Around the World in Eight Songs
By Samantha Woolf
Imagine dropping all responsibilities, booking a plane ticket, and flying to somewhere far away. Unfortunately, a giant tour around the world doesn’t happen every day, but with a great playlist, you can pretend! Here are some songs to take you on your trip all around the globe — and this journey is all expenses paid!
Barcelona by George Ezra
Ezra’s voice easily glides across the notes. He uses a lot of emotion and storytelling elements in his singing style. A simple background of tambourine, acoustic guitar, and maracas lets Ezra’s vocals shine. Most importantly, "Barcelona" uses incredibly intricate guitar picking. This feature adds some Spanish flair to the song.
Amsterdam by Gregory Alan Isakov
I had the pleasure of covering a Gregory Alan Isakov concert for WERS. Seeing him live made it clear he really knows how to put his soul into a song. “Amsterdam” is slow and emotionally charged, featuring a soothing acoustic guitar. Isakov’s voice is soft, but carries a lot of power, especially towards the end. With moving background singing chords, the ending verse of “Amsterdam” commands attention.
Ethiopia by Red Hot Chili Peppers
Listeners are hooked immediately by Flea’s funky bassline. This song was inspired by Flea’s experience getting lost in Ethiopia. “Ethiopia” has a steady beat throughout, held together by the drum kit. This song certainly has that classic Red Hot Chili Peppers style.
French (feat. Sophie Meiers) by Verzache
First, nature sounds set a peaceful tone at the beginning of “French.” It’s a hodge-podge of instruments and multiple different singing voices overlapping. There’s even an electronic vocal filter used! “French” is definitely not a traditional song, but it does draw listeners into quite the musical experience.
Haiti by Arcade Fire
Arcade Fire band member Régine Chassagne is of Haitian descent. She used her connection with the country in this song. “Haiti” describes the turmoil of the country her parents fled in the 1960s. Arcade Fire included Haitian influences throughout the song, including singing in French. The Chassagne’s faded vocals cast a haunted influence throughout.
Portugal by WALK THE MOON
"Portugal" has an electric background track that feels alive. Each new lyric builds the intensity of the song. Then, in the chorus the band delivers an important message: “Even on your own, you are not alone.” WALK THE MOON wrote this song when they were in performing in Portugal. They used their experiences touring around the world in the lyrics. This upbeat tune certainly calls for singing along and dancing.
Japanese Denim by Daniel Caesar
This is a song that takes its time. The rhythms and sounds from the drums and electric guitar slowly tumble after each other. Caesar lets his impressively high vocal range really show at the end of the song. Also adding backup vocals adds a new layer to “Japanese Denim” to really draw listeners in.
Brazil by Declan McKenna
Born in 1998, this British singer/songwriter definitely is a young talent. This song catapulted him into popularity, earning him a recording contract. A slow groove, “Brazil” is about the FIFA corruption scandals. McKenna puts all his energy into his vocal performance, his voice even cracking at the end. This song will definitely have you tapping your toes to the beat.