Good sad moving songs
August 21, 2008 9:07 AM   Subscribe

In about a week I'll be moving with some friends across multiple state lines, and it's the first big move any of us have ever made. Suffice it to say we're all a little nervous, so I'd like to commemorate the occasion with a special mix tape. Specifically, I'm looking for any songs about the pain and struggle of moving to and/or living in a new place.

So far I've got three:

I Am, I Said - Neil Diamond
It Never Rains in Southern California - Albert Hammond
Midnight Train to Georgia - Gladys Knight and the Pips

Preferably they should be popular enough that my new roommates would likely have heard them before and thus will be able to fully savor the lyrical pertinence. No specific genre or generation constraints though. Thanks askmefi!
posted by ictow to Grab Bag (47 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
Moving on up: theme from the Jeffersons? Good for a laugh, lighten the mood is a good thing right?
posted by Mastercheddaar at 9:11 AM on August 21, 2008

Response by poster: We actually have an odd sort of humor, so I'd like the focus to be more on not-so-optimistic songs like the three above. I don't plan on telling them the nature of the mix, and I'd like to see how long it takes for them to catch on. But the Jeffersons will be a good palate cleanser in between.
posted by ictow at 9:16 AM on August 21, 2008

The first one that comes to my mind is "Some New Town" by Slobberbone

It's a jaunty little tune but sad and poignant at the same time....
posted by MeetCleaverTheatre at 9:20 AM on August 21, 2008

Kind of the opposite, but sad in a way that might work:
The Old Apartment, by Barenaked Ladies.
posted by Grither at 9:22 AM on August 21, 2008

Not about moving, but about living somewhere that sucks: Shit Towne by Live?
posted by AlisonM at 9:25 AM on August 21, 2008

Movin' Right Along (Muppets)
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 9:26 AM on August 21, 2008

Maybe some of these would work:
Leaving On A Jetplane-John Denver
You're Gonna Miss Me When You Go-Madeleine Peyroux
Homeward Bound-Simon & Garfunkel
Go West-Liz Phair
posted by katemcd at 9:26 AM on August 21, 2008

Neil Young - Alabama
posted by netbros at 9:27 AM on August 21, 2008

bright lights - matchbox 20
posted by mpls2 at 9:33 AM on August 21, 2008

'Motorbreath' by Metallica.
posted by Darth Fedor at 9:37 AM on August 21, 2008

The Only Living Boy in New York works wonders for me anytime I'm on a plane or train.
posted by andromache at 9:46 AM on August 21, 2008

Fast Car - Tracy Chapman
posted by polexa at 9:50 AM on August 21, 2008 [1 favorite]

Shiver Me Timbers, Tom Waits.
posted by lemuria at 9:52 AM on August 21, 2008

My wife and I recently moved from New Hampshire to Europe, and took a long US road trip along the way. Some of these songs -- related to moving or coming home in some way -- were on our playlist:

Prairie Town - The Wailin' Jennys
Freedom of the Road - Martin Sexton
Red River Valley - (There are hundreds of versions, but I'm partial to Woody Guthrie)
Smoky Mountain Memories - Bryan Sutton & Dolly Parton
Chicago - Sufjan Stevens
Don't Change Your Plans - Ben Folds Five (actually about not moving)
Homesick - Kings of Convenience
California - Low
(Don't Go Back To) Rockville - R.E.M.
Gone Gone Gone (Done Moved On) - Robert Plant & Alison Krauss
Leaving this Land - Robin & Linda Williams
Via Chicago - Wilco
Tennessee - Steve Earle
posted by dseaton at 9:54 AM on August 21, 2008 [1 favorite]

I'd suggest "The Boxer" over "Homeward Bound" if you're making a pick from the Simon songbook. It's more about a new place than returning to an old place, which seems more appropriate.

"At the Hundredth Meridian" by the Tragically Hip might work if your move takes you across it.

"City of New Orleans" might fit, maybe.

Destination: Anywhere? Wasted on the Way? Goodbye Yellow Brick Road?
posted by GhostintheMachine at 9:57 AM on August 21, 2008

Another Saturday Night - Originally by Sam Cooke, but I am partial to Cat Stevens' cover if you can find it
posted by TheOtherGuy at 9:59 AM on August 21, 2008

On Canadian Amp, Neko Case does a great cover of Lisa Marr's song "In California" that talks about missing Canadian snow in the land of eternal summer.
posted by ga$money at 10:01 AM on August 21, 2008

Oh.. and my homesick song when I am travelling...

1000 Miles Away by the Hoodoo Gurus
posted by TheOtherGuy at 10:01 AM on August 21, 2008

Time To Move On by Tom Petty. Sad. It's a letting go/life transition song, or was for me. Someone's even done some appropriate road trip photos to accompany the song in this youtube video. The open road, leading to the unkown...

Come A Long Way by Michelle Shocked. Not so sad, but another transition song. Maybe this can be on the post-catharsis recovery segment of the tape. Once again, appropriate road trip themes in the video. Even mentions railroads and has harmonica!

