2017 has been shit in a lot of ways, but not with regards to music.
I’ve always considered myself rather modest and minimal when it comes to my consumption of music.
True, I have music playing from almost the moment I wake each day until about half an hour after I close my eyes for bed. Every night, I listen in the dark to a sleep mix I’ve created to help lull me off to dreamland.
Some days – some years – retreating to a deserted island sounds like a mighty fine proposition.
Of course, it would have to be a tropical island. Being one of those people who is always cold, spending a year on an island in the Arctic – or worse, the Antarctic – would create a whole new set of problems.
I’ve been snow camping before during my great outdoorsy days, but never in -34°C (-29°F).
To be honest, it initially struck me as absurd, the thought of creating a soundtrack for a novel, let alone my own novel-in-progress.
After all, a book is, well, a book. It is static and non-visual beyond the fact of seeing a print or e-book’s typewritten words.
To me, it made little sense trying to apply techniques used in visual arts (most notably motion pictures) to a format that most definitely isn’t a picture (this despite the fact that very good books can indeed succeed in creating vivid pictures in the reader’s mind).
I’ve always been drawn to, for lack of a better term, the darker side of Enya.
For almost 20 years, the Irish, New Age singer has enchanted the world with her lush, solo melodies – songs that celebrate the wonders of the natural and celestial worlds; the siren call of adventure; the strength of the human spirit in withstanding adversity; the thrumming heart of love in its myriad forms; and the wonder and mystery of God.
Like many music lovers, I often play songs whose meanings corresponds to important or special events in my life.
Kangaroos, here I come!
A personal soundtrack of sorts, curated by yours truly.
November is an important month for me. Why, you may ask. Is it because of NaNoWriMo?
Hell no. I already waxed poetic on my feelings about NaNo (and Daylight Savings Time too, for that matter last November).
Is it because my birthday is in November?
We’re getting warmer.
Tori Amos in concert in Vancouver, July 2014.
How do you choose a favourite song from an artist who’s been recording for over 20 years?
I own every studio release that Tori Amos has produced. I can’t say I love all her albums equally, but as she is my “life soundtrack musician” – the artist whose music has played in the background of most of my life, scoring every major turning point and encoding my memories such – I’ve been able to find something to love about all of them.
Which doesn’t make picking a favourite song any easier.
(Neither does the fact that she’s also recorded at least 100 B-sides/non-album tracks, both original tunes and some amazing covers. And that her sound is constantly evolving, covering everything from pop piano ballads, rock, electronica, gospel, cutesy piano ditties, classical, and even musical theatre.)
Anyone who considers him-/herself a music lover probably has what I like to call a “life musician”.
I have two:
- The nu metal, rap-rock group Linkin Park
- Alt-rock singer-songwriter and pianist Tori Amos.
At first glance, there probably doesn’t seem to be much these two musical acts have in common, and I supposed they don’t save for what they both mean to me.
As my life musicians, my fondness for them runs far deeper than for an artist whose music I happen to fancy. Or the singer of that current earworm I can’t get out of my head.
Rather, my life musicians are the singers whose music has played in the background of most of my life, scoring every major phase to the point that my memories of those times have become encoded in tunes themselves.