure when I listen to the song. Makes me feel like I’m right there too, watching that sunset in Washington.
I was too late for Spokane, so I caught a ride through the Cascade range / I saw the sun die in Olympia, running down on Capitol Lake