There are often times I want to sit down and write a playlist that would be a reflection of my life up until this very moment, then I think that I would need much more than a day to complete this task, because each song that has the privelige of being on the list has to mean something or make me feel something the very first time I listened to it. Analysing every song I know, and really analysing them, would take weeks, then having to narrow them down to a good number of songs would be the hardest.
As a person who uses songwriting as an outlet to release the stress, emotions and the feeling of the world off my shoulders, I draw from other artists alike. I love storytellers and I love songs that are so raw that you can depict the exact emotions the writer was feeling as they wrote it. As much as I find songs about booty’s and going out getting f*cked up fun to sing to and get me in a mood high, they aren’t the songs that inspire me.
I’ve decided I would share 8 songs that from the first listen meant something to me…
1. Hate It or Love It by The Game ft. 50 Cent (2005)
I was in high school when this song was released and it was a Saturday morning on ABC music programme Rage I first heard it. I wasn’t a massive 50 Cent fan and I hadn’t heard of The Game before but there was something about the song that drew me in. It was the storytelling element of the song that intrigued me. Hip Hop and Rap soon became a small smidge in my growing collection as I became more interested in the connection of gang and hip hop culture. I began listening to songs like Toy Soldiers by Eminem and Ghetto Gospel by 2Pac because I was fascinated by the back story of these songs. I began watching movies that exampled these stories and how the people involved made it.
2. Ghetto Gospel by 2Pac ft. Elton John (2005)
Just like Hate It or Love It, this song opened up a whole new world for me, which I am thankful for as they were an element of my broad music taste and appreciation of all music. I also heard this song on ABC programme Rage and my step brother actually said to me, “This song is amazing, one of the best this year”. I took his word because usually he was right. What I love about this song is the storytelling of black culture and the struggles of young people on the streets and succumbing to the pressures of being apart of the right gang or group, but there is hope and faith in the song.
3. Five Years by David Bowie (1972)
I can’t pinpoint a moment in my life where my fascination for David Bowie came about, but I know that this fascination opened my mind in the world of music and movies and culture, which also assisted greatly through university. I first heard this song in the movie What We Do Is Secret, a movie that is about LA punk Darby Crash and his life, in the form of a some-what documentary. The song played a massive role in the life of Darby Crash as he made a ‘five year’ plan for him before he took his life. The scene in which the song played, at the end of the movie, the end of Darby’s life. It wasn’t jus this movie scene that had the perfect music to it that makes it a song that is important to me, the song itself is the story of the destruction of Earth, and the best opening to one of my favourite albums of all time. It was around the time I first heard this song that it made complete sense to how I was feeling in my life. I was going through a rough patch where I found comfort in songs, and this one stood out and meant the most to me.
4. Make Up Smeared Eyes by Automatic Loveletter (2007)
This song was the first of many songs of Juliet Simms that inspired me the most when songwriting. The raw talent and passion in each song I heard made me want to work harder on writing a great song that really expressed my exact emotions and feelings at the time of writing. This song also came at a time when I was going through relations with a boy I had met in high school a couple years before. We were never together but the emotions he made me felt like we should have been. If there was a song that explained our five year on and off relationship this one would be it. Each time I was hurt by him I use to go home and listen to this. “Some how you have managed to get under my skin more than anyone ever did. And if every hole makes a scar and every scar marks its place then I will never live freely without your trace. And it’ll never be fair I wrote my songs for you and you never even cared…” That was the verse that meant everything to me during the times when I felt hurt and betrayed by him. Towards the last couple of years it was all on me who was unable to commit due to my mentality and emotional state within myself, this song still meant so much because it was my comfort during the early years. It was these years that the hook, “Pretending everything is right to make it better. I’ll hide my make-up smeared eyes to show that I’m fine”, meant the most to me.
5. Day I Left The Womb by Escape the Fate (2006)
This song here is the last track on their debut album Dying Is Your Latest Fashion. This band meant everything to me because I felt they defined who I was at the age of 15, and they are the only band that made real music and pop music can die… (quote of my 15 year old emo self). We all went through that stage. But that isn’t why this song makes this list, no. This song is written about the singers absent mother who abandon the family from an early age, and I think drugs were involved, but the song tells the emotions he feels and how it has affected him. Two reasons this song means so much to me. 1) It was the second song I ever learnt on guitar and 2) I felt a connection through the lyrics because of the relationship I had with my father. All the words were speaking to me and I felt comfort in knowing I wasn’t the only one who felt abandoned and destroyed by family relationships, although my story doesn’t involve drugs… at that point in time.
6. All The Young Dudes by Mott the Hoople (1972)
This song was way WAY a before my time, yet it has so much meaning to it, and every time hear that intro I reminisce the year I, myself, as a person changed forever. 2009, a shy little country girl going into year 11, about to meet everyone that was important to the creation of me as a person today. A group of kids who smoked a lot of weed, seemed to have been taken back to the 60’s and 70’s then brought back to be stuck in those eras, taught me the most valuable lesson in life, to just be me. Each and everyone one of my friends were alternative but not all in the same way. They expressed their personalities through fashion, music, films, literature and art and didn’t give a fuck if it was right or not. I grew from them everyday and embraced my individuality, not in the same way, but felt I was comfortable to. This song takes me back to the summer of 2009/2010. A year after I met them all we celebrated with a short holiday to Ocean Grove, a beach side town, where we partied and had more fun than ever. This song was part of our soundtrack, purely because it was awesome and a factor of the soundtrack from Juno, which we loved, but also to me, this song is about my friends, all through tough times but united and happy when together.
7. Daughters of the Soho Riots by The National (2005)
This song opened a whole new chapter in my life when it came to emotions and being lost in the moment. I can’t recall where I first heard this song but I remember when I heard it for the first time I was instantly in love with it, which then quickly moved to the love of the band The National. This song has made me me because of this feeling like no other when I hear it. It is hard to explain, but my body becomes still and the whole world around me becomes nothing. I realise during those 4 minutes I am being taken on an emotional roller coaster ride that brings me joy, sadness, love, heartbreak. I don’t know why it is like this, but I accept it. I was lucky enough to see The National live at Splendour on the Grass Festival in 2013 and I do admit I cried when they played this song.
8. Sleepwalker by Parkway Drive (2010)
This entry is more about the band Parkway Drive than a specific song. When I lived in Ballarat I was a self confessed JB Hi-Fi addict, a chain music, film, electronic store. I use to spend after schools browsing for new and old CDs, new artists, music that wasn’t popular and needed to be appreciated. My CD collection was my everything. It was teh expression of who I was through the sounds and words of everyone that gave me comfort through those tough years. I had heard of Parkway Drive before but never really listened to them, they were a little to heavy for my liking, but that was before I learnt to appreciate music in a whole different way. I bought their DVD and it opened my eyes to furthering my passion of music. It was after watching it in full I realised that with dedication I can do anything I want. In my head the only way to be in music was to be able to play professionally, how naive! The way that band started out adn their way of thinking and doing inspired me so much to apply for uni to get my Bachelor of Entertainment Business Management. It was because of this band.
There are plenty of other songs that have made me the person I am today, but this is a start to that life playlist of mine that I will eventually complete on my deathbed.
What songs have made you the person you are today, contributed to you personalty, your emotions, you soul?