What’s Your Favourite Station?

After a decade of puttering around on Station Fixation I wanted to celebrate with something fun and perhaps absurd—so I wrote a song! And then I made this video for it:

You can also stream the song on:

I’d love to hear from you in the video comments—what’s your favourite TTC station?

Background Story & Commentary

A storied Hogtown tradition exists of artists paying musical tribute to the TTC (e.g. the Shuffle Demons’ Spadina Bus, or the Spoons’ Romantic Traffic). I’ve long harboured the secret notion of expressing my appreciation for Toronto’s subway, in the form of a tune that not only touches all the stations (circa 2017), but also playfully re-imagines what those automated information messages might sound like, put to melody.

Despite the TTC’s many challenges and flaws, we can still feel affection for it—we don’t have to be negative all the time. Our subway connects us, moves us, and is critical to the day-to-day functioning of Toronto. As citizens of this city we often simultaneously love, and hate, the TTC. It’s part of our lives!

With this emotional context in mind, I finally got around to pushing the concept towards fruition. The primary hurdle of course was that I have no practical musical ability. However, some recently released technological tools provided an opportunity for an interesting experiment...

The looming role of generative artificial intelligence in popular culture fascinates me, so after I wrote and arranged the lyrics, I then used an AI (Suno) to create the vocals and music for my song—I wanted to see where I could take the idea using this newly available software.

It took tons of experimentation and innumerable dead-ends (the nascent tool is currently quite primitive), but eventually I wound up with ‘Station Fixation’, an upbeat, yet somehow also wistful song that TTC riders of any age can enjoy. Try singing along!

Inspired by a visual sequence in the film Amelie, I centred the accompanying video on the adventures of an intrepid garden gnome as he meanders through every station in the system—a symbolic journey of whimsy that mirrors the one I have taken myself, for this seemingly never-ending project. I hope people will delight in recognizing their own favourite stations along the way, and find cause to explore new ones in the future.

Secondarily, I also wanted to evoke the past, perhaps nearly-forgotten, sense of genuine hope and enthusiasm that people used to have about rapid transit, back when the subway system was new and expanding. Numerous archival and historical photographs as well as newsreel footage are interleaved between the stations to set that mood.  

It means something to me, trying to capture this ephemeral period, before Toronto enters its next major phase of transit growth. It might feel like we’re stagnating because of the innumerable delays and political fighting, but the Finch West LRT, Crosstown, and Ontario Line are all underway to varying degrees. Change is coming, albeit glacially.

Enjoy the song—and let me know, what’s your favourite station?

  

My next stop: York University
Previous station: Old Mill

Alphabetical Station Selector