Passenger is a song from Powderfingers third studio album Internationalist. It was released as a single on 9 August 1999, the single was nominated for Single of the year in 2000 at the Australian ARIA Music Awards. Passenger was also featured as the song performed by Powderfinger while supporting Crowded Houses Farewell to the World charity concert in November 1996. The single for Passenger included five tracks, including two live tracks. These were Passenger and Pick You Up, both performed on 11 October 1998 at Sydney Opera House, a version of These Days was also included, and this was the first time the song was released. At the time, Powderfinger were performing in clubs and universities around Australia on their P2K tour, in Passenger, a recurring theme in Bernard Fanning’s song writing emerged, a fascination with the banality of routine. When asked about this, Fanning offered no explanation, saying it wasn’t a conscious theme. In Passenger, the key signature is D major, however the verses begin with the G chord, while the choruses and outro are in the D majors relative minor key, the song is a completely straight rock feel in the time signature of 4/4. Passenger featured Brisbane trio Tiddas for the first time, providing backing vocals, Tiddas also accompanied Powderfinger live, although some of the elements of Passenger, such as the brass sections, were replicated using a keyboard. Powderfingers Drummer Jon Coghill described some elements of Passenger, including the section, as being based on the work of Elvis Presley. Coghill said We tried to do it like Elvis would, in a big band arrangement, there are backing vocals, horns and a la la sound. Powderfinger enlisted Brisbane-based production company Fifty Fifty Films to direct and produce the video for Passenger. This was the groups first experience with Fifty Fifty, and its success encouraged the group to direct future videos, the video for Passenger begins with the band members packing themselves and their musical instruments into suitcases. They are transported to an airport while the songs first verse is played, during the first chorus, the cases are loaded onto a baggage carousel with a bomb, whilst security personnel are distracted. The suitcases and bomb are then loaded onto an aeroplane, during the second verse, the bomb explodes, and the suitcases containing the band members fall out of it and are swallowed by an unnamed creature resembling a whale. They are later ejected from the blowhole of the creature into zero-gravity, at the end of the chorus, the suitcases re-enter the Earth’s atmosphere. The video ends with the suitcases floating in the ocean, carmine Pascuzzi, in an article about the band’s P2K tour, wrote that Passenger was. accompanied by an excellent video. Upon its release, Passenger was hailed as one of the songs on Internationalist to come close to the big FM radio hits of Double Allergic, according to lead singer Bernard Fanning
Image: Passenger front
A scene from the video for "Passenger", showing the suitcases containing the band members before they are eaten by the whale-like creature.