As David Attenborough, Björk, and @bill_nye_tho could most certainly tell you, science is mind-blowing. Today, while you were still complaining about NBC ruining the Olympics, the NASA rover Curiosity landed on Mars and began feeding wide-eyed space junkies everywhere images from the Red Planet in a matter of minutes.
In honor of this exciting development, here’s a rather literal soundtrack for checking out some images from space. Keep watching the skies, y’all.
Afrika Bambaataa – “Planet Rock”
When hip-hop met an interpolation of Kraftwerk’s “Trans-Europe Express,” it sounded like the future. Fitting for exploring the cosmos, and even more so for a good old-school dance party.
Parliament – “Mothership Connection (Star Child)”
Any space-themed playlist just wouldn’t feel complete without some kind of interstellar jam from George Clinton and his denizens of the final funky frontier. Plus, once you start thinking about Clinton’s amazing Technicolor hair, the one NASA controller’s Mohawk doesn’t seem so strange, and all the emphasis on it when there’s all this other cool stuff going on will have seemed so trivial. Anyway, bring on the funk.
Iggy Pop – “Curiosity”
“Curiosity killed the cat / but satisfaction brought it back.” A fuzzy, piano-tinged celebratory garage-rocker for all the NASA crewmembers who worked so hard to make this a reality.
Sun Kil Moon – “Space Travel Is Boring”
Mark Kozelek and Co.’s lovely, spare Modest Mouse cover is great for that solitary, 2am sort of planet-gazing.
Usher – “Mars vs. Venus”
If there are other beings on Mars, here’s hoping they like Usher.
Cut Copy – “Strange Nostalgia For The Future”
This blippy cut from Aussie electro dance party facilitators comes from their third album, Zonoscope, whose album art sort of looks like a rocket blasting off into space.
Yellow Ostrich – “In The Past I Was An Astronaut”
The double-tracked vocals come in deliberately and ethereally, almost with the rhythm of a planetary explorer taking some very small steps and giant leaps on the surface of the Moon. For such simple instrumentation, the song inhabits a whole lot of space. How apt.
David Bowie – “Life On Mars?”
Yeah, yeah. It’s the most obvious choice, especially given that now scientists predict we will be able to determine whether or not there is life on Mars within the next decade. But from the first gentle piano strains to the cosmic wash of the chorus, all wrapped in a yearning for an escape, there really isn’t a better soundtrack for a journey to another planet.