Welcome back! Sorry we’ve been away for so long, it’s been a busy 12 months. Hopefully we will be able to post more regularly and can keep discussing world issues, pop culture, personal anecdotes and more!
As the title suggests, this is indeed the songs that have impacted my life in a major way. If you like the sound of them, please give them a listen: I promise that no song on here is remotely sucky! Without further ado, I present you, in no particular order, the playlist of my life…
If I Had Words- Scott Fitzgerald & Yvonne Keeley
BABE! To start off the list, I begin with a song that everyone should hear at least once in their life. If you have never listened to If I Had Words, I beg you to do so. It’s sweet, it’s soppy, it’s simple; but it is also filled with so much warmth and kindness, it isn’t easy to pass it off as another pulp 70s love-ballad, especially when it changes from a mawkishly quasi-calypso tune to an orchestral anthem of love-induced crescendos.
For me, If I Had Words is always going to be the song about my mum and my brother and listening to it with them while sitting under the trees and drinking tea. If I Had Words is my happy song, and that’s why I love it.
Mamma Mia– ABBA
When I was five I told my dad that Mamma Mia would remain my all-time favourite song for the rest of my life. He responded “I promise you, it won’t”. He was right, but at the time it broke my heart for how little faith he had in me, my promises and my music preferences. Although I have indeed moved on to greater things since Mamma Mia, it will always hold the title of being my very first all time favourite song. And I think that some would argue that that’s pretty special.
Harvest Moon– Neil Young
Tear-inducing lyrics? Check. Brilliant use of acoustic guitar that is simultaneously fresh and nostalgic? Check. The ethereal voice of Neil Young? Check. Legendary Linda Ronstadt on backing vocals? Check. Harvest Moon is in my humble opinion, the greatest love song ever written. But the beauty of it is, you don’t have to be in love to adore it. For me, it puts into words how I feel about music as a whole. Songs like Harvest Moon are why I listen to music. The first time I heard it, I skipped it, thinking nothing of the random song on a random playlist. However, my mum told me to put it back, thinking I’d like it. She was so, so wrong. I loved it. I am in love with you Harvest Moon.
And look at it now. It’s on the playlist of my life.
When You Were Young– The Killers
Although I had definitely heard When You Were Young before, I was 13 when it first become something of a treasure to me. Driving to the shops with my dad, he played me this song, and I felt so. Damn. Cool. I read a story once that Brandon Flowers felt this way about Just What I Needed by The Cars. Well Mr Flowers, thanks for giving me what The Cars gave to you: a song that armed me with what is perhaps the most selfish, yet satisfying feeling in the world. For those 3 minutes and 40 seconds, I felt like a cosmopolitan cool kid. Nevermind the sweaty hair and cheap glasses; when I hear this song, I’m on top of the world.
Speak Now– Taylor Swift
Although it is very out of place on this playlist, I promise there is a reason for it. Promise.
My family were driving home from the movies, late at night, and we passed a billboard advertising the latest Taylor Swift album, Speak Now. I remember fleetingly mentioning how awesome Taylor Swift was, and then that was it. No mention of her until a couple of weeks later at Christmas, my grandma gifted me a CD copy of it. It was my most prized possession and is now so worn, it no longer works. I’m not sure if it’s because I genuinely love the song Speak Now, or because it embodies the album as a whole, but for so long, she was a monumental part of my life, and I have my grandmother to thank for that. So thank you grandma, for giving me one of the best presents I ever received.
1979– The Smashing Pumpkins
If you don’t feel nostalgic while listening to this song, then… that’s fine. For some reason however, I just feel oddly attached to 1979. I think it’s because it was one of the first songs I felt was mine. I had it all to myself. Neither of my parents gave it to me, I didn’t hear it on the radio, it just came to me one day and hasn’t left my trusty real-life playlist since.
The beauty of 1979 isn’t the sentimentality however, but the gorgeous and mellow way it becomes evocative of another time and place. Within the walls of it’s 4:24 playing time, 1979 finishes as it starts: softly . Listening to it is like coming home from a long day: it welcomes you with open arms and for that, I am truly thankful. There aren’t many songs that not only remind you of coming home, but feel like it.
