You’re going to need a playlist.
Not for the actual event – that should be two minutes and forty-one seconds of quality silence, orchestrated by freaked-out birds and chilly cicadas who stop swiping left when the temps drop because they don’t have enough body heat to look for a date. You definitely need to be unplugged and present for that.
But there will be a lot of travel time to fill up as people make their way towards the Path of Totality, and for that you’re going to need tunes. My own journey starts on Friday, August 18 and will involve many hours in the car. Every now and then I get a little bit tired of listening to the sound of “Hamilton”, so here are a few ideas on what to look for in appropriate music.
1) It should contain factual information, and no song gets that better than “Brain Damage/Eclipse” by Pink Floyd from the album Dark Side of the Moon.
One side of the moon is always lit by the sun, but the lit side isn’t always facing the Earth. This is how we get the phases of the moon. For a solar eclipse to occur, it needs to be in its “new moon” phase. During the new moon, the dark side of the moon is directly facing the Earth.
Brian Resnick vox.com
Nobody puts the lunatic in lunar quite like Pink Floyd, and their lyrics perfectly illustrate what it will be like if it’s too crowded or the weather doesn’t cooperate:
And if the cloud bursts, thunder in your ear
You shout and no one seems to hear.
And if the band you’re in starts playing different tunes
I’ll see you on the dark side of the moon.
I am going to be so mad if it rains. I know I shouldn’t worry about that but every now and then I get a little bit nervous that the rest of all the clouds won’t go by.
2) It should reference all parties involved, so anything mentioning the sun, the moon, or a shadow are acceptable. Easy enough, as there are a million songs that touch on all these things. “Here Comes the Sun” will be great as it emerges from behind the darkness. “Moonshadow” is a twofer! If you’re a Smashmouth fan (and who isn’t!) “Walking on the Sun” can merge right into “Walking on the Moon” by the Police. I’m putting together a mashup of “Big Hard Sun” and “Moondance” – it worked perfectly when I sang it in the car this morning so I just need a sound editor to mix it together for me and maybe add some reverb and autotune my voice. (Fun fact: I always thought the song was “Big Hot Sun” until I googled it just now. One of those “someone ate my wife tonight” situations.)
3) It should probably be something pretty obvious that everyone can sing. Come on, you know what I’m talking about! “Then you flew your Learjet to Nova Scotia, to see the total eclipse of the sun”.
In the 1970s, a small group of astronomers used the first prototype of the Concorde to pursue a total eclipse across the Sahara at twice the speed of sound.
When I read about these scientists who chartered the Concorde in order to follow the Path of Totality across the earth for 70 minutes, I actually thought it was this episode that Carly Simon was referring to in “You’re So Vain”. But apparently this happened in 1973 and the song was written in 1971, so I guess not. Unless . . . the plane went fast enough to reverse the spin of the earth and turn back time so that Warren Beatty could go with them! Turn, earth! Turn around!
It’s so easy to find the correct info on the internet. And I’ll only be making it right, ‘Cause we’ll never be wrong together! We can take it to the end of the line –
this blog is like a shadow on me all of the time (all of the time).
I don’t know what to do and I’m always in the dark.
It’s like I’m living in a powder keg and giving off sparks.
Nothing I can do.
But let’s just return to the start . . .
You’re going to need a playlist.
Note: Here are some songs you should NOT add to your iPod
A Whiter Shade of Pale
On a Clear Day You Can Nazi Forever
Waitin’ for the Robert E. Lee
Springtime for Hitler
Tomorrow Belongs To Me