5 articles Articles posted in Music

My Christmas Musical Wishlist

Quite a while ago, Husband and I stopped buying CDs and other ‘physical’ forms of music, in favour of using streaming services or online MP3s, save for a couple of bands whose albums we always try to get a proper copy of. However, I really do miss the experience of buying a CD, listening to it in the order the band intended and even reading through the sleeve notes and lyrics, so I thought I’d make a list of CDs that I’d love to have on my shelf and the reasons for them:

Pet Sounds – The Beach Boys

Husband and I went to see Brian Wilson performing the whole of Pet Sounds plus a few other Beach Boys classics just a few months ago, and for someone who doesn’t believe in god, it was about as spiritual an experience as I could imagine. The are SO many iconic songs on this album, which is often ranked in the top 5 albums of all time and having a copy on the shelf would remind me of one of the best evenings of my life.

Blackstar – David Bowie

Husband and I are both huge fans of David Bowie and were both devastated by his passing, earlier this year. Blackstar was released upon his death as he intended for his fans to enjoy it after he was gone, like a musical legacy, and it seems only right to have a proper CD copy of it.

Bad Religion – 30 Years Live

Another band that Husband and I adore is Bad Religion and we saw them this year too. They’re an incredible band to see live (for an atheist, Greg Graffin looks surprisingly like he’s preaching when he sings and his stage presence is phenomenal) and this album is a collection of live recordings from the bands 30th Anniversary tour.

The Streets – Original Pirate Material

This album is one of my favourites of all time and reminds me of being young and probably a little bit wild. Husband loves it too, and although we hadn’t yet met when it was released, our joint love of music is something which united us. In terms of first albums, Mike Skinner absolutely knocked it out of the park with this one but sadly my original copy got stolen when my car was broken into a few years ago, so a replacement would be nice.

Yann Tiersen – Amelie

There are quite a few soundtracks that make it onto my favourites list but nothing manages to capture so many emotions as the Amelie sountrack. Whimsically, tragically, optimistically beautiful and an absolute delight to the ears, this is an amazing album to listen to when you want something to get lost in without the urge to sing along. Keep a copy in the car, the kitchen, on your nightstand and it will ALWAYS seem like the right thing to listen to at any given time.

So, what CDs make it onto your wishlist? Leave me a comment below.

The Importance of Music

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Music is something which is hugely important in the Mum’s the Word house. Husband and I are both avid listeners of all types of music and it has marked so many important occasions. When we met, one of the things that we realised we had in common was a massively eclectic taste in music which, surprisingly, overlapped in so many places. When we discovered that our favourite song was one and the same, something just clicked and felt completely…right.

I can never get my head around those people who say “I’m not really into music”. There are some songs which seem to speak to my soul on such a deep level that I can’t imagine not being moved by music. I suppose I’m quite an emotional person (in both a good and a bad way!) and on any given day a song can make me smile, cry or change my mood completely. There are some songs which almost reach out and make me sob involuntarily.

Unless you’ve been living in a cave for the last year or so, you can’t help but have noticed that many wonderful musicians have been taken from us, quite unexpectedly in some cases. Lemmy, David Bowie, Prince, Natalie Cole, John Bradbury, Glenn Frey to name just a few. For both Husband and I, the music of these amazing artists has been hugely important to us and although we didn’t know them as people, the loss of them as artists has been quite rough.

When you love an artist, especially ones who’ve been around your whole life, I think you kind of have this image of immortality in your head, thinking somehow that they’ll always be around and that you’ll get the chance one day to see them in concert. We’d both have LOVED to see David Bowie or Price or any of the others (although we were both lucky enough to see Motorhead in concert back in 2006, so that’s a small consolation). I know it’s quite naive to think that these people will be around forever; many were in their late sixties and certainly didn’t live very…clean…lives, but it still feels as though we’ve been robbed.

As a result, Husband and I have made a silent pact with one another to try to get to as many gigs as we can from now on. Last year, we saw Bad Religion, a band we both love, and it was amazing timing as they played in London on our wedding anniversary, so we got to have a night out together seeing a band who’s music means a lot to us. We’ve also got tickets to see Brian Wilson of The Beach Boys in September, which is a real ‘Bucket List’ item for us both as we’ve both loved The Beach Boys since we were tiny (when I was little, I collected vinyl records that I’d buy every Saturday from the second hand record shop at the end of my road and a Best of The Beach Boys was one of my prized possessions!).

We’ve also got tickets to see The Cure when they tour at the end of November, which is another really exciting thing for us – The Cure are one of those bands who we’d both wanted to see for such a long time but they don’t tour hugely often and when they do, the tickets are like hens teeth, so getting hold if tickets for this tour was a bit of a dream come true.

It may sound morbid, effectively ticking our favourite bands off of a list to make sure we see them before any key members die, but I like to think it’s more of a pragmatic nod to the fact that even the biggest stars are only human and we need to make an effort to absorb their art while they’re still around. Live music is such a wonderful experience and having more of those experiences together can only be a good thing.

