I am having a bad day.
And it’s only 10.40am, which is a pretty impressive stat when you think about it. But, rather than sit here and be a misery guts, with Roadrunner vs Wile E. Coyote type images of annoying people and subsequently-dropped anvils in my head, I am going to write about one of my favourite subjects in the world. I have to say here, that this blog was inspired by my dear friend Lee, who herself once blogged about this same subject. So when you read this, missus, this one’s for you.
Shakespeare once famously said “If music be the food of love, play on”, and whilst in this context I’m thinking he was a bit more about the loving than the playing, he did, by default, make an important point. Music is a very powerful medium. It communicates with people on so many levels – as much with words as with sounds, which is phenomenal when you think about it. It’s different to body language, different to the written word…it’s at it’s most potent when it relies solely on the sense of being heard.
Billy Joel was once asked in an interview about a comment that – in researching him – the journalist said she came across again and again: that a lot of people when asked if there were ever to be a soundtrack of their life, and if so who would be on it. Joel’s name came up constantly. I can’t imagine what that must be like for a musician – to be sitting at home one day, leaning over a piano, and suddenly think to trace a melody over the words “it’s nine o’clock on a Saturday”, only to one day stand on arena stage surrounded by thousands upon thousands of people who now sing those words and every one that follows because they know it by heart. I think of what Piano Man means to me as opposed to the millions of other people who have loved that song over time. Maybe they heard it at a bar over a jukebox, or when the man himself sang it on stage. For me, I hear it and all I see is my little sister sitting at the big upright piano in our living room, her teenage hands thumping those magical blue collar chords out with a total love of the sound they made and making the exact same concentration face my mum makes when she plays. I love that song, because I love all that it embodies.But sometimes it’s bigger than just one song. For example, did you ever wonder what was the biggest part of making The Mission one of the most moving, phenomenal films ever made? The acting was superb of course – Jeremy Irons and Al Pacino were, as always, in a class utterly their own – but it was Ennio Morricone’s score that took that film to another plane of brilliance and beauty, to place that just takes your breath away.
The eerie childlike beauty of soaring ancient voices come to own you in a way as you watch it; all silence afterwards feels like a kind of withdrawal, as though you’ve landed back on earth after listening to heaven, it’s so powerful. Like all great scores, the The Mission will captivate your mind, but it is the music that compliments it, glittering with more facets than a brilliant cut diamond, that will ultimately pierce your heart.
It drives, consoles, impassions, angers, energises, traumatises and gives wings to moments that could other wise have been left unsung in the dark.
We hall have our tastes and our triggers. You could be one of those people who stands in your kitchen cooking pasta whilst listening to Puccini and conducting your invisible orchestra with the wooden stirring spoon until al dente becomes alfredo. You could be one of those people who stands in the bathroom and re-enacts Taylor Swift music videos in the vanity mirror (incidentally, just like Taylor Swift does), or who can mentally re-enact every lick of a Springsteen guitar riff in your head (personal favourite is a toss up between Murder Incorporated or Born to Run, FYI).
Or of course you could be like me, and have all red wine roads lead inevitably to that Bridget Jones moment of singing All By Myself at the top of your lungs whilst wearing owl pyjamas, bawling your eyes out and simulatneously searching out Die Hard with A Vengance because you need an action sequence to get you out of this emotional rut.
So, with all that in mind, please find below, the soundtrack of me – my list of songs for that moment when…
I’m So Happy I Could Explode
Neil Diamond – Cherry Cherry. Seriously. If I ever get a tattoo I’m stealing the line “Gonna make our own lightning”.
I Think Nobody Else Is Listening
Spice Girls – Who Do You Think You Are? Ginger was the BOMB. A feminist in a girl band who wears the Union Jack as a mini dress. I LOVE YOU, GERI HALLIWELL.
I Came Here To Do One Thing, and That Thing Is Rock
Bruce Springsteen & E Street Band – Murder Incorporated. The Boss: Greatest. Rockstar Ever. Guitar Solo Gold. And far out, he’s hot.
I’m With My Crazy Family and In Possession of Only Two Karaoke Microphones
The Proclaimers – 500 Miles (I’m Gonna Be). When my family does this song en masse, it’s not to raise the roof. It’s to blow the damn thing OFF, for we are epic.
I Need To Get As Far Away As Possible From Reality
Ennio Morricone – Nella Fantasia. There are many covers of this phenomenal piece, so this is just one of the best ones. It’s like someone turned light into music.
