We just celebrated Columbus Day in the United States, one of our most contentious holidays. I’m not going to wade into that controversy, other than to say I get it, but set that aside for a moment and at its core Columbus Day celebrates the human urge for discovery.
In the 21st century we’ve replaced wooden ships with rockets when discovering new worlds, but more importantly now that we have a complete map of this world we’ve turned our collective adventurous spirit toward other kinds of discovery. Sometimes that’s spiritual discovery, scientific, artistic, social, cultural, on and on.
I guess my point is that we’re fortunate to live in a time and place when discovering the consequences of that ill-fated voyage 500 years ago is more important than discovering a shorter trade route. Not that we’re beyond looking for shorter trade routes: As the Arctic thaws new, shorter shipping routes are opening up, and countries are scrambling to plant their proverbial flags. The end result will probably include some horrific unintended consequences, at least if history is any indication.
Anyway, discovery songs:
“Six Months In A Leaky Boat,” Split Enz.
“The New World,” X.
“Brave New World,” Public Image, Ltd.
“Come Sail Away,” Styx.
“World Before Columbus,” Suzanne Vega.
“Life on Mars,” David Bowie.
“Alien Shore,” Rush.
“To Tame A Land,” Iron Maiden.
There you have it: Eight songs of discovery. What did I miss? I’m listening.