Have you ever heard a song and suddenly been transported to a particular place or memory? I think we all have. There are certain songs we associate with certain times in our lives and even with certain people and whether those memories are good or bad, all it takes is for the first few notes of that song to start playing and we will instantly remember them. The reason I mention this is that I was recently asked to list my top 5 songs that evoke a recollection of an emotion or moment in my life every time I heard them; below are my answers.
Top 5 tracks and why :
- Baz Luhrmann-Everybody’s Free To Wear Suncreen: This is more of a life lesson than a song. It’s message is incredibly powerful and resonates with me as I couldn’t agree more with the positive outlook it encourages. The production of the song itself is the perfect combination of a calm soulful backing track to compliment and emphasize the significance of its message. The words are not only honest and personable but also have an element of humour which again calms and reassures the listener.
2. Jill Scott-Cross My Mind: It’s the summer of 2006. I’m laying on my back on the grass in a park in North West London staring up and the bright sun and clouds. It’s beautiful warm weather. I’m wearing my favourite white flowy skirt. I’m on a date. He’s gone to the corner shop to get us some drinks. While I wait this song comes on on my ipod. I’d only downloaded it that morning. I close my eyes and enjoy the sweet sound of Jill Scott’s voice and I feel extremely happy. While listening to it with my eyes closed my date returns and rather than disturb me leans over and we share our first kiss. I will never forget that memory. It was one of the most beautiful days I have ever had and every time I listen to this song I get to relive it.
3. Lauryn Hill- I Used To Love Him: Almost every lyric in this song completely relates to my first heartbreak. Our relationship was never what I wanted it to be as I wanted this particular person more than they wanted me and by the time I realised this, it was too late. I was already heartbroken. The lyric “he was the ocean and I was the sand” particularly resonates with me as he used to call me “sandy” as a jibe at my middle eastern background. The irony was that I never expected to fall for him and when I did I felt like I wasn’t the same person anymore. This song will always remind me of him but it doesn’t upset me, if anything, it empowers me as I know I learnt from my mistakes and I am wiser now because of that experience.
4. India Arie- Video: Up until the age of 16 I was convinced I was an ugly duckling. I’d attended a private school and I was one of a very few non caucasian pupils. Being different and being constantly reminded of being different by other children my age made me incredibly insecure. I didn’t like that I had an olive/beige skin complexion rather than white. I didn’t like that I had dark brown curly frizzy hair rather than blonde straight hair. I didn’t like that I had a naturally more curvaceous figure than the other girls my age. In the summer after I’d finished my GCSEs and had left that school I finally started to like myself. I heard this song and realised I was fine just the way I was. My differences are what made me me! I realised I didn’t need the approval of others. As long as I was happy and comfortable within myself then that was all I needed. Whenever I listen to this song now I am reminded of how I came into myself and started to develop a new found sense of confidence.
5. Florence & The Machine ft. Dizzee Rascal- You Got The Dirtee Love: This song will forever make me feel proud to be a Londoner. I have the live version downloaded from the 2010 Brit Awards performance and it just has such a festival feel about it that I can’t help but feel invigorated whenever I listen to it. In fact, I often feel the urge to jump up and down when I hear it as if I am actually at a festival. I love the production of this song and its melody, so much so that I used the instrumental version of it as a backing to one of my poems. I suppose it will always remind me that Britain has some brilliant music artists and our live music events are amazing!
So I’d like to pose you all with the same question. I also wonder why it is that songs have such a powerful effect on us and our emotions. Perhaps it’s down to the individual themselves. Perhaps because I am incredibly passionate about music in general and as these songs resonate with me so deeply, therein lies the reason for the memories I associate with them. Or perhaps these songs were played or listened to at particularly significant moments in my life and thus I shall always relate them to those memories. Either way, I’m grateful for these songs and for the emotions they evoke within me, in a way in makes them timeless.