Thursday, 13 June 2013

Ten Songs: A Guest Post by Lewis

Back when I started this little blog I wanted to do a little feature every two weeks called Ten Songs. It would be a mix of tunes and songs I had heard in the week that inspired me or that I had discovered or rediscovered, whatever took my fancy really. I also wanted it to be a platform for guest bloggers to share their musical gems and for us to all discover some new tunes together. 

I managed to get the first list up in the first post here but I am a slow starter with this blogging thing and it's taken me a while to get this great post from Lewis up on the blog. He very kindly wrote it ages ago and has very patiently been waiting for me to unleash it. So many thanks and over to you Lewis.

Hello there. I’m rather flattered to have been asked to write a guest post over here. Mine will be the first in a series of #10songs posts in this little portion of internet.

So, ten songs which mean something to me, with a line to explain why. Easy, right? No. Not really. I’ve been thinking about which songs I want to include for days now, and I’m no closer to feeling like I’m going to choose the right ones.

Well, I can’t procrastinate forever (well, I could, I’m actually VERY good at procrastinating) so I’m going to go for the songs which are right today, even though many of them may not make the list if I wrote it tomorrow.

The songs:

1. The Stranglers – Peaches 
You probably remember a time when car stereos only had tape decks, right? When I was growing up, my dad’s car had a bad combination: a tape deck AND a tiny glove box. Which meant listening to the same tape over and over and over again on long journeys. At least my dad had some taste. Peaches is a great tune, marred a little bit by one of the worst “oh fuck, we’ve run out of rhymes” lines ever recorded. If you know the song, you’ll know the one I mean.

2. The Specials – A Message to You, Rudy
My mum likes ska. I’m glad, because it rubbed off on me, and ska is ace. This particular song reminds me of being in the house where I grew up, singing along in the living room, with my mum. Happy childhood memories, with a fantastic trigger.

3. The Offspring – Smash 
When you’re young, but you’ve reached the age where you think you already know everything, somewhere around thirteen I guess, music suddenly becomes more than just music, doesn’t it? It becomes a way to identify yourself as part of something, or not part of something. When most people at my school were practically orgasming over whatever yawnsome dirge Oasis had just released I was quite pleased to be introduced to a bit of American punk-pop. Smash was fucking brilliant, precisely because it wasn’t being played all day on Radio 1, and because most people in my town hadn’t heard of The Offspring yet (that would come later – Pretty Fly for a White Guy anybody?) Yes, I was one of those people who only liked the bands other people didn’t know about. I’m less of a prick now, honest.

4. Nirvana – Something in the Way 
More teenage angst here. A friend from America who I knew I wouldn’t see for a decade, a skinful of White Lightning, a school playing field, and an acoustic guitar rendition of this Nirvana song.

5. Incubus – Summer Romance 
Nu (ack) Metal for people who didn’t really want to like Nu Metal, in my opinion; Incubus were my favourite band for years. A love song in the middle of a riff-filled album appealed to me enormously. But, more than anything, Incubus made me realise I loved singing. I’ll never be Brandon Boyd (pity), but I’ll always love belting out his lyrics.

6. The Mars Volta – Take The Veil Cerpin Taxt 
It could almost be any of their songs, at least from this album. Irresistible, audible, energy. Coincided with me going to university, and therefore a new period of wanting to define myself as “other”. Yep, still a twat…

7. Buck 65 – Roses and Bluejays 
Played at the best gig I’ve ever been to, an audience of about twenty in a room designed for over two hundred. Me and one of my longest standing friends. High as a kite. Brilliant.

8. Flight of the Conchords – Robots
Most “funny” songs aren’t. This one is. All of the FotC songs remind me of that nice, settled, but still largely free of responsibility, period before shit gets serious. It’s an important time to be able to remember.

9. Cat Empire – Two Shoes
The song me and my wife walked out of our wedding ceremony
to. Relentlessly optimistic and uplifting, I listen to this song every time I need to remind myself that despite all the shit things that can happen in life, I’ve got it pretty good.

10. The Moldau
A little out of place this one? Yep. When Cam was born, some friends of ours gave us a CD of lullabies. This piece of classical music is one of the tracks on the CD, which became a firm part of our bedtime routine. Also our re-settling him in the night routine. I think it’s beautiful. If I’d heard it before Cam was born I’d have liked it, but it is now completely interwoven with my early memories of my son. I get a lump in my throat whenever I hear it, because I think of the tiny, fragile version of Cam I was holding when I first heard it. This is currently a bit awkward, as it’s being used in a TV advert for Guinness, which is not a beverage which moves me to tears.

Well then. There we go. I was asked for a line about each song and I’ve accidentally written a short essay. Still, that’s what music does for you, isn’t it? It’s more than just a collection of notes, it’s a carrier of thoughts, memories and emotions. It’s who we think we are, and who we’d like to be, at the same time.

Thanks to Sharmila for inviting me over, hope I haven’t outstayed my welcome, I look forward to reading other people’s #10song lists in the future :-)

*toddles off to Spotify*

Thanks so much to Lewis for giving us a little insight into his life's musical adventures. You can follow his excellent and very funny blog here and find him on Twitter under @babberblog. He is a pretty ace chap, you'll like him. 

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