The song or album that represents the time that is…

Image courtesy of Microsoft Clip Art

Image courtesy of Microsoft Clip Art

Posts at the moment seem to have either a common theme, or somewhat refer back to an earlier post. Recently, I was having some discussion with a friend about music lists. I have my 10 favourite on an early post somewhere, and a post on an idea called “the music map of me”. But in discussing we also referred to that old BBC radio favourite desert Island discs, and a feature in Mojo magazine called “All back to my place”, (where numerous questions are asked around your soundtrack for different circumstances, e.g. sunday mornings). So we came up with a new list. The idea is that you choose a song or album that represents you, or has a lot of relevance to you in a certain circumstance. I guess really they are about memories. So here is some of the list that we came up with. Some categories were easier to answer than others:

  • The music that reminds you of jumping up and down on the bed (in the non sexual sense).
    • That would be a compilation of singles by the band Madness, which I had on cassette. I really loved it at the time and yes, it reminds me of jumping up and down on the bed.
  • The music that reminds you of a hot summer relaxing.
    • Lots of tracks and albums remind me of different summers, but The Beatles “White Album, even when I play it now reminds me of a particular relaxing, hot time, where this just hit the right “out there” spot. Still my fave Beatles album.
  • The music that reminds you of moving home.
    • Bob Mould’s “District Line” album was a contender as this was played a lot in the months leading to my move to the US, which is of course a memorable move. However Bruce Springsteen’s song “Working on a dream seemed to hit the spot during that same period, which aside from the excitement of the changes, was also a reflective period, of what I was leaving behind.
  • The music you were expecting to be rubbish but turned out to be good.
    • I almost chose Mojo Magazine’s current issue “Psychedelia” CD (I usually think Psychedelia is a huge mound of shit). Instead it has sent me to track down several albums by artists I was not familiar with. However it reminded me of Orbital, a duo making electronic music that initially I did not get at all. Saw live footage, didn’t grab me. But when Insides came out it got such good reviews I figured it worth a go. This one seemed to click, suddenly I got it, and these days I still love Orbital. One of many things I love about music is how it can grab you at the right time, even if you had previously not got it. Music often has more depth than people give it credit for and the right context and timing can add such a lot (which is of course the theme of this post if you need it pointing out for you).
  • The Music that reminds you of your wedding or a strong relationship that isn’t you first dance song.
    • Elbow’s “A day like this” was used on our money dance, and that actually turned out to be memorable for a few reasons. However we also used a track by The Postal Service called “Such great Heights” so I would go for that. Incidentally, the album that track is from “Give up“, is being reissued this year, and toured again.
  • The Music you thought was Dad Rock (i.e. uncool), but you now like.
    • I quickly realised, Lez Zep, and the Doors were kind of cool, and later Bob Dylan, but I shall go for something different. Bruce Springsteen’s  “Born in the USA which was huge when I was younger, but totally not cool these days runs a different way with me. Over the years I have come to appreciate Bruce and what he does, quite a lot. I was surprised how much of this one I remembered, but with the benefit of listening to it with older ears.
  • The music that tells you “you’re pulling out of here to win”.
    • Tough choice. I obviously could not go for another Springsteen choice, the obvious “Thunder Road“. In all honesty I find different music inspiring at different times. However for this I do have a good example in mind, which is Arcade Fire’s “No Cars go”. I liked the Arcade Fire album “Neon Bible prior to my first visit to the states in 2007. This was the trip I would meet my now wife. During the trip I had attended my friend’s wedding and the various activities around it. Been to Vegas and had driven to the Grand Canyon (South). Once there, I had decided on some hiking and had been thinking about the trip so far and various other things going on in my life at the time. I was listening to the album at the time and walked to a clearing with an impressive view, as the sun was in the right spot, just as this track was playing. The lyrics were not entirely relevant, although sort of were as well, but it seemed to tell me everything was “all right”.

As I stated above, that is the edited list, there are some more categories, but I may save them for another time. Different categories would lead to different songs. If you want to contribute, tell me the answer to one or two of the above categories for you.


And now for something different:

Well actually not too different, it is a live BBC Radio 2 Session version of “No Cars Go”.


12 comments on “The song or album that represents the time that is…

  1. Margarita says:

    Music in the sense you describe is something I experienced when I had a car and listening to the radio was an everyday thing. After moving to the city, with radio reception not being great, I fell out of the habit of listening to radio, so I’m a complete ignoramus on the current music scene. I was a teenager in the late sixties/early seventies, so the music of that era, obviously, takes me back to those times. Even then, I preferred the crooning of Dean Martin and Englebert Humperdinck to The Beatles…yes, conforming has never been my strong suit. Today, I’m most likely to rock out to some Hawai’ian hula music with my hula sisters. Otherwise, I go with whatever’s in my head! 😉 xoxoM

    • Elliot says:

      I love music lists, as I’m always interested what goes on them. I don’t think my choices here reflect too much of my music tastes, but they do fit the contexts as put forth. So it is interesting to hear what people think. You should think yourself lucky that you are not getting all the x-factor, American Idol type rubbish trying to worm its way into your tastes. Me, as I have such an interest, tend to be able to avoid it easily, and I could not tell you who is the top of the charts right now.

  2. Carrie Rubin says:

    I don’t know if I can categorize it as well as you, but I like Seether or Incubus when I’m angry or feeling angst; I like Green Day when I’m feeling rebellious; I like dancy pop music when I’m feeling summery and light; and REMs “Everybody Hurts”, Gary Jule’s “Mad World”, and Tracy Chapman’s “Fast Car” for when I’m feeling blue. Those are just the first that came to mind, but as always, I’m sure I’ll think of more later…

    • Elliot says:

      I had to think for some of these categories, as not always did something come to mind. Music carries a lot of context with it, and makes more sense one time, in the right mood, or a particular context, then it might do at another. Sometimes a single might not sound great, but in the context of an album, sound good. So I see where you are coming from in using different music to suit different moods.

  3. jmmcdowell says:

    For some reason, I usually draw an absolute blank when asked questions like this. But it’s interesting to see what music others choose. Although, like Margarita, I’m really not up on current artists.

  4. DyingNote says:

    To that “jumping up and down” category, I’d say Rush’s mini-album of brilliantly done covers “Feedback”. I thought it was a very nice way to celebrate their 30th anniversary by paying tribute to the music that the band members owed much to. If you haven’t heard it, Elliot, I strongly recommend it (I had written about it – one of my earliest posts). And if I wanted to do all that jumping in sludgy slow motion, then “Black Sabbath” by Black Sabbath

  5. DyingNote says:

    An aside, I struggle with categorising. Maybe because of my extreme discomfort with being slotted.

    • Elliot says:

      I like lists and categories but I don’t take them as anything more than fun. I’m just interested in what gets in them, and sometimes what doesn’t.

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