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Devil in the Detail: World Song Map

Posted by Studio Staff on

Devil in the Detail: World Song Map

Devil in the Detail is our new series of blog posts, designed to give you a glimpse behind the velvet curtain into Dorothy's studio. The posts will attempt to answer some of the most frequently asked questions about our work, provide an insight into our design process and reveal some of the hidden details waiting to be discovered in our information rich designs.

Our World Song Map is made up entirely from the titles of over 1,200 songs. It was, at the time, our most ambitious print to date and took a long and occasionally painful 9 months to design (hats off to cartographers everywhere).

We often get asked to explain our choice of songs on the map. Most are pretty straight forward as they make they a direct reference to the place name they are signposting (Born in the USA, London Calling, China Girl) but sometimes we couldn't find a song that mentioned a country, island or city we wanted to tag so we had to be creative. It's these song choices that need the viewer to think a little harder about the connection between the song and the location.

We've picked out ten of our favourites with a brief explanation as to why we chose them.


Song: William, It Was Really Nothing
Location: Port William, Falkland Islands
Artist: The Smiths
Album: Hatful Of Hollow 

Reason: A little known Humdrum Town, Thatcher and the Falklands.


Song: Isolation
Location: North Korea
Artist: Joy Division
Album: Closer

Reason: The one place you can’t get lost in music.


Song: Long, Long, Long
Location: Mongolia
Artist: The Beatles
Album: The White Album (The Beatles

"The Long Song is one of the central elements of the traditional music of Mongolia" spoken in a Lucy Worsley voice.


Song: Losing My Edge
Location: Somewhere in the Arctic
Artist: LCD Soundsystem
Album: LCD Soundsystem

Reason: We thought we better put it on before it disappeared....


Song: Ha Ha I'm Drowning
Location: Somewhere in the Arctic Ocean
Artist: Teardrop Explodes
Album: Kilimanjaro

Reason: Kind of what happened to Julian Cope when recording their 2nd seminal album "Wilder".


Song: I Am The Black Gold Of The Sun
Location: Peru, South America
Artist: Rotary Connection
Album: Hey Love

Reason: Peru, the location of Paititi: The Lost City of Gold.... coming to The History Channel soon.


Song: I Ran (So Far Away)
Location: Iran
Artist: Flock Of Seagulls
Album: The Greatest Hit

Reason: Think about it…but not for too long. Genius!

That hair, those glasses, those outfits..... that hair!!! Now comb back your hair, sit back and enjoy this video. Take it away Pops ....


This song has single handedly caused the most outrage (no it's not a typo)...

Song: Columbia
Location: Colombia, South America
Artist: Oasis
Album: Definitely Maybe

Don't blame us for the misspelling, blame those Gallagher brothers for bunking off school.


And finally two of my personal favourites (just because I can):

Song: Bolivia '95
Location: Bolivia, South America
Artist: Scott Walker
Album: Tilt

"Lemon bloody cola, gonna sponge you down" That's Scott in a Bolivian bar for you.


Location: The Pacific Ocean
Song: Pacific Ocean Blues
Artist: Dennis Wilson
Album: Pacific Ocean Blue

It wasn't only Brian who could write a great song or ten.

We haven't got the time or the inclination to explain all 1,200 song choices but if there is something in particular that is bugging you..feel free to get in touch.

The World Song Map is available to buy here.

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