This Week’s Top 5: Songs That Instantly Transport You



Everything In Its Right Place, Radiohead

It’s grey and cold. I’m tired and something is in its right place but it’s because it is new, and it is different, and there is a chance I’ll be somewhere different tomorrow. It’s contented and my chest is filled with speculation and anticipation. I’ve just fallen in love and have this song to remember him by as he’s gone to a slower place for a long time. I join him there and there were times for walking and watching. It’s a period of immense openness. 

I Only Have Eyes For You, The Flamingos

There was a stretch of Keene Road in Largo, Florida, that felt like the 60s in the 80s: blooming orange blossoms in the Sunday night air, big stars in the sky, and it was a long, straight and always free of red lights drive. My dad used that road to take me back home to my mom’s house after a weekend spent at his place. At least, that is how I remembered it all. It is bound to be a radically different thoroughfare these days where the orange groves have been razed down for the sake of the almighty condo. But then, as I lay somewhat melancholy in the back seat of my dad’s baby blue Maverick and listened to the Sunday Night Oldies show on the radio, it was a very transitional time. That song came on every Sunday night at somepoint during that drive and as my regular bout with ‘Sunday Blues’ settled in I knew another sunny and relaxing Floridian weekend with my dad was ending. 

Southern Cross, Crosby, Stills and Nash

Nothing like a cold beer, clear skies and a 34′ sloop sail boat hauling ass through the Gulf of Mexico on a sunny summer afternoon. 

Smooth Operator, Sade

The drums and bass that start Sade’s ‘Smooth Operator’ throw me directly into the dream state of the 9 year old girl I used to be. I remember endless hours anchored in front of MTV and this video was a favorite. Mysterious and sexually in control, Sade was a woman of intrigue in a dangerous place and I wanted to be her so badly. I tucked myself away in a tropical oasis in my head and ran with the quick and the powerful. My life was going to be exotic too. Every time I hear this song I struggle with packing up my belongings and moving to the Caribbean to live on the sailboat from the song above. I see a theme here…

Anything from the album ‘Protection,’ Massive Attack

This entire album was the soundtrack to some inner-metaphysical shift in my early 20s. These songs remind me of times slow, sleepy and suggestive. I’m reminded of Europe and cigarettes, French critical theory and bloody marys, Latino men and dance. 



Bittersweet Symphony, The Verve

Many last song calls meant Bittersweet Symphony would play, a dance with Michael, and a mix of sadness and satisfaction.

Gravity Rides Everything, Modest Mouse

There’s something about the acoustic guitar, the dreamy sound and the simple drumstick beat keeping that makes me just want to sway.

Where Did You Sleep Last Night, Nirvana

This song is raw and desperate and when Kurt Cobain’s voice goes from the barely-audible, solo breakdown to the straight-out howl, I swear I’ve never heard so much emotion.

This Mess We’re In, PJ Harvey and Thom Yorke 

I always hear this song in my dreams.  I’m lost, it’s night-time, the landscape is vast, the options many and I’m being chased.  But I still have you.

Blew Away, Smashing Pumpkins

Another example of how dreaminess and good melody captivate me.  The Pumpkins never sounded sweeter with James Iha at the mic.



American Pie, Don McLean

When I was seven or eight driving home from a soccer game on the last night of summer with my brother and mom, we had the windows rolled down in our station wagon and sang American Pie at the top of our lungs. It reminds me of the freedom of summer, excitement about a new school year and being young and in the moment. 

True Fine Love, Steve Miller Band

My boyfriend T.J. and drove around in his truck in college and listened to this song, holding hands and smoking cigarettes. Young love.

Jimi Thing, Dave Matthews & Tim Reynolds

I listened to this song–and album–obsessively when I lived in Mexico and traveled in Central America. It takes me back to a simple time in a foreign country with endless beautiful beaches.

(Sittin’ on) The Dock of the Bay, Otis Redding

Countless night feeding the juke box at P.J. Clarke’s right when I moved to New York, Dock of the Bay always made the playlist.

I’m Goin’ Down, Mary J. Blige

Right after my friends and I all started driving, we’d cruise around and belt this one out in off-key chaos. It was the first taste of freedom. 



(I Just) Died in Your Arms Tonight, Cutting Crew

Pretty sure it was sixth grade and I was at a Big 5 dance, and the boy I liked would not ask me to slow dance to this song. 

All of My Life, Phil Collins / Heal the Pain, George Michael

One word — Encounter. 

Across the Sea, Weezer

First loves.

Don’t Look Back in Anger, Oasis

To being young(er) and with friends. Life seemed simpler and more fun. Makes me feel nostalgic, which I did not used to feel until lately. Sort of sad.

Bodysnatchers, Radiohead

Makes me wish Radiohead could be brand new again to me. Like I see the white heat of space.



Gazebo, The Wedding Present

Always makes me think of a certain boy the I obsessed over for two years.  My first of many one sided love affairs.  You always want the one you can’t have.

Yeah, Yeah, Yeah, Yeah – The Wedding Present

Another Wedding Present song, but who cares.  This song always makes me think of Autumn.  Of us driving around in Gainesville, and me bouncing around in the car to this song because it is so madly poppy that you have to dance to it without shame. 

Go Your Own Way – Fleetwood Mac

Always makes me think of my first boyfriend.

Freedom ’90 – George Michael

Dancing with my ladies.  I never feel more alive than when I’m on a dance floor with Mariola, letting it all out to this song. 

Into the Mystic – Van Morrison

1989.  For the first time in my life, I was grounded.  For a month.  This destroyed me for one reason.  The movie ‘Dream a Little Dream’, starring my beloved Corey Feldman, was coming out the first weekend of my punishment.  I was right to be panicked since the movie didn’t last in the theaters very long and was gone by the time the month was over.  All I had was the soundtrack for the movie to listen to over and over.  This song was on the soundtrack.  It was the first time I realized how magical music could be.  This song is so dreamy and beautiful.  It still gives me shivers and makes me want to fall in love.

BONUS:  Check out the songs here.


One response to “This Week’s Top 5: Songs That Instantly Transport You

  1. Oh Autumn, I too have fond memories of your Latino men phase.

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