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10 Worst Songs to Listen to on an Airplane

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Have you ever been all strapped in on a cross-country flight and found yourself thinking that maybe — just maybe — that guy next to you is going to go nuts, kill the pilot and send the plane into a nosedive? No? Maybe we’ve been watching too many ‘Final Destination’ sequels. In any event, we usually calm ourselves down by firing up the iPod, and while that helps, we’re choosy with our selections. That’s because there’s some music that should never, ever be played while you’re flying the friendly skies. As you begin planning your spring and summer getaways, pay close attention to this list: the 10 Worst Songs to Listen to on an Airplane. Bon voyage!

Weezer, the Blue Album


‘Buddy Holly’ – Weezer

From ‘The Blue Album’



What’s great about this song is that it makes no specific reference to airplanes, crashes or torn fuselages. But if you know anything about music history, you know that “Ooo-wee-ooo, Buddy Holly died in a plane crash,” and that’s all we need to get this sucker on the list.


Dawes, Stories Don't End


‘From a Window Seat’ – Dawes

From ‘Stories Don’t End’



A brand-new addition to the Air Mania canon, ‘From a Window Seat’ is more a “life on the road” song, but when lead singer Taylor Goldsmith sings that the flight attendants “are pointing out the exits / but it looks more like a prayer,” it’s pretty much all over for us.


Radiohead, OK Computer


‘Lucky’ – Radiohead

From ‘OK Computer’



If you are one of the many Radiohead fans who do, in fact, understand what Thom Yorke is singing in his songs, you’ll definitely catch “Pull me out of the aircrash” in the chorus. Translation: Unbuckle my belt, pull me out of my seat, and get me the hell off this plane!


Rilo Kiley, Take Offs and Landings


‘Plane Crash in C’ – Rilo Kiley

From ‘Take Offs and Landings’



For an album called ‘Take Offs and Landings,’ you’d expect a little more, right? Nope, the only thing comforting about this song is that you know what key it’s in. And that Jenny Lewis is singing it.


Bright Eyes, I'm Wide Awake It's Morning


‘At the Bottom of Everything’ – Bright Eyes

From ‘I’m Wide Awake, It’s Morning’



The song starts off with Conor Oberst, in his best squirrel voice, telling the tale of two people on a plane that’s in the process of crashing. We do not advise you listen to this in any sort of air-travel contraption.


Wilco, AM


‘Dash 7’ – Wilco

From ‘AM’



An underrated acoustic gem from the pre-computer-animated Wilco era, ‘Dash 7’ is about flying, for sure, but that last line — “dash 7 pointed down” — could be taken either as: (a) “This is your captain speaking. We’ve been cleared for landing. We’ll be on the ground shortly” or (b) “There’s something on the wing! We’re all gonnna dieeeeeeeee.” Yeah.


Band of Horses, Cease to Begin


‘Window Blues’ – Band of Horses

From ‘Cease to Begin’



We’re not even sure this is about an airplane, but the first line of the song is “Face the facts / sh– was flying out of the windows / I’m painted blue.” Every single time we hear this, we picture a victim choking on his $8 snacks and getting sucked out of a plane’s fractured fuselage, ‘LOST’-style. Never gonna listen to this one the same, are you?


Damien Jurado, I Break Chairs


‘Air Show Disaster’ – Damien Jurado

From ‘I Break Chairs’



While we’re sure Mr. Jurado is talking in metaphors here, the last thing you want to be thinking about on a transatlantic flight is one of those WWII bombers doing a big nosedive into a crowd of interested onlookers.


moe., Tin Cans and Car Tires


‘Plane Crash’ – moe.

From ‘Tins Cans & Car Tires’



If the name doesn’t say it all, the little Stringed Quartet of Disaster that kicks off the song will get your blood pressure up all by itself. The song talks through the fear of air travel — empathic, no doubt — but unless you can smuggle the drugs they talk about helping you get through the trip through security, you’re basically sunk.


Nada Surf, Lucky


‘Ice On the Wing’ – Nada Surf

From ‘Lucky’



What stinks is how good this song is. (Its chorus is killer.) That is, if it were not, out-and-out, one of the most nervous air-travel-related songs we’ve ever heard. In a nod to post-9/11 fears, lead singer Matthew Caws sings, “Don’t talk to thy [seat] neighbor / if they don’t take the same lord and savior.” And then there’s the chorus: “Baby, ice is growing on the wing.” Yes, icing is one of those what-ifs you can’t help, but think about during wintertime travel. Is that chemical really doing anything? (As a consolation, we guess you could listen to this song in the summertime. But that’s a different list altogether.)


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