I Miss Home
U2 – All I Want Is You. At the heart of this song is the idea that no matter what we think we need, or want, or are possibly able to ask for, at heart we just want to be with the ones we love. Utterly moves me every time.
I Need A Guaranteed Good Cry
Sarah McLachlan – When She Loved Me (From Toy Story 2). The meaning of this song is too close to home to write here. Suffice to say it…means a lot.
I Have a Dance Routine In My Head & Need A Song That Does it Justice
Rob Thomas – This Is How A Heart Breaks. It takes me 20-22 minutes by bus to get from home to work and back again every day. The dance sequences I have composed in my head for this song over those many trips are blisteringly violently awesome to imagine. And for some reason Channing Tatum always ends up as the male lead. Go figure.
I Need to Get My Groove On
Glee Cast – Gold Digger. I. LOVE. THIS. COVER. That said Matthew Morrison could do a moving rendition of the manual for my VCR and I would still love it more than the original version of this song. It is FANTASTIC. It also makes for an excellent Flash Mob dance :)
Apologies I can’t get the vid for this one, but you can watch it here @ CNN.
I Feel Pretty Smokin’ Hot Tonight
Bruce Springsteen – Fire. Watch it. Just WATCH it. Every note he sings may as well be a spark. The man is electrifying.
I’m Starring in My Own Mental Action Sequence
The Vines – Get Free. The lead singer is dead-set nuts, but this is my action sequence with a score. For the record I’m seeing…a Dodge Viper, one I’m possibly driving with my ankles, whilst hanging out on the bonnet, shooting at bad guys with my custom made custom Safari Arms Matchmaster 1911 clone…wait, is that me or Angelina Jolie? I can never remember ;)
I Wish I Had That Love
Bruce Springsteen & E Street Band – If I Should Fall Behind. My favourite song in the entire universe. As heartbreaking and tender as it is beautiful. Gets you in your soul. For me, this song is steeped in so much memory and beauty, and so many tears. Sometimes it’s like an old friend, sometimes like a loved one lost returning. It’s perfect.
I Feel Like Kicking Somone’s Ass Clear Into Next Tuesday
U2 – Vertigo. I don’t care if Bono wears pink sunglasses and spends half his time on stage looking like he’s trying to re-create the I Believe I Can Fly film clip. One listen of this song and you’ll want to go out and start a bar fight, just so you’ve got something to turn ninja too. I think even Chuck Norris would approve of this song. If not, he would have roundhouse kicked it by now.
I Need Quiet
Stevie Wonder – Feeding Off The Love Of The Land. I grew up with this song on an album my dad used to play over and over since we were kids, something about a Romanian Child Appeal. It had a spectacular line up pf artists on it, including Elton John and The Travelling Wilburies. This song though has stayed with me for almost 20 years as something to remember, only it’s not until I reached adulthood that the true meaning of it, and it’s humility, really made itself clear to me. It’s beautiful.
I Feel Like I’m Ready to Settle Because I’m Tired of Searching
U2 & Bruce Springsteen – I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For (25th Anniversary Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame, 2009). The lyrics to this song speak volumes to me. To not be satisfied with what feels good, no matter how good, if it’s not what’s right. If this song got any more epic it would rip the time space continuum in half.
I’ve Been Broken and Need To Be Put Back Together
Coldplay – Fix You. He sings “Lights will guide you home, and ignite your bones, and I will try to fix you.” It’s a song not about hanging on, but about what it is to be hung on to. The one thing a broken heart can never afford to forget. To be hopeful. This song? It’s like having a bonfire of it lit in your soul.
My Heart Feels Like It Could Fly
Bruce Springsteen & E Street Band – My Love Will Not Let You Down. The first is the man himself, and not the best recording, but being sung the way a Springsteen song should be sung: loud, wild, strong and proud in a sea of a thousand voices. The second I could not believe I found – Chris Martin (lead singer of Coldplay) covering it at a benefit concert. I could have died of all the awesome that exits in this combination.
I Need The World’s Biggest Ever Pick-Me-Up
Gene Kelly & Donald O’Connor – Moses Supposes (taken from Singing In the Rain). The. Best. Feelgood. Video. EVER. Just don’t try it after a few glasses of red. Things could get dicey.
I Feel Loved
Coldplay – ‘Til Kingdom Come. Just listen. Listen and love :) It’s like sunlight but a song.