Speaking of Michelle Shocked, here's another one peripherally related to your situation - Anchorage. In this one, she left home a long time ago for NYC and is writing to an old friend from there. Sentimental.
posted by Askr at 10:07 AM on August 21, 2008

London - The Smiths (direct mp3 d/load)
Thousands are Sailing - The Pogues (playable link in first entry)
Letter From America - The Proclaimers (YT)
Fast Car - Tracy Chapman (first result has playable link)
posted by Jakey at 10:09 AM on August 21, 2008

The Golden Age - Beck. Kind of a driving-to-take-my-mind-off-the-breakup song.
Road - Nick Drake. Same as above.
posted by LionIndex at 10:11 AM on August 21, 2008

"Indian Summer" by Beat Happening.
posted by The corpse in the library at 10:11 AM on August 21, 2008

Goodbye Marie by the Gear Daddies.
posted by wenestvedt at 10:16 AM on August 21, 2008

A Matter of Time – Los Lobos
Four Strong Winds – Ian and Sylvia
Promised Land – Chuck Berry (lots of cover versions of this)

It'd be helpful to know where you're going to and coming from.
posted by timeistight at 10:25 AM on August 21, 2008

What? All this Simon and no Graceland?
posted by thebellafonte at 10:39 AM on August 21, 2008

I'm almost embarrassed to suggest "Walk on the Ocean" by Toad the Wet Sprocket.
posted by kimdog at 10:45 AM on August 21, 2008

Going to California - Led Zeppelin
posted by peep at 11:11 AM on August 21, 2008

Cities--Talking Heads
posted by Camofrog at 11:35 AM on August 21, 2008

Welcome to Paradise by Green Day
Homeward Bound by Simon & Garfunkel
posted by wmeredith at 11:38 AM on August 21, 2008

Response by poster: We're going to Chicago from Minneapolis. These suggestions are really wonderful! To add one myself, 'Here I Go Again" by Whitesnake.
posted by ictow at 11:38 AM on August 21, 2008

The Fairest of the Seasons- Nico (YT)
posted by rebel_rebel at 12:16 PM on August 21, 2008

Far Away - Ingrid Michaelson
Leaving New York - R.E.M.
Omaha - Counting Crows
Must Get Out - Maroon 5
posted by agentwills at 12:16 PM on August 21, 2008

R.E. M. - Letter Never Sent
R.E.M. - Little America
One After 909 - Beatles
Talking Heads - Cities (definitely this)
Johnny Cash - I've Been Everywhere
Driving on 9 (Breeders cover or Ed's Redeeming Qualities original)
Todd Rundgren - Time Heals
U2 - Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For
Pete Droge - Going Whichever Way the Wind Blows
Kristin Hersh - 37 Hours
Steely Dan - Any World That I'm Welcome To
XTC - Travels in Nihilon
Liz Phair - Support System
posted by aught at 1:00 PM on August 21, 2008

Grant Hart's 2541 is a great one, as is Leavin' Here by the High Numbers (later The Who).
posted by klangklangston at 1:46 PM on August 21, 2008

The Band - Acadian Driftwood
posted by chugg at 1:57 PM on August 21, 2008

History of a Boring Town by Less Than Jake. Not exactly about moving, but about a place anyone would want to leave.
posted by workerant at 2:08 PM on August 21, 2008

No matter what, your tape need to end with a little FREEBIRD!!!
posted by vodkaboots at 2:59 PM on August 21, 2008

White Freightliner Blues, Townes Van Zandt
LA Freeway, Guy Clark or Jerry Jeff Walker
Jubilee Train/Do Re Mi/Promised Land, Dave Alvin
posted by Killick at 4:31 PM on August 21, 2008

...and, one more:
Goin' Down the Road Feeling Bad, Grateful Dead
posted by Killick at 4:34 PM on August 21, 2008

Wow, I am amazed that nobody has yet suggested:
(Sittin' On) The Dock of the Bay- Otis Redding
First thing I thought of anyway.
posted by DanielDManiel at 5:21 PM on August 21, 2008

By The Time I Get To Phoenix -Glen Campbell
posted by bonobothegreat at 6:17 PM on August 21, 2008

Some more oblique than others:

Los Angeles—X
Leavin' On Your Mind—Patsy Cline
Moving to LA—Art Brut
Many Happy Returns—ABC
posted by klangklangston at 7:55 PM on August 21, 2008

Just listen to all of Bruce Springsteen's "driving down the highway, I'm on the run but I got nothing to lose" songs. That should get you across several states.

I recommend saving "A Wreck on the Highway" until last.
posted by Beardman at 8:24 PM on August 21, 2008

A New Career in a New Town by David Bowie off of the album Low.

It's instrumental, but manages to convey the feeling so brilliantly it's almost unreal. One of the greatest-named instrumental tracks I've ever heard, along perhaps with Yes! I am a Long Way from Home by Mogwai.

Also on that mixtape could go the track Yes! I am a Long Way from Home by Mogwai.
posted by Cantdosleepy at 4:38 AM on August 22, 2008

The Beatles - She's Leaving Home (if you have girls in the group)
posted by softlord at 5:59 AM on August 22, 2008

5 Chinese Brothers - Baltimore.

Looking back now, you know I do believe
When I lived in Baltimore, I couldn't wait to leave
Go somewhere else and get a brand-new start
Now I'm dressing up the past 'cause the present is falling apart
The older we get the more we stay the same
Chasing after something that doesn't even have a name
You know, we'll always trade what we've got for what we had before
Everybody's a fool for something, I'm a fool for Baltimore.
posted by TomSophieIvy at 11:25 AM on August 22, 2008

Lee Hazlewood - I Move Around
Lee Hazlewood & Nancy Sinatra - Elusive Dreams (probably too much pathos)
The Zombies - I Must Move
Bobby Bare Jr. - Stay in Texas
Led Zeppelin - When the Levee Breaks ("Going to Chicago")
posted by hydrophonic at 9:24 PM on August 23, 2008

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