When was the last time you heard a song about space exploration on the radio? Sure, we have classics like “Space Oddity” by David Bowie, and “Rocketman” by Elton John. But that was over 20 years ago. To Touch the Stars aims to be a “musical celebrations of space exploration.” It is a compilation of 16 diverse songs that are brought together under one flag: the flag of space activism. As a space enthusiast, I enjoyed all 16 tracks and I can guarantee that there are a couple of songs for you in this album, even if you are not a space fanatic.
I was introduced to To Touch the Stars while a friend and I were driving on Wolf Road searching for dinner. He put on “If We Had No Moon.” It is an understatement to say that the song is absolutely ridiculous, informative, and catchy. It’s a ballad that is somehow ridiculous, serious, and ominous. You don’t even need to wonder what would happen if we had no moon because the artist goes through exactly what would happen. The ending of the song leaves its listeners legitimately worried about what life would be like if we had no moon. This song is not going to win a Grammy for excellent composition, but it, like many songs on this album, is just fun to listen and sing-along-to.
Songs like “Fire in the Sky” and “Legends” sing to the glory and sacrifices of past space exploration achievements and failures. The common theme sings true in these songs as well. They are educational and informative, though these two songs set themselves apart from “If We Had No Moon” in that they are both serious songs. Not only that, but they seem like contemporary rock songs. These songs could be mainstream tracks if it weren’t for the lyrical theme of space exploration.
Both “I Want to Go to Mars” and “Dog on the Moon” break the mold from the rest of the album. There is not one informative line in either song. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, but in the case of “I Want to Go to Mars,” it becomes a little silly. Replace the word “Mars” with “the mall” and the song is transformed into a ballad of a teenager’s wishes to go shopping. Don’t get me wrong, the song is still fun to listen to, but the lyrics are a tad bit nonsensical. “Dog on the Moon” is far more creative, but at the risk of being rather depressing. It’s the tale of a man who is a complete failure, who once dreamed of being an astronaut, but now is a customer service representative. The man reflects on how inferior he feels to this dog who has been on the moon. Yes, it’s a little depressing but at the same time, it’s bound to make you laugh.
To Touch the Stars really threw me in for a surprise. I expected an album filled with “filk,” the branch of folk which embodies your standard science fiction songs. I’m glad to say that not only did the album shatter that expectation, but it did so in a way which was pleasant to the ears and invigorating to the mind. It’s an album that pays tribute to the past and future of space exploration, which should catch the interest of those who are already interested in space travel, and, more importantly, it will intrigue those who are not yet mesmerized by space travel. No matter your opinion on space travel, check this album out; there is a song for everyone.