Architecture, like music, inspires us daily. Our sister site ArchDaily Brasil, in partnership with Spotify, created an architecture- and urbanism-themed playlist, with shout-outs to cities, buildings and even architects themselves. In the list you'll find everything from David Bowie singing about Philip Johnson and Richard Rogers, to Laurie Anderson citing Buckminster Fuller and the Beatles fretting over a visit to an apartment.
Listen to the playlist after the break and add songs with architecture shout-outs in the comments.
Laurie Anderson - The Big Top
American artist Laurie Anderson portrays the revolutionary architectural and urban vision of Buckminster Fuller.
When Buckminster Fuller came to Canada, he kept asking the same question:
“Have you ever really considered how much your buildings actually weigh?”
The Canadians took this very seriously. (Hey, we never thought of that!)
He showed them pictures of domed cities, cities with no basements, no foundations.
Cities that could be moved in a minute.
Talking Heads - Don’t Worry About the Government
David Byrne is perhaps most aware of the key roles of architecture and art that "affects the way we see ourselves in the city and how we relate to each other."
It's over there, it's over there
My building has every convenience
It's gonna make life easy for me
It's gonna be easy to get things done
I will relax alone with my loved ones
dEUS - The Architect
dEUS depicts the ego and all the power of architects in this extremely sincere song. It is likely that most architects can identify with at least a portion of these lyrics.
What is the architect doing
He is by the riverside
What is he thinking out there
He is committing egocide
David Bowie - Thru These Architect's Eyes
Bowie needs no introduction and when he sings of great masters such as Philip Johnson and Richard Rogers we like him even more.
The Beatles - Norwegian Wood
One of the Beatles probably visited the home of a fan of minimalist architecture. Apparently, it was not a very comfortable experience.
I once had a girl, or should I say, she once had me
She showed me her room, isn't it good, Norwegian wood?
She asked me to stay and she told me to sit anywhere
So I looked around and I noticed there wasn't a chair
The Decemberists - Here I Dreamt I was an Architect
If you are reading this, you too have probably dreamt at some point of being an architect (if you aren't one already). Here's The Decemberists version of this dream.
And I am nothing of a builder
But here I dreamt I was an architect
And I built this balustrade
To keep you home, to keep you safe
From the outside world
But the angles and the corners
Even though my work is unparalleled
They never seemed to meet
This structure fell about our feet
And we were free to go
Pavement - The Hexx
The practice of architecture is, at times, one filled with frustration.
Architecture Students are like virgins with an itch they cannot scratch
Never build a building until you're fifty what kind of life is that?
The White Stripes - Little Room
The White Stripes explore some scale problems in this 50-second song.
Well you're in your little room
and you're working on something good
but if it's really good
you're gonna need a bigger room
and when you're in the bigger room
you might not know what to do
you might have to think of
how you got started
sitting in your little room
Kamau e Instituto - Poesia de concreto
Brazilians Kamau e Instituto portray the hidden worlds of a city by highlighting the inequalities that exist within.
Algum teto de concreto da cidade, abriga o restante
da liberdade semelhante a que escorreu pela sargeta da calçada
se escondeu entre as paredes ou partiu pra outra
morreu de fome de frio de sede
pois sem abrigo não há, pra onde voltar
pra poder descansar e pensar
na estratégia pra continuar lutando pra manter a liberdade que se tem
Gnarls Barkley - Feng Shui
What do you say about Gnarls Barkley song that quotes Mies van der Rohe?
In this house the decor is obvious obscure.
It's clearly the theory of Less is More.
Underworld - Mmm skyscraper I love you
Here is Underworld's ode to high-rise buildings.
Mmm skyscraper I love you. mmm skyscraper I love you.
Thirty thousand feet above the earth. its a beautiful thing.
Elvis Costello - Hoover Factory
The great composer Elvis Costello covers heritage and gentrification issues when he sings about the possible hipster destination, Hoover Factory.
Green for go, green for action
From Park Royal to North Acton
Past scrolls and inscriptions like those of the Egyptian age
And one of these days the Hoover factory
Is gonna be all the rage in those fashionable pages
Caetano Veloso - Sampa
Speaking of gentrification, São Paulo comes to mind. Here Caetano has beautifully portrayed all of the feelings that a city can inspire in people.
Alguma coisa acontece no meu coração
Que só quando cruza a Ipiranga e a avenida São João
É que quando eu cheguei por aqui eu nada entendi
Da dura poesia concreta de tuas esquinas
Da deselegância discreta de tuas meninas
Something happens in my heart
Only when it crosses Ipiranga and São João Avenue
When I got here I didn't understand anything
Not the concrete poetry of your street corners
Not the discreet inelegance of your girls
Tom Zé - A Briga do Edifício Itália e do Hilton Hotel
Speaking of São Paulo, we could not overlook the wonderful fight described by Tom Zé between two of the biggest icons of Paulista architecture. The words are masterful, indulging in the history and beauty of the two buildings.
