Like certain smells and certain voices, songs can transport me to other places. These songs immediately draw me towards a particular memory, person, or place.
To avoid sentimentality, here are a few songs that are well worth listening to in their own right, but which mean a lot to me personally.
Spooky, Dusty Springfield
This song’s main riff is smooth sonic velvet. It’s also one of the first things that my dad taught me to play on the piano as I started developing an interest in playing anything that wasn’t my grade 3 pieces. I still play it now, over ten years later, and I like to think that now my version is better than my dad’s (sorry Richard!). He’d probably disagree.
The Classics IV version (more psychedelic pop) is also well worth a listen, as is the version by Atlanta Rhythm Section (a soft rock version). It’s interesting to see how different artists take and play with the same riff in their own style, but the Dusty Springfield version will always be my winner.
My Type, Saint Motel
Most people knew about this song before I did. I first listened to it drunk on a plane at 6AM. It was after spending ten days in Poland teaching English at a language school, making loads of new friends, and following a great night out in Warsaw. I went straight from the club to the airport and was listening to an upbeat playlist surrounded by tired passengers who had clearly all woken up at 3AM to make this flight. I will always think of Poland when I listen to this song now.
Van Horn off Saint Motel’s new album is also brilliant – the lyric ‘tell me do you hate me or do you wanna date me? It’s kinda hard to tell’ is, unfortunately, all too relatable.
Sound and Colour, Alabama Shakes
In year 13, my then boyfriend (I warned you that this would be sappy) made me a playlist. Sound and Colour was the first song on that playlist. It was the first time I’d heard anything by Alabama Shakes and I was completely blown away by the sheer beauty of the track and the richness of tone in Brittany Howard’s voice. The track Stay High on her first solo album is a must-listen too. My winter of 2016 was dominated by the sounds of the Alabama Shakes and this track still means a lot to me.
Lovely Day, Bill Withers
This song needs no introduction. It’s a classic and essentially the only song that Costa Blanca FM played during a summer holiday in Calpe with my mum and brother. This song punctuated our holiday; my brother, mum and I would sing the ‘such a lovely day’ sections at the top of our voices whilst on the way to the beach. This is one of the last holidays I had with mum and so the memories that the song brings back are truly special.