Some of my favorite music memories involve taking a long drive on a warm night, with windows down, in the middle of nowhere while blasting a good album. In college and high school, my favorite night driving albums were Massive Attack’s Blue Lines & Protection, Tricky’s Maxinquaye, Radiohead’s Kid A, Spoon’s Girls Can Tell, Portishead’s Dummy, etc. These albums were especially good for the long drive I’d frequently make between Athens, Ohio and Dayton, Ohio (it’s a two hour drive primarily along winding roads through forest, underdeveloped areas). I’ve come to find that everyone has a different concept of what constitutes “good night driving music.” For example, my friend James liked to listen to Henry Rollins spoken word albums for that same drive. If I wanted something a little “brighter” I liked to tune in to Mama Jazz on Miami of Ohio’s local NPR affiliate – not for the jazz (which was great) – but because I loved Mama Jazz’s voice.
Nowadays, my universe is smaller than it used to be. I live in San Francisco, and I rarely take long night drives outside of San Francisco. So I don’t find myself seeking out those night driving anthems like I used to. But when I hear Feist’s Metals, I can’t help but think to myself: “This sounds like great night driving music.” It’s subtly nuanced and beautifully arranged with crisp production and a heavy, dark ambiance. When you imagine Feist recording this album, it’s nearly impossible to imagine her recording it anywhere other than a big, dark, spacious room. Even the lyrics suggest an increasing darkness and vast space: “Our love is not the light it was / When I walk inside the dark, I’m calm / Where we look for where it went / It’s only echoes in the melody.” And despite the melancholy of the lyrics, I notice that it’s in the dark that she feels peaceful and calm. So I think it is no accident that this is great music for a head-clearing night drive. And although I couldn’t say that the Sesame-Crusted Tuna recipe Kasey is featuring is somehow appropriate for nighttime cruising, Metals does pair well with the recipe nonetheless. It’s the crisp, cleanliness of the recipe and the subtle-nuances of the album that make them akin in my mind. The tuna is soft and tender, and it’s not a fussy recipe at all. Still, there is a simple elegance that makes it fully satisfying and irresistible. And the same is true of this album. It’s another album from 2011 that I can highly recommend.