The Albums That Transport You

Take a trip.,


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Welcome. If each day of the workweek corresponds to a gear on a five-speed car, then Monday might be “starting” and Thursday might be “cruising.” Wednesday, meanwhile, would be an in-between gear, a time when you’re driving around town running errands. When weeks drag, I think about getting to Wednesday, past the revving-up portion of the week and (ideally) into the getting-things-done phase. On Wednesdays, you’re actually getting somewhere.

If you’re feeling stuck, perhaps a music-fueled trip is in order. A few weeks ago, I mentioned a Rufus Wainwright album whose opening bars have the power to transport me to a very particular moment in time. I asked which albums do that for you and got so many excellent emails in response. Here’s a sample, edited for clarity.

  • “I listened to Everything but the Girl, ‘Acoustic,’ over and over again while backpacking solo in Eastern Europe in 1994. Listening to it takes me back to the moments riding on the train to the Czech Republic, walking through empty fields in Hungary, but mostly, just thinking of my then boyfriend (and now husband), missing him and wondering what I would do when I saw him again.” –Claudia Mellon, San Diego

  • Kodaline’s ‘In a Perfect World’ will always take me back to three years ago, to a road trip I took with my family. That pandemic-less time seems like ages ago, more so since almost an eighth of my existence has been spent behind a mask now.” –Rebeca Lopez, Mexico City

  • “The Beatles’s ‘Rubber Soul’ by has to be the most important album of all time for me. I was a young teenager about to embark on a short-lived, adolescent ‘like’ affair, nothing more. Beginning my young life as a romantic, nothing could have gotten me in the mood for romance more than the strains of ‘Michelle’ or ‘Norwegian Wood’ than my first crushes, Paul McCartney and his bandmate John Lennon. Let’s just say that with all this romance in the air, I could have fallen for any boy, and I did.” –Susan Scarpa, Manhattan

  • “The album that takes me right back to 1970 is ‘Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere’ by Neil Young with Crazy Horse. I just need to hear the beginning notes of the first track, ‘Cinnamon Girl,’ and I’m 17, back in my bedroom in Detroit. The scratchy green shag carpet is under my feet, I’m waiting for my not-very-reliable boyfriend to call, and my sweet Sicilian, Frank Sinatra-loving mom is screaming, ‘Turn that racket down!’ I must admit that since then I’ve listened to Frank much more than Neil but that album certainly has the power to (as Frank would say) make me feel so young.” –Jarie Saad Ruddy, Royal Oak, Mich.

Leslie Gregg from Pittsburgh is reading crime fiction.

I am a proud reader of all of Proust … who cannot stop reading Michael Connelly’s Bosch and Lincoln Lawyer books. The show “Bosch” was great, but ahh, the books. Ditto Ace Atkins, whose novels are being HBO-ized. Long live the non-guilty pleasure read. A Proust revisit can wait ’til deep winter.

What are you reading, watching, cooking, doing that you want to tell other Times readers about? Write to: Be sure to include your full name and location and we might feature your response in a future newsletter. We’re At Home and Away. We’ll read every letter sent. More ideas for passing the time, wherever you are, appear below. And I’ll be back on Friday.

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