Heading for Nowhere

I first heard the Victoria, British Columbia, Canada band Jets Overhead through their song “Heading for Nowhere,” a song with an appealing, road trip kind of vibe.

The song has a very catchy and highly melodic sound, founded on a driving beat featuring the trademark, fuzzy sounds of bassist Jocelyn Greenwood’s instrument setup and other excellent instrumentation and production.

It’s been a favourite for years; the metadata in my iTunes library says I bought the track on June 9, 2009, four days after the band released No Nations, their second full album, which features the song. I must have heard it on CBC Radio 3, the Canadian national broadcaster’s internet radio station, as that was my go-to station for several years. R3’s tagline, “Breaking New Sound,” was accurate as it introduced me to many new sounds I still enjoy. The platform has had its challenges though. In 2015 live hosts were replaced by automated programming. This took away much of the station’s appeal, replacing personalities with repetitive playlists. And this past October, SiriusXM dropped the streaming station from its satellite radio lineup, though Radio 3 can still be heard on the CBC Listen app. (I primarily use Apple Music in the car now, and was already thinking of ditching SiriusXM. Their abandonment of this notable — albeit pared-down — Canadian content provider helped seal the deal for me.)

Vocalist and founding member Adam Kittredge is said to have coined the band’s name while observing air traffic patterns over London, England. My sweety and I haven’t travelled there in almost six years, but I can still envision the latticework of contrails woven in the sky by a never-ending parade of jet planes travelling to and from London Heathrow Airport.

I believe the song is about the speed and complexity of life and how those factors can contribute to us not living in the present moment. When we finally start paying attention, we realize we have missed important things that went on while we were absent. It’s a commentary on society and how many people are tuned more into their smartphones than the life around them, carrying this fixation into nighttime, leading to sleep deprivation and further inability to connect with the living world.

“I’m looking for something that I didn’t notice was gone
Weeks, maybe months just went by without anything wrong
Now I’m aware I can’t stop the repeating alarm
Here in this place I get peace, I get war, I get on

Standing at the station
Falling out of line
Missing my connection
Asking for the time

End at the beginning
Back onto the street
Always chasing something
Even in our sleep

(We got the time)
Heading for nowhere

I’m ready for something I finally noticed was gone
Head to the place where I go when I know what went wrong
Moments repeat, colors change to the beat of a song
Counting the days I get by and the days I get on

End at the beginning
Back onto the street
Always chasing something
Even in our sleep

(We got the time)
Heading for nowhere

Standing at the station
Looking at the map
Stopping for a moment
Just before the crash”

“Heading for Nowhere,” by Jocelyn Greenwood, Adam Kittredge, Piers Henwood, Luke Renshaw, Antonia Freybe-Smith. Lyrics retrieved from Genius.com.

The video for “Heading for Nowhere is brilliantly conceived and made. Much of it is set in a railway yard, implying travel, though the band members are frozen in place as if in a theatrical tableau; this is wonderfully mirrored by singers Kittredge and Antonia Freybe-Smith taking and changing their places, directed on a warehouse-style stage. These aspects combine wonderfully to symbolize the irony of the societal disconnection that can result from online substitutes for authentic connection. However, the two infuse the stage scene with a spontaneous moment of play near the end. Meanwhile, the train yard appears derelict and maybe abandoned, with nature sprouting and reclaiming it. This scene builds upon that moment of playfulness as if offering a message of hope for our world.

If we replace people with programs, and don’t look up from our devices to see the world around us, we lose true connection with others and nature. Then we truly are… heading for nowhere.

Now you know a little about why this is my Song of the Day for Today. Thanks for joining me here. Please enjoy.

Here’s the video for “Heading for Nowhere” from the official Jets Overhead YouTube channel:

With my best wishes,

Steve

2 thoughts on “Heading for Nowhere

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