There’s a saying that ‘Music is what feelings sound like’, and I’ve been thinking about that a lot recently… the power just one song can have on a person, on a life.
Music is a huge deal to me (I listened to Spotify for over 35,000 hours last year!) and to my family, it’s a universal bond that keeps us together even when we’re apart – my brother takes the piss out of me for a wide majority of my music choices although; I’d quite like to remind him that he liked ‘Wannabe’ by the Spice Girls long before I did… #justsaying. Often we have nothing much to say to each other but we’ll keep in touch through music recommendations or I’ll tweet him saying I’m listening to Queen and can’t get his Freddie Mercury dance out of my head. And this is the same for so many of the people I know, how we are all connected through words that are not our own, through someone else’s stories that we find so relatable.
I often listen to Desert Island Discs with Kirsty Young, hearing the importance of a song in the guests life is incredible, the 8 choices are always varied yet often aren’t surprising but it’s why they are important that gets me. Some songs you love are just so dire and not ‘cool’ it’s embarrassing (MMMBop anyone?) but there’s something about them that speaks to you in a way that no other song does and so it becomes engrained into your heart and helps you paint a picture of a life that your words could never do alone.
Putting my own Desert Island Disc together is nigh impossible… I’ve whittled it down to 44 tracks (you’re only supposed to choose 8), but I just can’t bring myself to remove any because there’s a story, a moment in time for each of them that has shaped who I am today…
Just a few of my choices include;
- Tiny Dancer – Elton John; there’s something about the description of this seamstress for the band that makes me not want this song to end, every time I listen to it, it stops me in my tracks and puts a bit of a lump in my throat. I can’t relate it to a time in my life but it’s a song that just moves me beyond belief.
- Free Bird – Lynyrd Skynyrd; this is by far and away my favourite song of all time. It reminds me of dancing with my mum, well her showing me how she used to dance to it in rock clubs as a teen! It’s one of my favourite images of my mum, she flails her arms about, eyes closed hair waving and she never looks more beautiful than in that moment.
- Downtown – Petula Clark; Oh Petula! This is my ultimate happy song, although slightly tainted at the moment as I sang it to my grandfather just before he died, it’s a song that makes me feel less grey when I am depressed and reminds me that all it takes is stepping out of the situation to make yourself feel better.
- Anna Begins – Counting Crows; ‘every time she sneezes I believe its love, and oh lord I’m not ready for that sort of thing’ is my favourite song lyric. Ever. Period. It’s bitter sweet, noticing the small things about someone that makes you love them, but then so bitter in not being ready. Pure poetry. Adam Duritz is an amazing songwriter and genuinely there’s not a Counting Crows song I don’t like because of his incredible way with words.
- The Power of Love – Jennifer Rush; I would sing this power ballad with my gramps so often, with exaggerated hands and mouth movements – it’s breaking my heart at the moment but one day I’ll be able to listen to this, his favourite song and be happy for the amazing memories it gave us.
- Ladies in Lavender – Joshua Bell; some classical music just gets you right in the feels, hits you with a punch and moves you in a way no other song can, this is one of those songs for me. I don’t think I’ve ever listened to it and not welled up. Stunning.
- Everybody’s Free (To Wear Sunscreen) – Quindon Tarver; this came out when I was 16 and it just made me really sit up and think, about what I wanted from life and the kind of person I wanted to be. When I am in the throes of a depressive cloud this is often on repeat willing my brain to chill the fuck out and wear some sunscreen.
- Storms – Fleetwood Mac; ‘never have I been a blue calm see, I have always been a storm’ never have I heard a lyric that has resonated with me so clearly and loudly as this.
- Holocene – Bon Iver; this song is incredibly beautiful, the lyrics a stark contrast of anguish and discovery set to whimsical almost ethereal music. I get completely lost inside of it and the lyric ‘once I knew I was not magnificent, I could see for miles’ is just heartbreaking and yet deeply inspiring.
- Who Wants to Live Forever – Queen; although not the song that reminds me of being a kid and dancing around with my brother this is a song that reminds me of him, we were in the car on the way back from Cheddar when it was announced on the radio that Freddie Mercury had died, we both cried and we drove in silence as they played this song on the radio. It’s one, if not the earliest memory I have, and one of few of us together as a family.
So there’s just a little insight into me and my adoration of all things musical, it saves me every day.