The Guardian’s “Six Songs of Me”

A few years ago, the Guardian ran a popular segment on their music blog called Six Songs of Me that I always enjoyed reading. This morning I looked back over some and it inspired me to create my own choices, so here they are.

What was the first song you ever bought?
While the first record that I ever owned is significantly cooler than the first song I ever bought, I thought I’d stay true to premise and admit to it. The first album I owned was a cassette of Pet Sounds by the Beach Boys, gifted to me by my dad when I wouldn’t stop playing it. The first I bought with my own money, well that’s another matter. It was the mid-80s and pre-pubescent boys had a wealth of cute teen idols to choose from; Kylie Minogue, Debbie Gibson, Pepsi & Shirley; to name but a few. Mine though was Tiffany and I played the tape of her album to an early grave – if indeed tapes have graves.

What song always gets you dancing?
It’s hard to avoid the kinetic desire to shift from one buttock to the next and back as soon as this recognisable Wurlitzer part picks up but when that snare kicks in and the handclaps start, it’s time to get up out of your seat and hit the dance-floor. Seeing Belle and Sebastian play The Boy with the Arab Strap live is a joyous experience with the band inviting audience members to the stage to dance with them – it’s a song that has never failed to make me happy and to get me dancing, wherever I am, from the shower to the indie disco.

What song takes you back to your childhood?
I’m lucky to have parents, particularly my dad, that are even more musically literate than I am. While my dad can’t play a note, he’s undeniably an encyclopaedia of popular music. It takes a certain kind of man to name your two children Neil Stephen and Graham David after the four members of Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young. His favourites though are the Beach Boys – Brian, Dennis, Carl, Al and Mike (and Bruce). I grew up with memories of the Beach Boys at Live Aid, Help Me Rhonda on the record player and of course, the previously mentioned Pet Sounds Cassette which starts with this. Listen to that intro guitar. Listen to the vocal harmonies. I didn’t stand a chance.

What is your perfect love song?
As an indie-pop fan, it’s surely impossible to pick just one perfect love song from what is essentially the history of pop music. From the Beatles to Belle and Sebastian, pop tunes have always tried to express love in the most perfect, succinct way possible. Even choosing just one song from one band is excruciatingly difficult; take the band I eventually decided upon for instance; Big Star. I had to overlook the naive beauty of pubescent love of Thirteen to choose what, for me, is a slice of perfection: I’m in love with a girl.

What song would you want at your funeral?
A funeral song is a tricky one to decide upon. Do you want to be sombre? Celebratory? Do you want people to cry? To smile? I always thought I’d pick one from column a and one from column b. Vaka has always been my column a. Mind you, it has to be said, it took a dent as my funeral song when my brother and his wife used it as the music that accompanied her walk down the aisle. Oh come on guys!

Time for the encore. One last song that makes you, you.
Growing up as a music fan in Airdrie, just a mile or two away from the “post-industrial wasteland” of Bellshill in Lanarkshire, it was impossible to miss how important this small county in central Scotland was (and still is) to the pop music that came out of the country. Mogwai, BMX Bandits, The Soup Dragons, The Delgados and, of course, Teenage Fanclub. Chiming, bright guitars, distortion, vocal harmonies and boys from Bellshill. It’s hard to argue that Teenage Fanclub don’t represent everything I love about music. Radio is my favourite of theirs and one last song that makes me, me.

1 Response to “The Guardian’s “Six Songs of Me””

  • Encouraged by your article I’ve written my list – and it was quite a fascinating experience!

    1)What was the first song you ever bought?
    Definitely it was an album. Offspring? Rasmus? Roxette? I can’t remember.

    2) What song always gets you dancing?
    The most challenging choice – there are many of them! I’ve narrowed the list to two. Coolio’s “Gangsta’s Paradise” hip hop rhythm is 100 % my dancing song. But I award first place to Shakira’s “Waka Waka”, the official 2010 fifa world cup song – energetic, kind, inspiring. And after all.. I love football).

    3) What song takes you back to your childhood?
    Spending 15 years with two brothers who are seven and eleven years elder than me strongly influenced my tastes. My attitude to Russian band Ария passed three stages. Initially I hated them with all the depth of my soul (natural reaction of a little girl to heavy metal and rock) and asked my bros to low down the sound when I’m at home – and it’s natural that they made the sound louder. Then I somehow started to like Aria songs – and listened to them when my bros were not at home. The last stage was the public admission of being their fan. One of my favourite bands ever. Ария – Осколок льда.

    4) What is your perfect love song?
    My love for ukrainian band Океан Ельзи started on May 31 2014 in Lvov. I agreed to go to their concert mostly because of the amazing atmosphere of Lvov itself. That was the most touching concert in my life so far. «Не питай»- very personal lyrics, beautiful music, it encouraged me to take three private lessons of piano playing.

    5) What song would you want at your funeral?
    Би-2 и Юлия Чичерина “Мой рок-н-ролл” – nothing to dwell on.

    6) Time for the encore. One last song that makes you, you.
    Cardigans “My favourite game”. I played Gran Turismo on Play Station, I like cars and driving – read point 3). For me the gran turismo intro video with this track is much closer than the original one.

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