Best Of 2010, Guest Editors: Travis’ Fran Healy On Berlin

As 2010 has come to an end, we are taking a look back at some of our favorite posts of the year by our guest editors.

The yearning voice and sullen temperament behind the languid and lush Scottish outfit Travis, Fran Healy has been laying low of late. The primary task on his to-do list: commune with his diverse surroundings while recording his first solo effort in New York, Vermont and (mostly) Berlin. Whether the new Wreckorder (Ryko) benefits from that far-flung trio of locales—or guest appearances from Neko Case and Paul McCartney—is largely irrelevant to anyone who’s not already smitten by Healy’s majestically restrained brand of mope-rock understatement. The 10-song collection occasionally recalls the quieter moments on the already-pretty-quiet The Invisible Band, Travis’ 2001 LP. Only here, Healy turns even more insular as he’s left to stew in his own introspective juices. Healy will be guest-editing all week. Read our Q&A with him.

Healy: Berlin and New York are my favourite cities. I am lucky enough to live in both. We moved from London to Berlin in 2008 when our son was one. I live in the neighbourhood of Prenzlaur Berg. It used to be more scuzzy but has become a little more gentrified over the last few years. The Germans have a very solid welfare thing going on. They look after their people. There is a socialist over hang, which is lovely. There are many many excellent playgrounds, seems like one on every block. There is a very high density of little kids so the streets are always filled with the sound of them playing. It’s also a very peaceful place to live. The pace is slower than in London and New York. I have never felt threatened walking around. I have felt that far more in London. We have brilliant neighbours, too. I only got to know a couple of my neighbours in London while there for seven years in the same house, whereas it’s more neighbourly in Berlin. There’s also it’s rich cultural past. The only thing in Berlin I would change would be dog shit and crap graffiti.

Video after the jump.