Are you still reeling from all of the sad losses of this past year? Has it inspired you to watch more live music? Who’s on YOUR gig bucket list? I’d love you to leave me a comment below. Also, if you know of any amazing gigs coming up, do let me know!

Driving Music #carcraftsingalongs

Ever since I got my licence waaaay back in 2002, having music to drive to has been really important to me. When my first ever car got broken into and the radio stolen, I used a battery powered radio on my passenger seat until I replaced my car stereo, which should give you a good idea of how much I like to have tunes to drive to! Throughout the course of my life, there have been various songs which have been significant, like this one, which I listened to every day for about a year whilst dropping my Mum and work and my Sister at school, and we’d giggle and sing along in German the whole way:

Then, there was the summer that my friend Sally and I spent almost every weekend together. We were 20, both usually skint, she had a baby daughter and we would drive up and down the seafront to amuse ourselves and get her daughter to have a nap. This was our song of choice, which again, we’d scream with laughter to, not hugely conducive to naptime but it brings back some hilarious memories:

More recently, I’ve used music in the car to provide comfort; Sausage had a hard time during the first couple of months of school, suffering with anxiety and separation issues and one way I was able to calm her was playing her favourite song in the car on the way everyday. Listening to this took her mind off of her worries and really helped to diffuse a potentially horrible time for her:

Personally though, I struggle to come up with an absolute, all-time favorite song to drive to as there are simply so many that I adore, but this one springs to mind as no only do I adore the song but the video is pretty appropriate too!

What’s your favourite song to drive to? Head over to the Carcraft site to find out how you can nominate your favourite driving song or tweet them using the hashtag #carcraftsingalongs

Why Gangnam Style is So Culturally Important

A few months ago, I heard Husband laughing heartily in his office, followed by a yell of “Hun, you HAVE to come and see this”, so I went in and watched what can only be described as  the video for one of the most sublime pop songs I’d ever heard. It had a catchy tune, a killer beat, (and this was the clincher for me) a dance that I could do to accompany it. Could I sing along to it? No, not without a few thousand hours of Korean lessons, but it didn’t matter. Over the next few weeks, we listened to Gangnam Style at least once a day, usually while Husband was trying to work and Sausage and I were horsing around his office, but it made us all laugh.

Then, Husband mentioned that he had Psy’s (the singer of Gangnam Style) album, which I started listening to while I was jogging. It’s a mixture of classic pop and funky R&B sounding tunes and it’s obvious that Psy has real talent. Of course he does, the bloke has released 7 albums and 18 singles. People have obviously responded, it’s become an enormous phenomenon all over the world, reaching Number One in the singles charts in approx. 23 countries and charting highly in dozens of others. It’s had almost half a billion views on YouTube, and that’s just the official version. As far as I’m aware, this is the first time a Korean-language song has even charted in a country outside of Korea, so the achievement is incredible.

The reason that I think this is so significant is that it seems to have opened the whole world up to something a bit new. Aside from the fact that we’re having fun and taking the mickey out of ourselves, just a little bit, we’re listening to music IN A DIFFERENT LANGUAGE. It sounds ridiculous, but this is a huge  deal. England in particular seems to be full of people who don’t want to experience things outside of their scope of comprehension. If I had a pound for every time I’d heard someone say “Nah, I haven’t seen Amelie, it’s got subtitles, innit?” I’d have…well, a fair few quid. I want to scream and shout and strangle people because they, through wilful ignorance, don’t even know what they’re missing out on. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

Because English is so widely spoken in the world, we seem to have this sense of linguistic entitlement and feel that people or other things are worthless if they don’t communicate in our language. I know someone who lives in a foreign country and has done for many years and when I asked if he was fluent in their native tongue he said “Well no, we only really talk to English people out there…” which really shocked me.

We’ve encouraged Sausage to be as broad minded as possible and I genuinely hope that something a simple as a slightly spoofy K-Pop song has got the ball rolling in opening more people up to other cultures and made some much needed reparations to peoples opinions of multiculturalism.

And to Psy – we thank you, for so many things. But most of all, for the dancing.

I’d love to know what you think of all of this. And more importantly….can you do that dance?!

What Has Happened to the Top 40?

One of my earliest memories as a child is singing and dancing with my Mum to ‘Reet Petite’ by Jackie Wilson. It was re-released in the UK in 1986, so I can have been no older than two or three but I adored it and used to get really sad when the plasticine Jackie would melt at the end of the video!

When I think about it, many of my memories centre around music. When I was 6, I remember watching my mum get ready for her evening bar  job, backcombing her hair and squeezing into some seriously tight Levis, listening to ‘Ride on Time’ by Black Box. Around the same time, my Mum started seeing my step-dad and I fell instantly in love with him when he let me have free reign over his record collection. I’d sit for HOURS on a Sunday afternoon putting on album after album, being oh-so-careful with the needle on the record player, listening to John Lee Hooker, Santana, Van Morrison, The Who, The Cure…he had so many records and it was such an amazing musical education.

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