top of page
  • Writer's pictureMax Aurora

A playlist: how i missed home and crossed the ocean

Updated: Aug 9

This article was written for Happy Mag in August 2023, link here:

What do you think of with music inspired by the ocean?

Is it sounds doused in reverb? Sea shanties? Surf rock? ‘My Heart Will Go On’?

To me it’s about the contrast of vastness and closeness (and of course reverb!). It’s also an exciting dreamy feeling of potential I felt from the ‘Maidentrip’ documentary about round-the-world sailor Laura Dekker (click herefor the trailer), which we tried to capture with ‘How I Missed Home’, and have further explored with this playlist:

I spent a good while tweaking this playlist so that the songs flowed in a way that satisfied my love for the ocean. The first section is about the intensity and immediacy of desire that the ocean can carry. A track that exemplifies this feeling is ‘One for the Road’ by Welsh post-hardcore band Funeral for a Friend. It’s from ‘Tales Don’t Tell Themselves’, their 2007 concept album about a fisherman lost at sea trying to get home. I interpret the song is told from the fisherman’s wife’s perspective as she ponders the weight of her desire to talk to him when he is so far away. The lyrics read like the painful longings of a diary, within a catchy pop-punk melody surrounded by a sound that goes from huge guitars in the chorus, to dreamy guitar in the verses. The track ends with the repeat of ‘you never lie’ sung as if someone is trying to scream it across the ocean.

In the next section of the playlist, the mood gets less epic and more introspective. If you know anything about mixing, think a low pass filter smothering the frequencies. A track that shows this is ‘At Sea’ by Australian artist Ali Barter, a hidden gem off her 2014 EP called ‘Community’. The song uses the idea of being buried out at sea as a metaphor for a struggle to communicate in a relationship. Swirling with reverb-heavy synths, the lyrics are full of intense but beautiful imagery:

“And I wait at the edge of an island Cut my feet on a beach made of diamonds And I run, and I’m ready for the silence”

The vibe then changes wildly for the last section, focusing on that bittersweet euphoric feeling I feel encapsulates the image of a sailor staring out into a vibrant twilight, thinking about home as they crash through the waves. Gang of Youths’ track ‘unison’ is a prime example of this, with lyrics that move along like a series of thoughts and epiphanies laced in poetry, which are connected to songwriter David Le’aupepe’s desire to connect to home, culture and family – alive and passed away.

When we get to the final two tracks, we’re hit with the most cliché of sailing songs, ‘Six Months in a Leaky Boat’ by Split Enz, which doesn’t need much of an introduction. The track has several interpretations, including being a metaphor for Tim Finn’s mental breakdown. For me, it’s underscored by a sarcastic/mocking tone of the mindset of the English colonialists who invaded Aotearoa.

And finally, we end with ‘Hello Earth’ by Kate Bush, the final track of her 1984 album ‘Hounds of Love’. This track ends the concept section called ‘The Ninth Wave’, which tells the story of a woman lost at sea. It’s a huge track, laden with mystery and awe. I won’t say much about it other than recommend reading the lyrics while listening to it.



Recent Posts

See All
bottom of page