One of the first bits of advice I received upon moving to NYC was to get noise canceling headphones/earbuds for the subway and to always have music playing in them. This, of course, was already a given for me because I don’t really do much without a constant soundtrack playing. Good (and loud) music is essential in my world.
What I needed to have, however, was a good mix for the subway (and general city walking). I’m pretty much addicted to Pandora (The xx station is my current favorite) so I had to actually dig into my iTunes collection to compile some good songs so as to move between street and ground levels without skipping a beat.
As anyone who grew up in the era of cassette tapes will tell you, compiling a mix is an art. There must be a logical order to the songs… a progression of tempo and smooth genre transitions (if using multiple genres). I believe I perfected this art by the age of 18. I had mixes for hanging out, for when I had a crush and for introducing new music to someone. And I still do.
So the challenge became creating a mix for the train – a mode of transportation with a rhythm of its own. My first choice was “Paper Boats” by Nada Surf, which is actually about being on the subway. After that, I felt I needed to match the tone of “Paper Boats” so I chose some Radiohead, My Morning Jacket, Black Keys, Kid Cudi, Gorillaz and The xx. I’m not a music writer, so I can’t use any fancy terminology; I just know that the songs I chose go perfectly together… and they are all good for watching stops go by as the train rocks to the next destination.
Music mixes are personal. I could list every song on my subway mix here, but that would be useless – it’s MY mix. Everyone feels the same rhythm on the train, but everyone feels it differently. What’s on your mix?
Photo Credit: nyportraits.blogspot.com