Colonel Chris Hadfield, 56, is the first musician ever to release an album recorded in space. Yes, that’s right: Space.
To be fair, it wasn’t entirely made in space. Hadfield had to polish up the production upon his return to Earth, which gave the album a clean and atmospheric final sound; however, much of the music was created by Hadfield whilst aboard the International Space Station (ISS). As commander of his mission, Hadfield had little time to himself, and wasn’t always able to record. Over time, the conditions of space affected both his guitar playing and his singing.
The album itself is not as outer-worldly; instead falling into a rather earthy, pop-country sphere of simple melodies and lyrics circling around the motif of departure. “Feet Up,” with its warm riff and laid-back vocals, paints zero gravity as an everyday experience, which seems like an absurd reality (I do a thousand front-flips / Who’ll ever know?). But most tracks are more forgettable, with only a tinge of space-related jargon to keep the album lyrically cohesive. Some songs, such as “Window of My Mind,” are devoid of even that, unless there are also Greyhounds in space. Hadfield himself stated that he had no interest in becoming a musical sensation: he simply wanted to document his time in space through music.
For the first album recorded in the final frontier, Space Sessions doesn’t burst through the stratosphere of musical ingenuity, but it achieves its purpose. This is a journey through the music of Hadfield’s experience—it’s what kept him close to Earth as he circled around it, looking down on home from outer space. For that, it’s good enough.
“Big smoke; more fragile than you seem / Big smoke; carry precious
cargo / Show us how to live and how to dream.”
Neil Young, mid-period Bob Dylan, and Mumford and Sons