I think its obvious by now that I measure my life in music. I have personal soundtracks for every emotion imaginable, and I like it that way. In fact, I can barely walk down the street without my ipod, as I feel the need to have back-up music to fuel my footsteps. I’m not blocking out the world, as such, but instead enhancing it with melodic creations to emphasize my emotions. So I think I’ll share a few songs that have been the playlist to my ups and downs, just for something different.
1. “Amsterdam” by Coldplay
One snowy February evening five years ago, I was called into the living room and told by my dad that he was leaving. I thought he was joking. Turns out he wasn’t, and once I got over the utter shock that overtook my body I donned my winter garb and grabbed my discman and headed out for a walk to clear my head. All I remember is the mix of this song piping through my headphones, my red Ethnies sneakers cutting through the snowbanks and my tears mixing with the snowflakes. The song evokes bittersweet memories for me even today, and the entire Coldplay CD reminds me of pulling through.
2. “Temptation” by Arash
Not as well known as Coldplay, Arash is a Romanian techno-esque group that I discovered on a trip to Italy and Greece when I was in grade 11. This trip was one of the best times of my life and, along with Aqua’s masterpieces of jubilant pop, this song reminds me of it without fail. I met my ex boyfriend on the trip, and we both spent most of the trip attached to my Ipod, dancing through the streets of Florence and scaring other tourists with our crazy antics at the Acropolis. Essentially, this song represents to me the butterflies-in-my-stomach excitement of the beginning of my first real relationship.
3. “Let Go”- Frou Frou
My dad introduced me to Frou Frou, a group I continue to listen to today. “Let Go” has meant different things to me at different times, as I’ve found that the lyrics and intertwining melodies speak volumes about many situations in which I’ve found myself. I can’t say exactly what it is about the song that draws me in time after time, but it gives me goosebumps. When I listen to it, the most striking memory is of my high school experience, rich with friendships, laughter and of course the typical high school drama. And I wouldn’t have had it any other way.
4. “You Please Me” by Dragonette
Often the meaning I draw from a song has little to nothing to do with what the lyrics intend. No where is this more clear than in the case of “You Please Me”. In a bout of extreme homesickness in first year university, I anxiously watched the snow come heaping down on the day of my last exam before Christmas break. I knew, as I trudged through snowbanks taller than me, that I wouldn’t be going home that afternoon as planned. The devastation I felt was quelled by this song on repeat, a session on the elliptical, and a gingerbread latte. Whatever it takes, I suppose.
5. “Like A Star” by Corrinne Bailey Rae
Back when I used to work in my mom’s store on a regular basis, I always put on Corrinne Bailey Rae to wile away the long hours. As a result, this song always reminds me of my mom. I loved the feeling of working there each Sunday- the responsibility is thrilling when you’re a teenager.
6. “Belle” from the Beauty and the Beast musical soundtrack
Yet another tune that reminds me of my mom, I distinctly remember sitting on my parents bed when I was about seven. My mom would blow dry my hair and I would either natter on about my day or, more commonly, sing the Beauty and the Beast soundtrack. This song was a particular favorite, since I could imitate each of the voices of the townspeople with glee. I’ve always been a bit of an odd duck, apparently, but OH to be even a candlestick in “Beauty and the Beast”…
7. “Killer Queen” by Queen… and the entire “Greatest Hits” collection by Queen
Picture this: a packed library, full of young adults slaving over books and class notes, preparing for finals. In the corner, two such students, across from one another on laptops. My ex and I would sit like this, headphones in, listening to Queen and studying while messaging each other on msn if we had a question rather than actually asking out loud. To me, Queen will always remind me of studying, but not in a depressing lock-yourself-in-your-apartment kind of way. In a lets-make-this-as-enjoyable-as-possible optic, if you will. Or maybe I’m just a freak and a serial student.
8. “Rock DJ” by Robbie Williams
I loved being an innocent, crazy 14 year old. My friends and I used to walk home from school singing and laughing at the most bizzare things, commonly falling over into bushes and avoiding being hit by cars. Drunk on life, if you will. The laughing until my stomach hurt and finding humour in absolutely everything was underscored by a steady stream of top 40 hits interjected with Robbie Williams. I can recite every word of this song with ridiculous accuracy, and frequently still do.
9. “Moi Lolita” by Alizée
Another of the best times in my life was the year my family spent in France. The year 2000 was ripe with inane pop tunes, to which I listened ad nauseum. However, I had the unique fortune of not only enjoying English language pop but the French equivalent of the teen pop queen, Alizée. I would hop on my scooter and whip out the chunky blue discman and ride around the neighbourhood blaring my tunes. Gosh I was cool. This song and the others on the album remind me of reading my favorite Tamora Pierce fantasy books and just generally loving the life.
10. “Its a Beautiful Life” by Ace of Base
Oh Ace of Base- you knew it was coming. Strangely enough, this song reminds me of my dance studio, where I spent a great number of hours of my childhood and young adult life. We used to warm up to this song in modern class. Leaping around the room in my coral coloured unitard to the 80s masterpiece was pretty much the defining factor of my 14 year old self’s identity.
11. “Dancing on the Ceiling” by Lionel Ritchie
It just keeps getting more and more embarrassing, but yes, Lionel Ritchie features in my list. One of the more enjoyable moments about living in residence in first year university was the “club” that my friend and I created in his suite. We hosted an 80s night complete with a strobe light, a colourful disco ball and Lionel Ritchie. What more could you ask for?
12. “Someone Wake Me Up” by the Veronicas
Going back to a bit of a darker place, this song reminds me of breaking up with my boyfriend of 3 years. Specifically, I blared it over and over in my apartment following the break up. Sorry neighbours. The lyrics speak to the pain of ending a long term relationship, one by which you have come to define yourself. I live in a pop song, apparently.
13. “Revelry” by Kings of Leon
Now, as I struggle to emerge from the depths of my eating disorder, I turn to music to help me. This summer I listened to this song over and over as came to terms with seeking help, something I’ve never done on such a degree. Something about the haunting guitar in the background combined with the lead singer’s delivery of powerful lyrics grabs me. “Wanna run baby run like a stream down a mountainside- with the wind at my back I won’t ever even bat an eye…”
I could continue this list until I was blue in the face and never be able to truly express what music means to me. Every major event in my life has been coupled with song for as long as I can remember, and I think thats what makes it so important to me. The good times and the bad may come and go, but the music is always there.