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Jason DavisMay 3, 2018

Funpost! Let's listen to some Russian space jams

Welcome back for another edition of the weekly Funpost!

Two weeks ago, Anton Shkaplerov, the current commander of the International Space Station, tweeted a link to a playlist of songs he and fellow cosmonaut Oleg Artemiev rock out to in space. The playlist is hosted on Yandex, a Google-like Russian tech conglomerate that offers everything from search to music. Sadly, whenever I tried to play one of Anton's songs, a badly translated error message told me I could only listen for free from Russia, Ukraine, Belarus or Kazakhstan. I don't live in any of those locations, so in order to jam with Anton and Oleg, I mirrored the playlist on Spotify. 

It wasn't easy! I had to search for some of the artists and songs in Cyrillic, or by running them through Google Translate. In the end, I found all but two songs, and am now proud to present the official Funpost! Russian Space Jams playlist.

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So what kind of music do Anton and Oleg listen to? I'm not sure what I was hoping for—maybe some traditional Russian folk music, mixed with a little metal? Or maybe some Russian FOLK METAL, which I learned is an actual, awesome thing? 

Na, this is the kind of stuff you might expect to hear in a Russian mall. It's an innocuous blend of Top 40-sounding stuff mixed with some 80s and 90s Russian hits. But that's okay! I'm not here to judge. In fact, before I shared my newly created Funpost! playlist, I went through and made all my other Spotify playlists private, because I certainly don't want anyone judging MY musical tastes. 

I've been listening to this playlist for a few days, subjecting my daughter to it in the car on her way home from school. I've almost got her singing along to my favorite track, which is "Kisses Back," by Matthew Koma. It's one of just a few songs in English, and according to Wikipedia, it was huge in Poland, reaching number 10 there in 2016. The chorus with the high-pitched KEYISSES BACK refrain is awesome.

In fact, I'm comfortable telling you that I enjoy most of the electronic dance songs on the playlist, because FEELIN' IT IS NOT A CRIME. There's "I'm Waiting" by Stage Rockers, which has a great part where the music sounds like it's coming from another room. The group Serebro contributes a song called "В Космосе," which means "In Space." Another good track is "Обезоружена," which means "Disarmed," by the aptly-named Polina Gagarina. 

Anton and Oleg's only eyebrow-raising choice is "Сделан в СССР," or "Made in the USSR," by Oleg Gazmanov. It sounds like a knock-off of Bruce Springsteen's "Born in the USA," and when I first heard it I assumed it was recorded around the same time, during the Reagan years. Nope! It's from 2005, and if you read the lyrics, you will discover it's an ultra-nostalgic USSR tribute that places some of the Soviet Union's most notorious leaders on equal reverence with Yuri Gagarin. Unsurprisingly, not everyone in Russia is a fan.

Last but not least, there's a mandatory tongue-in-cheek selection: "Final Countdown," by Europe. It's a good pick, but to be honest, hearing the song just makes me want to watch Arrested Development. WHERE ONCE THERE WAS A YACHT, NOW THERE IS NAUGHT!

That's it for this week's Funpost! If you have any questions or topics for a future Funpost!, send me an email at [email protected]

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Jason Davis

Digital Editor for The Planetary Society
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