Music and Me

Date: Saturday 15th October

Time: 8:40am

Where I am: On a train to Kings Lynn via Cambridge

Listening to: Beyoncé – Lemonade

 

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“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,

 

Xoxo

 

Micks

 

 

 

Christmas Songs: A Top Ten

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas… ISN’T IT SO EXCITING???

No prizes for guessing my favourite holiday. There is a reason I have become known as ‘the Christmas fairy’ at work. I fully support the work of Santa and Buddy the Elf and agree wholeheartedly that “the best way to spread Christmas cheer is by singing loud for all to hear” .

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Which is kind of handy as music is my thing and that is what this blog is about.
As we all know we celebrate Christmas because of Jesus, Mary and Joseph and what happened to them a couple millennia ago. Christmas = Christ Mass. The date of December 25th is probably not Jesus’ actual birthday – a fact noted by various scholars- but those pesky Romans and Church Elders decided on December 25th somewhere between 340AD and 440AD (thank you Mr. Precious and all those hours of R.E when you taught me things I swore I’d never need to use again. Little did I know…)

Christmas is not really Christmas in the traditional sense anymore. I couldn’t say I know of anyone that actually goes dressed up to church on Christmas day. Rather, the day begins dressed in a onesie (probably from Primark), with stockings and selection boxes for breakfast. Many of the old traditions, old reasons behind celebrating Christmas have been lost in a tide of greed and commercialism. Presents seem to have gone from ‘it’s the thought that counts’ to ‘Did they give me a gift receipt?’; it’s quite sad really. Don’t get me wrong, I play the consumer as much as the next guy, I have a list as long as my arm of people to buy gifts for and start thinking about ideas for gifts in the summer. I’m just as guilty as you.

One thing that hasn’t changed over the years is the love of a good Christmas song. Whether it’s a traditional hymn, or a pop classic, Christmas songs just have that… Je ne sais quoi. Everyone has a favourite Christmas song, or a favourite carol, there are polls every year and countdowns on the telly to find out ‘The Nation’s favourite’. So, because it is now so close to Christmas that even the Scrooges out there can’t deny it’s approach, these are MY top 10 Christmas songs.

Let the countdown begin…drum roll please…

N.B click the song titles to have your ears filled with magical sounds.

 

  1. Queen – A Winter’s Tale

 

This is technically not a Christmas song, it’s really a winter song. I have put this on my list though because it is bloody beautiful. It’s one of the rare songs that, if you close your eyes and listen to the lyrics, you can picture, quite clearly, what Freddie is singing. It makes me forget how much I hate the cold, and appreciate the beauty of the winter months. As Freddie says at the end “ooooh it’s bliss”

 

  1. Christina Perri – Something about December“Lights around the tree, Mama’s whistling..” This song is the most recently released song on my list. I love me some Ceeps and adore this song. She wrote it with her brother and I think you can hear it within the song. It’s that It reminds me of home. It reminds me of family and always makes me think on some of my favourite Christmas memories. It’s like a big hug.

 

  1. The Muppets – Scrooge

 

This song is on here for the craic. The Muppet’s Christmas Carol is one of my mum and I’s favourite Christmas movies. We watch it as much as possibly every year. Singing along to each song, but this one makes us laugh more than the others. It’s the ‘naaahhh’ in the bridge, I think. If you’ve never seen the film you should be ashamed of yourself, ASHAMED.

 

  1. Cliff Richard – Mistletoe and Wine

 

It’s not Christmas without Cliff. This is his best one. That kid that sings at the end in a soprano “Siiiilent night. Hoooly niiight” cracks me up every year. The person who does the best impression I’ve seen so far is Aud at work. I will attempt to get it on camera at some point.

 

  1. Michael Bublé feat. Thalia – Feliz Navidad (Mis Deseos)

 

This is on here for no reason other than it makes me want to dance and move back to Spain/ to Latin America at the same time. A really FUN Christmas song.

 

  1. Britney Spears – My Only Wish (this year)

 

I am not even ashamed. Ever since Baby One More Time was released I have been a Britney fan. I always wanted to be here, even through her shaved head phase I felt for her and just wanted to give her a hug. This song plays at work and is the only song I always want to sing along to without being interrupted. Britney + Christmas = Michaela Fan Girl Heaven.

 

  1. The Carpenters – Merry Christmas, Darling

 

Only Karen Carpenter could deliver this song so well, with a vulnerability that the lyrics require. A reminder that, whilst we are swept up in the buzz of advent and shopping, some people would rather just be reunited with those they love. Especially our servicemen and women; whether you agree with why they are where they are is irrelevant. They are still separated at a time that is all about spending time with loved ones.

 

DUN DUN DUUUUNNN…. The top 3! Are you on the edge of your seat? You bloody should be, it took me ages to decide these.

 

  1. John Lennon and Yoko Ono – Happy Xmas (War is over)I promise this isn’t on the list just because it’s John. The message of this song is beautiful. We all know John and Yoko wanted peace on Earth. All these years later, especially after the recent tragedies in Paris and the East, the song resonates even more. The video is quite hard to watch but it reminds us that Christmas is also a time to be thankful, that, we in the West, largely live in peace-filled countries. It reminds us to take 5 and give something to those less fortunate.

 

 

  1. Traditional – O Holy Night

 

The only hymn to make my top ten (which I’ve just realised) but it’s a goodie; one of my Grandad’s favourites, my Mum’s favourite and one of my favourites. The link is the Carrie Underwood version, but I also enjoy the version from Home Alone that features the choir. A hopeful song, and we know Christmas is the season of perpetual hope (Mrs. McCallister in Home Alone said so).

 

This is it… the big one!!

NUMBER ONE. (I’m not very good at creating suspense so I’ll just tell you)

 

  1. Judy Garland – Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas.

 

Judy. The legend. A song from one of my all time favourite movies: Meet Me in St. Louis for those that don’t know. I can’t really put into words why I love it so much, I just do. It’s a beaut.

 

Sooooooooo, they are my top 10. What are yours?

 

I’d imagine a lot of you will namecheck Mariah, The Pogues, Wizzard…

 

Let me know!

 

Xoxo