That’s Entertainment– The Jam
I’ll go down fighting and say that “two lovers kissing amongst the scream of midnight/ two lovers missing the tranquillity of solitude” is one of the greatest lyrics ever written. @ me if you want, but those two lines are underrated and I hate that. In fact, I genuinely do not feel that That’s Entertainment has ever received the widespread adoration it deserves. That’s Entertainment is one of the bleaker songs on this list and for good reason. It is not a song that one listens to when happy or joyous. If you listen to it carefully, its doesn’t exactly conjure up thoughts of peace and laughter. However, it aptly paints a portrait of the world that is, if anything, more relevant today than it was when it was released; one of a world crumbling at the very seams. But, in spite of the wreckage The Jam so carefully portrays, I find some solace in those lyrics above. They may be out of place, a form of sincere and honest irony, but they are sung with such conviction, I can’t help but forget about the carnage rendered in this masterpiece of a song.
God Only Knows– The Beach Boys
A staple in the lives of many, just as it is in mine, God Only Knows is one of the best songs to ever grace my existence. I won’t say anything about it but this: I’ve never been in love, and that’s ok. But I hope that if it happens, it will feel like even a fraction of the love that God Only Knows illustrates; because it makes love seem like everything and more.
We Are All Made of Stars– Moby
Dad, again, I have you to thank for this one. We Are All Made of Stars would seem, in the first 35 seconds, an unlikely choice for a song that would go on to play a massive role in someone’s life. You see, the start is very typical of the songs I hate: mid-tempo, with a semi-organic drum intro mixed with late 90s-early 00s bass electronica. Gross. But then, it becomes something else entirely. It becomes a song, that for me, at least, is enveloped in the loving folds of my childhood; trips in my dad’s truck, driving in late afternoon through the streets still so clear in my mind. And as I got older, the song stuck with me, and I began to actually listen to the words and I realise now, how lucky I am so have a song such as this to define my earliest, and happiest years.
It’s a lovely sentiment, really. Maybe we all are made of stars.
Ceremony– New Order
It’s funny that in the playlist of my life, not a single Joy Division song makes the cut. Evidently, it would seem indicative of my attitude to life, if a notoriously dark band is nowhere to be seen. However, Ceremony, the debut single of the then-new New Order, is atypical of the group’s work that followed. Perhaps that’s why I love Ceremony so much: its not New Order, it’s Joy Division.
Ceremony, while birthed in the final days of Joy Division frontman, Ian Curtis, was molded to fit the sleeker and synthetic sound of New Order, reformed and reeling from the death of Curtis. Indeed Ceremony is the work of a genius, and the few versions available before Curtis died elicit a sense of brilliance and hope for what was to come. Instead, the world knows Ceremony as a song tainted with the sadness of this heavy death. Imagine what could have been.
On Melancholy Hill– Gorillaz
In a similar situation to Joy Division, Blur have been left off my list unduly left off my list. I’m sure I could make a strong argument Young and Lovely or even to some extent, Coffee and TV, but alas, it is one of Damon Albarn’s later ventures that holds its place on this playlist. On Meloncholy Hill is the most underrated single from Gorillaz and no one can tell me otherwise. Tender, clever and seemingly morose but surprisingly light, On Melancholy Hill is fresh and exciting, and it remains that way after years of listening to it on repeat. I just bloody love this song.
Here, There and Everywhere– The Beatles
Everyone has their favourite Beatles song and this is mine. Interestingly Here, There and Everywhere was inspired by my beloved God Only Knows and both songs are frequently regarded as some of the best efforts by both groups. But it’s not the critical acclaim of Here, There and Everywhere that drew me to it. Sitting comfortably in spot no.5 in Revolver, Here, There and Everywhere is a shock to the system after four songs of acidic rebellion, social commentary and exotic tones. After the sharp tang of Love To You, a gentler, sweeter and a song with fluidity comes into your life. I am jealous of people who have never heard Here, There and Everywhere. It truly is the most delightful surprise.
All That Money Wants– The Psychedelic Furs
This is a recent one, and would probably be the most latest addition to the playlist. I was at university with the other Crazy Youth when I first heard this song off All of This and Nothing. That night, I played All That Money Wants over and over and for the past couple of months, this would certainly be the most played song on my phone. Obsessed is a nice word to describe my current relationship with All That Money Wants. Richard Butler’s drawl, the acoustic guitar playing fervently in the background while the drums and electric guitar take centre stage all culminate to minute 2:21, when all you want to do is jump. And although that moment in the song is not dramatic or overly climactic, it feels like all that is happening in my life is All That Money Wants, and, for a brief moment, that’s all I need.