O Edifício Itália
era o rei da Avenida Ipiranga:
alto, majestoso e belo,
ninguém chegava perto
da sua grandeza.
Mas apareceu agora
o prédio do Hilton Hotel
gracioso, moderno e charmoso
roubando as atenções pra sua beleza.
The Itália building
was the king of Ipiranga Avenue:
Tall, majestic and handsome,
noone came close to its greatness.
But now the Hilton Hotel building showed up
elegant, modern and charming,
stealing attention with its beauty
Chico Science & Nação Zumbi - A Cidade
Continuing with more Brazilian songs, the atomic maracatu Chico Science and Zombie Nation could not be left out. "The City" is certainly a nice summary of what conforms an urban environment.
E a cidade se apresenta
Centro das ambições
Para mendigos ou ricos
E outras armações
Motos e metrôs
The city presents itself
as the center of ambition
To the bums or rich people,
and other types of scammers.
Motorcycles and Metros,
policemen and street vendors
China - Arquitetura da Vertigem
This song by China portrays real estate speculation in Recife, but it could easily fit in many other urban centers.
Verticalização por metro quadrado
De muros altos, olhos tensos pra guardar o medo
Que mora ao lado
Vertilicalization per square meter
High walls, strained eyes to keep fear
Who lives next door
Criolo - Fermento pra Massa
Criolo depicts simple urban mobility problems that interfere with breakfast.
Hoje eu vou comer pão murcho
Padeiro não foi trabalhar
A cidade tá toda travada
É greve de busão, tô de papo pro ar
Bob Marley - Concrete Jungle
Life in the city is chaotic and fraught with tension, nourishing, at times, not-so-positive situations and feelings.
I said that life must be somewhere to be found
Oh, instead: concrete jungle
Simon & Garfunkel - So Long, Frank Lloyd Wright
In an homage to a great architect, Simon & Garfunkel reveal how much they miss the great Frank Lloyd Wright.
Architects may come and
Architects may go and
Never change your point of view.
When I run dry
I stop awhile and think of you.
The Cinematic Orchestra - To Build a Home
Wright left an invaluable built legacy, and of one of his most iconic houses, Fallingwater, inspired The Cinematic Orchestra.
There is a house built out of stone
Wooden floors, walls and window sills
Tables and chairs worn by all of the dust
This is a place where I don't feel alone
This is a place where I feel at home
Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young - Our House
Such a cozy room,
The windows are illuminated by the evening sunshine through them,
Fiery gems for you, only for you.
Our house is a very, very, very fine house with two cats in the yard
Tom Jobim - Arquitetura de Morar
This song is present on the soundtrack of a documentary about the houses designed by Brazilian architect José Zanine Caldas. It is instrumental, but since it's by one of the masters of Brazilian music, it is on the list.
Robert Wyatt - Catholic Architecture
Of course religious architecture has been honored in song.
A white house with a folly
A tower attached on the side
A hand painted saint
Peeps over a high wall
Which surrounds the white house
Black Sabbath - Spiral Architect
When Ozzy Osbourne sings about architecture, we turn the music up.
Watching eyes of celluloid
Tell you how to live
Give, give, give!
Laughter kissing love
Is showing me the way
Spiral city architect
I build, you pay
Guster - Architects & Engineers
We could not forget this essential shout-out to the great works of architects and engineers. However Guster warns us, sometimes a building can be a trap.
So the architects and the engineers
Build their monuments, make their souvenirs
We are occupants
It's a trap, this town
We are burning up
We are fading out
We are shooting stars
Owl City - Designer Skyline
The delightful pop of Owl City harnesses an architectural metaphor to describe falling for someone.
Affection, the gifted architect
Is making a draft and beautiful design
The options and possibilities
Are endless when we connect and re-align
Collections of books and documents
Arise and parade around my cluttered desk
Re-working the math and measurements
Until I'm convinced these plans are picturesque
Like mountains in the Midwest
Vinícius de Moraes - A Casa
As a special bonus, we could not miss "The House" by Vinicius de Moraes. After all, a classic is a classic.
Era uma casa
Não tinha teto
Não tinha nada
Entrar nela, não
Porque na casa
Não tinha chão
It was a very funny house
There was no roof,
there was nothing
Nobody could get into it, no
Because in the house
there was no floor
Think there's a song missing from the list? Feel free to suggest them in comments! And follow ArchDaily Brasil on Spotify.