Monday, May 19, 2008

Worldly Lyrics

Being a geography geek by upbringing, more comfortable with National Geographic than The National Enquirer, I’m always pleased to hear rock songs mention world locations.

The Beatles, for example, referenced the Soviet republics of Ukraine and Georgia decades before their independence in 1968’s “Back in the U.S.S.R.” Toto’s “Africa” gives a nod to both Mount Kilimanjaro and the Serengeti Plain of Kenya and Tanzania.

This week, one of the CDs in my car was Probot, the metal side project of the Foo Fighters’ Dave Grohl. I heard a wonderfully obscure geographical reference in the song on the album featuring guest vocalist Max Cavalera of Sepultura, “Red War:”

The sign of the cross I carry into war
The Khyber Pass where no one rests

To the best of my music memory, this is only the second song to mention the strategic mountain pass between what is now Afghanistan and what is now Pakistan.

The first song is a veritable bounty of world-geek references. Tom Cochrane’s “Life Is a Highway” blesses us with this atlas-hugger’s dream line:

From Mozambique to those Memphis nights
The Khyber Pass to Vancouver’s lights

Beat that, National Geographic.

Speaking of music and world locations…

(1) I’ll be leaving the country late tomorrow for a week at the edge of civilization—a place I fear going to lest I lose touch with my personal safety and sanity.

Yes, I’m going to France.

Although I’ll miss the opportunity to react to your comments here, I’m looking forward to seeing your words upon my return—when I’ll surely post something about my trip to the Old World.

(2) I’ve recently joined some gifted music critics on the Whole Lotta Album Covers site as a fellow contributor.

In the past couple of weeks, I’ve posted there my musings on the covers of Skid Row’s Slave to the Grind and Rush’s Vapor Trails. Ray, Mark, Chuck, and Bob have recently shared their thoughts about album covers by artists ranging from Robert Johnson to Battleroar, from Tom Waits to Chainsaw.

Check out the site while I’m gone. You won’t regret it.


At May 20, 2008 7:08 AM, Anonymous Anonymous replied to my musings ...

Gotta love that French bashing.

At May 20, 2008 8:39 AM, Blogger DaBich replied to my musings ...

ACK! I hope they let you out alive!


Enjoy your trip.

At May 20, 2008 12:24 PM, Blogger Barbara(aka Layla) replied to my musings ...

Ayez l'amusement en France, mangez quelques escargots

At May 20, 2008 10:21 PM, Blogger Jessica replied to my musings ...

I went to Paris a couple years ago...I was worried that everyone would be rude...but turns out they were nice. I even met a few of the locals and they were very disenchanted with there government and were actually pro-American. I was really surprised! Hope you have a good time. :)
I didn't know that Dave Grohl had a metal album-I'll have to check it out!

At May 20, 2008 10:23 PM, Blogger Jessica replied to my musings ... grammatical error (their government) I'm sure there's more, but that's the one I caught. :)

At May 20, 2008 10:33 PM, Blogger David Amulet replied to my musings ...

WIGSF: French bashing is overrated. I vow to avoid it from here on ... unless they piss me off during my trip.

Dabich: Be more concerned for their welfare than mine.

Barbara: Je vous remercie de tout coeur.

Jessica: Sure, I've bashed the French--but I've loved Paris and the Parisians every time I've visited. And, FYI, the artist and album name are both "Probot," and Dave uses guest singers like Lemmy (Motorhead), Max (Sepultura), and Cronos (Venom). Some really good stuff!

At May 20, 2008 10:45 PM, Blogger Jessica replied to my musings ...


At May 22, 2008 3:25 PM, Blogger dragonflyfilly replied to my musings ...

how weird is this? - have not stopped by here for ages (i was away on Vancouver Island) BUT last night i had the strangest dream...i dreamt that I was at the Eifel Tower, but it was all delapedated and kind of sinking into a rough ocean, tipping over sideways and we were trying to navigate our way around it...scary and exciting at the same time, then when checking my email i got your notice of a new post!! - isn't that weird...anyway, have a tres fab time; hope to hear from you when you get back fron France, and get an UPDATE on the condition of the Tower (lol)


p.s. "life is a highway" is my theme song!

At May 22, 2008 8:19 PM, Blogger Dr. John replied to my musings ...

Dave - check out this link for a little french humor:

At May 22, 2008 9:25 PM, Blogger Mike replied to my musings ...

Geographical lyrics, eh? Springsteen's Hungry Heart mentions Kingstown or Kingston, depends how you listen. Both refer to my hometown in NY, and then we finally got to Woodstock, 20 minutes away, with CSN&Y, and joined Carly Simon in Saratoga. Of course, this journey all started because of my NY State of Mind made me take a Greyhound on the Hudson River Line. Yeah, I'll bet if we all counted how many songs referred to areas within 2 hours of our hometowns, I'd be close to the top.

As for France, enjoy, laisez les bon temps roulez!!!!

At May 26, 2008 3:28 PM, Blogger :P fuzzbox replied to my musings ...

Have fun in France. If that's possible.

At May 27, 2008 12:34 PM, Blogger Kayla replied to my musings ...

Had no clue Dave Grohl was into heavy metal..
Have to give him props for use of a cool location in songwriting. And even made a rhyme!

Enjoy France!

At May 27, 2008 3:48 PM, Blogger David Amulet replied to my musings ...

I have returned, safe and sound. I'll get a post up about my trip later today or tomorrow. Until then ...

DFL: What a coincidence! The tower was not falling down, however, so I guess you aren't psychic.

Dr. J: I'll head to that site next.

Mike: We probably could do posts with lyrics about individual cities, states, or countries. I have a feeling Estonia may be a short post.

Fuzz: It was fun. It would be even better without all those French people.

Kayla: Dave grew up a BIG metal fan. He has a damn good pop sense for being a metalhead!

At May 27, 2008 7:17 PM, Blogger Mike replied to my musings ...

I guess you could now say "I've been everywhere, man..."


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