Come Anytime– Hoodoo Gurus
“What is it you want from me?” Hoodoo Gurus frontman, Dave Faulkner asks the listener in the first 15 seconds of this Australian classic. And, it is on the list, not because I love the actual song, but I love what this song reminds me of. All I could ever want from Come Anytime is a replay of nights spent laughing at Thank God You’re Here. Those memories are some of the best I have, and although I can watch all the re-runs I want, only Come Anytime brings me back to watching when I was younger. There was truly nothing better than an hour of brilliant comedy polished off nicely with the gift that it Come Anytime. Because indeed, I would come back, time and time again.
San Francisco (Be Sure to Wear Flowers in Your Hair) – Scott McKenzie
When I was 11, I was lucky enough to go on a holiday to San Francisco. Driving into the city across the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge, we were shocked when this Scott McKenzie’s masterpiece came on the radio. Random twist of fate, coincidence or destiny, our first glimpse of the city was to the magical words of San Francisco. Thankfully, the rest of the trip continued to be as epic as those first few minutes. Upon leaving, we left as we entered, singing along to one of the greats.
Living Next Door to Alice– Smokie
While I appreciate the New World version of Living Next Door to Alice, I, as those of you who are acquainted are am I sure, are more familiar and receptive to the near-perfect Smokie version of one of great stories music has given the world. Alice has been for a long time, a favourite song to sing along to, but a sad one at that. It’s one of those song that again and again, allow for emotion, compassion, sympathy and an escape from our lives. And that’s why Alice graces this list. Not because its a masterpiece, but because its a song you gotta love.
Common People– Pulp
I’ll say this: for much of my life, I hated Common People. I attribute this to my dad overplaying it and maybe that I never really liked the breathy voice of Jarvis Cocker and, I don’t know, I just hated it. So my dad stopped playing it, and I went years without hearing it. Until, one day, I chucked on a Britpop playlist, and behold, my one-time nemesis made its reappearance into my life at a time I really needed it. So I went home, flopped on my bed and cried to Common People all night. And that’s the story of how I fell head-over-heels for a song that I don’t think you’re supposed to fall in love with.
Sprawl II– Arcade Fire
Sitting around the table nervously, waiting impatiently for our new speaker to be hooked up, I can only remember how excited I was for a seemingly trivial moment in time to occur. I have said this before, but music, movies and books are high on the ladder of importance in my family’s life. So you can imagine the apprehension mixed with anticipation that was swirling around our house as dad got our now old-ish sound system ready to play music all day, everyday. And the most monumental moment you ask? What was going to be the first song? In the height of the excitement, Sprawl II came on, and all of us danced around to what is, perhaps, Arcade Fire’s magnum opus. Thank you Arcade Fire, for giving me a gem of a memory, and for giving the world a gem of a song.
Oh Bondage! Up Yours!– X-Ray Spex
There is truly nothing better than when punk meets feminism. Oh Bondage! Up Yours! came into my life fairly recently, around the time Donald Trump was put into office. Funny how life goes sometimes. Thanks to X-Ray Specs, I raged my way through that difficult time and haven’t looked back since. It’s true what Polly Styrene screams in the opening of Oh Bondage, up yours society, up yours.
This Must Be The Place- Talking Heads
I left the best ’til last.
I wrote a post nearly two years ago about why I love This Must Be The Place, and why I love music. Well, I will only say this: what it meant to me then is nothing compared to what it means to me now. Because at the time of writing that piece, I had only just gotten back “into” music, the music I grew up with. And I was probably only a couple months into a love affair with the song in question. Fast forward 20 months, and we meet again: I am talking about This Must Be The Place, the probable love of my life.
At this point in time, there isn’t much to say that hasn’t been said about it already. I can only tell you in confidence, that every time I hear it, I’m not reminded of anything in particular. There is nothing I can associate of significance with This Must Be The Place, other than what I am doing in that moment. Perhaps thats why I devote so much of my time and energy to it; in the end, its just me listening to a song.
Thanks for reading this, please be sure to comment your favourite songs in the space below.
One half of the Two Crazy Youths xxx