Europe 2015

My brother will be the first to tell you that I can’t even pull out of the driveway without putting a playlist on. That I am almost completely incapable of doing anything without music. I’ll give him that, but I do remember a time when it wasn’t just me leaving the stereo on all night while we slept – letting LIVE105 feed into our subconsciousness. So naturally it isn’t to anyone’s surprise that a playlist would exist for the purpose of this trip.

Ah, but there is a surprise. This trip exists because of the playlist.

Let’s dig deeper.


“What came first – the music or the misery? Did I listen to the music because I was miserable? Or was I miserable because I listened to the music? Do all those records turn you into a melancholy person?”

– Nick Hornby, High Fidelity

Play or Follow on Spotify:

What Didn’t Make The Cut:

The Fray – Munich

Impromptu Addition to my Itinerary:

George Ezra – Budapest

When I realized I had to go back to Vienna, I remembered a song. I remembered a song that I discovered right around the time of my last trip to Vienna. Written by The Fray, Vienna was as poignant then as it is now. I opened Spotify on my laptop and mindlessly dragged it into its own playlist. At the time it wasn’t even titled, I just wanted it close by. In between all the other thoughts that bombard my mind faster than the speed of sound, and almost as fast as the speed of light, I thought more about the inevitable trip. I thought about what else I could do besides Vienna. Maybe I could escape, or at least drag my family to a nearby destination. After all, Austria is more like a state than it is a country like the United States. It isn’t remarkably large geographically, and like the rest of Europe, visiting another country is as easy as a weekend drive out of town.

I remembered at some time ago, I went to Prague – I had to have gone to Prague. I’ve been to Austria so many times the details of what I have and hadn’t seen are an indeterminable blur. And then it hit me: I wonder if there is a track titled Prague. That evening after work I remembered to look, and sure enough, there was at least one. So I put the headphones on over my ears and sat back to discover what my musical universe had in store for me. I hit play and closed my eyes.

The song reverberated along my heartstrings and amplified itself from within my soul.

I added it to the playlist.

I then thought to look for Frankfurt, as I had conceived the idea of heading there after Prague. When I hit play on a Frankfurt track, I was immediately repulsed – not that I don’t like techno or EDM… I just look at the lyrics of songs as much as I’m listening for a catchy melody.

I scrolled and scrolled, and found nothing else that directly said Frankfurt .

Then I remembered, my friend Mike recommended Munich or Berlin over Frankfurt. So I typed in Munich and held my breath. The first song was a miss  – it made my ears hurt – but the second… the second was, surprisingly, by The Fray again. I held my breath and listened to the lyrics. It fit too well for me not to add it.

The playlist continued like this – until I got to Switzerland. Originally I intended to go Zurich, but much like Frankfurt, Zurich was an electronic song. I know I look far too into things as it is, but it’s quite curious that both Zurich and Frankfurt are huge banking cities. So, again, I tried a suggestion from Mike – Geneva. After that, I thought I was done.

After that was back to Vienna. So shouldn’t I just add The Fray’s version to the end and let it play again? I let that ruminate for a few hours while I went to the gym. When I came home the decision was made – I couldn’t end on the same foot I started on, that’s not how this works. So I grabbed the other Vienna song I saw there -Matt Skiba and the Sekrets version.

I had no clue who that was – or who were most of the artists on the playlist for that matter, but I let it play.

Were you one of those people who did the Ice Bucket Challenge a few months ago? If you did, thanks. No I’m not thanking you for donating, I’m facetiously thanking you for contributing to our drought problem. Anyhow. That feeling of the coldest water imaginable pouring down your backside. That’s what happened next.

Not even a minute passed before a tear broke from the corner of my eye. How the hell does this happen to me? The universe and I, or God and I (which ever suites you best), have the weirdest relationship imaginable. How many mere coincidences do there need to be before I have enough observations to make some sort of conclusion I can be comfortable and at peace with.

The following morning I went back over the playlist, and the two tracks from The Fray stuck out to me like a sore thumb. There had to be another Munich track. Shouldn’t there be? I listened to the remaining three tracks – and on the third try, The New Division fit the role and got the part in this story. Sorry The Fray, nothing personal. I mean, it is bu- whatever.

So, here it is.

The playlist that determined my final destinations on this trip. Each track in some way personifies the feelings I carry inside, the feelings I carry to Europe, the feelings I want to let go of.

I wonder if I’ll get to the end, and I wonder if it will get better. Truly get better from when I started, and where I started.

I wonder if I can leave it all with old Vienna, and find something special in a new Vienna.

I wonder what lies in store past this next sunrise.

Enjoy the tunes, and remember to check all my other Monthly Mashups. I publish one a month. Let me know what you think, what you like or dislike, or what you think I should be listening to other than this rubbish.