Date: Saturday 15th October
Where I am: On a train to Kings Lynn via Cambridge
Listening to: Beyoncé – Lemonade
“It is my belief that there are two things that bring people together; food and music”
I can’t remember where I read that, or rather a version of that, but I think it’s true, don’t you?
Look into a crowd at pretty much any concert and you will see a diverse mix of people. People of all ages, nationalities, genders, sexual orientations, religions, political beliefs… the list goes on. Music is accessible to all.
Music is so much apart of my life that a few of my closest ones have expressed surprise that I haven’t written about it yet, bar my post last year about my top ten Xmas songs. Especially as what I write comes from the ‘art and music is in mine.
I don’t understand those people who can go a day without listening to music. I don’t make a journey without my ear/headphones. On those days I’ve rushed out and forgotten them I feel lost and disappointed in myself.
The first thing I do in the morning when I wake is put on music. The last thing I do at night before bed is listen to music, I very often go to bed with my earphones in. I guess it is so much apart of my life, and I am so passionate about it that I can’t fathom how someone can be ‘meh’ on it and yes, those people do exist! I’ve met them!
I don’t know when my love (read: obsession) with music started, quite possibly in the womb. My mum especially is a big music fan; I envy some of the concerts she went when she was younger. Sixties and Seventies music were the soundtrack to my childhood. By all accounts my favourite song as a bub was Queen’s ‘Radio Ga Ga’. 27 years later and Queen still have a permanent position in my heart and iTunes library, although my favourite song of theirs is no longer ‘Radio Ga Ga’.
All through school I was involved in performing arts; choirs, musicals, plays. If there was music involved I was probably there. Until I was about 7 the music I listened to was whatever my mum and dad had on at the house. This could be anything from The Beatles to Chas n Dave to Dolly Parton to The Who. ELO, The Kinks, Shania Twain, Celine Dion, Queen and Elvis were also staples of my childhood. Movie soundtracks that were played were always from Disney movies (as if there would be a blog about music without Disney mentioned) or musicals. My sisters and I spent many an hour singing along to Julie Andrews in ‘The Sound of Music’ and Judy Garland in ‘Meet me in St. Louis’.
When I was in middle school I started to move up to date with my music because of one thing and one thing only; The Spice Girls. Like most little girls I adored them – I wanted to be Baby Spice. Wannabe was the shit. Pop music had entered my life. From then on I loved everything Pop including boy bands. I was always an *NSync girl (Justin Timberlake was my first ever celebrity crush) although I did enjoy a bit of BSB too (Brian was my favourite). Every girl who liked a boy band had a favourite. It was the law. You said you liked a boy band and you had to have a favourite. I also discovered Britney Spears around this time. I remember seeing her ‘Baby, one more time’ video on The Box TV channel and thinking I want to be like her when I’m older!
The first tape I bought (yes, cassette tapes were a thing) was *NSync ‘I want you back’. I loved it. I played it to death in my Sony tape player. You couldn’t pry that thing from my hands. I sang along with Justin and the boys thinking I was the bee’s knees.
Then a group came along that made me forget about JT (not fully, you could never forget about that face). Remember Hanson? The first full-length album I ever bought was their Middle of Nowhere. I was 8 and I loved those longhaired boys. Zac the drummer was my favourite. By this point I had graduated to a Sony Walkman so this album was on a CD. It was a repeat of NSync – I played that CD and sang along with the boys. I danced around to Mmmmbop, cried to ‘I will come to you’ and wondered where Johnny went.
That classic 90’s pop was everything to me until I discovered two thing; boys with guitars and rap music. We’ll start with the latter.
I remember my big sister coming home from school one day talking about this rapper called Eminem. She’d bought his second album ‘The Marshall Mathers LP’. The whole house listened to that record a LOT. My mum and dad had never played rap before and this change of pace fascinated me. He spoke really quickly, swore, and it felt heavy. It wasn’t the airy-fairy pop I’d listened to for the last few years. This was anger, frustration. This was real; this was someone’s story, someone’s life. It wasn’t a giant machine that had handed a number 1 hit to a singer and said sing this. This had substance to it. In the years that followed I discovered the UK urban scene – of course So Solid Crew were at the forefront of that. 21 seconds was probably the first song from that scene to go mainstream. From them I discovered people like Kano, Wiley, Dizzee Rascal, Tinie Tempah, Skepta. All of whom are still regularly played from my iTunes library. The number of rap and hip-hop artists in my library has grown over the years but Em will always be my favourite; he was my first and you never forget that do you?! Having said that, I was introduced properly to Kid Cudi in 2010 and he is also a firm favourite now too.
Boys with guitars. You gotta love them right? When I was mid teens I discovered them and I loved them. Hanson were a pop equivalent, as were Maroon 5 when they dropped on the scene when I was in secondary school. These boys with guitars played heavier stuff, some called it emo – I called it bloody brilliant. Simple Plan, Fall Out Boy, Panic! at the Disco, All American Rejects, Bowling for Soup, My Chemical Romance – heavier stuff that made it’s way into my headphones included System of a Down and Bullet for My Valentine.
I’ve also, in the last few years, rediscovered a love for all things Country that had lain dormant since my childhood years. Currently Kacey Musgraves is my favourite.
As you can gather my taste is very varied. Music is my therapy and it has always been there for me. I went to a Paramore concert in 2010 at the 02 – it was around the time Hayley Williams had been catapulted into the mainstream because of her feature on B.O.B’s ‘Airplanes’ – and during their very impressive set (Paramore’s back catalogue is banging) she said something that has stuck with me all these years:
“Never stop supporting music because there will never be a day when music isn’t there to support you”
And it’s true. There is a song for every person, every mood. Whatever emotion you have there is a song that will be there to reflect that. The power of music – it’s a mad ting init. And also really, really cool.
I was going to list my favourite songs for my many, many, many moods but I think this post has been long enough. Maybe another time.
I would, however, love to hear your favourite singers, bands and songs. I’m always looking for something new to listen to 🙂
Until next time,