They’re Playing Your Song: Little Soundtracks For Everyday People

At various times in my life, I’ve taken on different songs as themes. Little anthems that seem so plugged into how I felt that I could almost have written them myself, had I the musical skill/ genius/ time/ ability to stay out of the bar long enough/ ability to withstand solitude/ I could make a million excuses/ ability to stop making excuses…

Theme songs find us in two distinct ways. Or at least that is how it has always been for me. The first way is the best way. A perfect song, discovered in the perfect place, at the perfect time. A lightning bolt. An explosion of your spirit.

The second, more common method is to rediscover an old song when you are ready for it. Sometimes the rediscovery is a happy accident. Other times it is a deliberate seeking out. It’s all good. The mystical romantic falls in love again and it’s all Stevie Nicks Rooms On Fire. The jilted heart wants to break over and over again and so it loops all six minutes and forty-seven bitter seconds of Elvis Costello’s I Want You.

I’m always thinking about music and I’m always over-sharing. Because of this, most of my themes find their way onto the blog or the radio show. But I would love to know what other people’s themes are. Other people do this, surely?

When I was growing up, my Mum would amend the lyrics to Paul Kelly songs to match them up with her circumstances. It was funny and cute. But also sad and beautiful. In ‘To Her Door’, the number of children in the song’s soon to be broken home was multiplied thus:

They got married early
Never had no money
Then when he got laid off
They really hit the skids
He started up his drinking
Then they started fighting
He took it pretty badly
She took seven kids

At the moment, I’m fixated on a Joni Mitchell song. It’s not the first one of hers that I have found myself drawn to, even though it took me many, many years to get over my initial uncertainty about whether or not I even liked her. Certainly ‘A Case Of You’ and ‘Both Sides Now’ have been up there as themes. But at the moment, I’m on vacation and I’m all romantic and wild-eyed and so I’m here:

Joni Mitchell – You Turn Me On, I’m A Radio

If you’re driving into town
With a dark cloud above you
Dial in the number
Who’s bound to love you
You turn me on
I’m a radio
I’m a country station
I’m a little bit corny
I’m a wildwood flower

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4 Comments

Filed under THOUGHT OF THE DAY

4 responses to “They’re Playing Your Song: Little Soundtracks For Everyday People

  1. Sophie Wiesner

    on my soundtrack recently, after a heady break up:
    roy orbison’s ‘a love so beautiful’ for the moment i knew we were falling apart: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x6_cYblCaIU
    phil collins ‘against all odds’ for the cliched desperation: http://www.dailymotion.com/video/xu4uz_phil-collins-against-all-odds_music
    lucinda williams’ ‘broken butterflies’ for the anger: http://www.mp3.pervii.com/en/lyrics/94931.htm
    tim buckley’s ‘song to the siren’ when i was falling in love again:

    and so so many more…

  2. Stuart

    Another great piece Emma – made my think of my favourite Joni song – Amelia – which contains some of the greatest breakup lines of all time:
    “I wish that he was here tonight
    It’s so hard to obey
    His sad request for me to kindly stay away
    So this is how I hide the hurt
    As the road leads cursed and charmed
    I tell Amelia it was just a false alarm.”

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