100 Songs That Taught Me Everything I Know, #1
So I started the 100 Things challenge and it's probably about time I posted my first entry. Predictably, I went with music as my Thing, and more specifically, 100 Songs That Taught Me Everything I Know.
I didn’t have the best family when I was a kid, and often I joke that I wasn’t raised by my mum and dad, but by Morrissey and Dusty Springfield. My parents didn’t teach me how to live in the world or how to be a decent human being; pop music did. This will be a list of records I clung to, tunes I hid in when things were tough, and lyrics that held my hand and showed me that love isn’t supposed to look like screaming and fists. To me, these records were family, a chink of light under a closed door, a promise that somewhere out there were people who weren’t like the ones populating my life, people who were just like me, and I might never meet them, but they were there, and they were proof that however much it felt like it, I wasn’t alone. So let’s start with a biggy:
Song: Pure – The Lightning Seeds
Lesson learnt: Don’t sell the dreams you should be keeping, pure and simple, every time.
[look at me with starry eyes]
Ian Broudie (lead singer of said Lightning Seeds) once said there are two kinds of singers: singers who are good singers, and singers who sing good songs. He put himself as aiming for a spot in the latter category, but he underestimated himself. This isn’t just ‘a good song’, this is – for my money – as glorious a paean to love as any the Romantic Poets ever penned. It starts like a twee pop song, but listen to it, really listen to it, and inside the chipper keyboard-generated trumpets you find a timeless bugle call to dreamers:
Dreams of sights, of sleigh rides in seasons,
Where feelings, not reasons, can make you decide.
As leaves pour down, splash autumn on gardens,
Colder nights harden their moonlit delights.
And I love you.
That right there is pure poetry, but what really speaks to me about this record is the defiance of believing in a thing you can’t see:
I've found a place I'll never leave
Shut my mouth and just believe
Love is the truth, I realise,
Not a stream of pretty lies
To use us up, and waste our time
I can’t count the ways and times this record has saved me. It is egregious in its joyousness, that bass line borders epic, I could write you 1000 words about Cenzo Townsend’s lush-as-any metaphor production, and there are such beautiful images in it – “as daydreams slide, colour from shadow, picture the moon glow, that dazzles my eyes” – I mean FUCKING HELL, that’s magnificent… but why I made this #1 is that as a writer, as a person, whenever things get so tough that I feel like giving up, whenever it all feels like a pipe dream, I tell myself that my dreams are worth keeping – pure and simple, every time.
This is the record that gave me belief in my dreams, and there are no words for the worth of that, just a weird grin-tears-in-my-eye-thing I do every single time I hear this song. I hope you listen to it. I hope you like it. I hope it gives you a tenth of what it gave to me.
This all feels a bit didactic. You are always welcome to tell me about the songs that made you feel the same, or click play and respond however you want this dorky, weird, obscure, rubbish song I inflicted upon you if you never heard it before :D.
100 Things rules // join the 100 Things challenge