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Week 569: “Walk Above the City” by Paper Kites feat. MARO

When I was about eight, my godmother (who was more like a cool aunt or much-older sister, just fifteen years or so older than I was) gave me a present that kind of blew my mind.

It came in a big Manila envelope, which in itself was cool. My only experience with envelopes like that was when adults were handing each other important documents; they looked official. Secret. They were for teachers or government officials or James Bond. Not for kids.

She gave it to me and explained that to open it, I would need to unwind the little red string, which was gracefully looped in a figure-eight pattern around two card-stock dots. I did so, wondering what could possibly be inside, and surprised to be so excited about a gift that was clearly not anything to do with He-Man.

Not the photo, but pretty close. (Image:

I reached in and pulled out the contents: three large, black-and-white photos. They were aerial photos of my neighbourhood, taken from a few hundred feet up. This was long before Google Maps of course, so I had never seen my childhood world represented in this way.

I was captivated.

I could identify my house, trace the route I walked to school, see the backyards that were unknowable from street level. Of course I had seen maps before (been a bit obsessed with them, actually) but this was different, because this was more real. I felt a powerful omniscience: I was a teacher and a government official and James Bond all at the same time.

And yet, there was a humbling smallness that went along with that omniscience. The vast majority of my life – home, school, friends’ houses, corner store – were reduced to something not much larger than a postcard.

I put the photos back in the envelope and thought about things for a moment.

What makes this a beautiful song:

1. This song, along with the rest of Paper Kites’ 2021 release, Roses, is incredibly warm-sounding. Just listen to those guitars. There’s a fuzziness to the recording that you could almost wrap around your neck like a scarf.

2. The vocals, by Portuguese vocalist MARO, are sung in parallel octaves. One at ground level, one looking down from above.

3. Everything about it is dreamy and floaty: the title, the band’s name, (what is it about Aussie bands named after kites?) and the gentle kick drum heartbeat…it all makes you want to hover out of bed, out the window, until your house is just a little rectangle down below.

Recommended listening activity:

Watching drone footage of your city.

Buy it here.

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Week 569: “Walk Above the City” by Paper Kites feat. MARO


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