Here are a few of my favorites:
(please note: I’ve excluded songs with boring, earthly things like “sunlight” and “moonlight” but songs about being on or travelling to the moon or sun made the cut)
1. “Drops of Jupiter” – Train
The moment that slamming piano line comes blasting in, you know you’re about to be taken on a journey through the atmosphere, to make your way through the constellations, to dance along the light of day.
Although Train has more or less distanced themselves into the generic (and kind of annoying) flavor of pop, 90s and 00s kids will remember this hit.
2. “The End of All Time” – Stars of Track and Field
Like Train above, the way the piano mixes into this long-forgotten track brings a celestial vibe that’s hard to beat. Throw in an electric drum machine and the occasional electric guitar and you have a winner.
(and yes, I’m fully aware that I’m the only one who even remembers this one, but Pandora suggested it once upon a time and more people should listen, and also it was on Grey’s Anatomy once.)
3. “Angels on the Moon” – Thriving Ivory
I’m not entirely sure what “angels on the moon” means: maybe it’s an obscure drug reference, or perhaps it just means some really vivid daydreaming, either way this song has the soapy operatics of its contemporary My Chemical Romance with the voice and grit of The Smashing Pumpkins.
Thriving Ivory is one of those bands that tried oh-so-very-hard to make it, and they enjoyed some minor fame at the time, but they never quite hit the big time. Which is unfortunate, because in a sea of emo wanabe’s, at least they were unique.
4. “Arthur’s Theme (The Best That You Can Do)” – Nadeah
Come on, everyone, you know the words to this 80s power ballad “IF YOU GET CAUGHT BETWEEN THE MOOON AND NEWWW YOOORK CIIIITTTYYY…!” Another song about New York and the Moon, this highly dramatic song comes from a goofy comedy . Considering there’s a few million miles between the two aforementioned locales this song is wonderfully silly.
The version I’ve included here is a cover from a compilation album called “Hollywood, Mon Amour” that tried to turn 80s cheese into viable, modern tracks. It most of the way works!
5. “Don’t Stop Me Now” – Queen
Unlike the other dramatic ballads above, this upbeat, instant cheer number needs no introduction. There’s something about the way Freddie singing about being “a shooting star, leaping through the sky like a tiger defying the laws of gravity” that makes you just want to get up and take on the entire universe. This is especially true if the urban legend of him doing the entire track in one take after downing a fifth of vodka is real.
6. “Like a Star” – Corinne Bailey Rae
This stellar track has been a staple of chillaxing playlists since it hit the charts in 2002 and it’s hard to miss why. No matter how bad you may feel, just throw on this soothing song and all your worries will melt away.
Similar to Norah Jones’ jazz-pop-fusion blend here across the pond, Corinne’s music is like your favorite local Fair Trade single-source coffeehouse but you know… without dealing with people.
7. “Cosmic Love” – Florence + The Machine
Like most other Florence tracks, this is a big, big sound, for all that it starts out relatively unassuming. But don’t worry, Ms. Welch and the relentless pounding of a timpani break in quickly enough.
Again, as with other + The Machine productions, the music video is worth watching, if even just for the cool, surreality they seem to create just by existing.
8. “Major Tom” – Shiny Toy Guns
Out of all of the high-minded concepts and continued stories out of music, “Major Tom” is one of the strangest. Was he a literally an astronaut from the imagination of the Space Race? Was he a heroin junkie, with space being a metaphor? Was he the “Rocket Man” of Elton John fame? Who knows at this point.
Of all the songs in this strange, strange Expanded Universe of music, I decided to pick this one because it’s happier than Bowie’s original (it always makes me super crazy sad) and because I like it. So there. This cover always makes me really happy, too.
9. Champagne Supernova
I don’t care if it sounds like they’re saying “supernoVAR”, if one of the Gallaghers is a jerk (no, I don’t remember which), and the song makes zero sense when you think too hard about it, I still love this song.
Even cooler than that, NASA named a real-life space explosion after them!
10. “3030” – Deltron 3030
Called “Ice Cube’s Eccentric Cousin” (they really are related!), Del the Funky Homosapien put together this future-space-rap opera concept album with his fellow soon-to-be Gorillaz alums like Damon Alburn and Dan the Automator that landed on the soundrack of Tony Hawk Underground and was promptly forgotten.
Not that I’m much of an authority on such things, but man are these hooks fire. I’m not sure when we’re going to see such a genre-bending concept again, but until then I’m going to keep spinning this.
Obvious Things I Didn’t Include:
- “Space Oddity” – David Bowie
- “Rocket Man” – Elton John
- “Space Cowboy” – Steve Miller Band
- “Supermassive Black Hole” – Muse (I kind of hate them)