So, there’s this guy I know.
Mostly he gets on my nerves but every so often he redeems himself by buying me the world’s best t-shirt, or falling off his boat and making me laugh until I can’t stand up any more.
We’ve known each other for ever, although we haven’t always lived in the same town, or even the same continent. But we’ve always kept in touch – maybe not through letters or emails, but music.
At first, we’d make mix tapes and send them to each other. Later on, we'd chat on instant messenger and our conversations always started with a quick game of “If today had a theme tune, it would be…”. More recently, we’ve used Spotify play-lists – sometimes just songs we love, other times we have competitions like trying to be the first person to find 50 songs that reference cheese or the world’s most annoying song EVER. We are terribly highbrow people, you can tell.
So it’s probably not surprising that when I was tagged by Sandy with the Infinite Playlist meme, which asks what five songs are the ones you would listen to for the rest of time, I thought about the play-lists that we've sent back and forth, and many of the songs that mean most to me are ones we’ve shared over the years.
We just recently had a competition to choose the best 10 song playlist EVER, which has inspired this selection:
John Mayer, Free Fallin’ (live version): A year or so ago, I was going through a hard time after my divorce. My friend had just left to go home after a visit, and I sent one of those texts you send at 2am when you’re feeling sad, saying, “I feel like I’m falling.” He sent me this song, and a message saying, “Falling just means you’re letting go of the things you don’t need.” Turns out he was right. He was also on my doorstep 48 hours later, with horrible jet-lag and a bottle of tequila. This song is gorgeous, and it reminds me of why he's my best friend. (If you've never heard this cover, you're missing out – it's on YouTube here)
Under the Bridge, Red Hot Chilli Peppers: Listening to this takes me back to the Easter vacation between my second and third years at Uni. I’d had a major family row, and couldn’t go home, so I stayed in my friend’s flat. We had no money and lived on instant noodles and home-made popcorn, which we bought for 20p a bag at the Indian grocery store downstairs. We stayed up late, playing FIFA video games, and listening to the Chilli Peppers. Especially this song.
Breathe (2am), Counterpoint: This is, I think, an American college a capella group, on a playlist I was sent about two years ago. I know the original version of the song by Anna Nalick, but as is often the case with me, I prefer a cover version that tweaks the original slightly, and simplifies the song to its essence. This is a great song to listen to when you’re in danger of having a meltdown, and just need to centre yourself.
Days Like This, Van Morrison: I can’t remember when we discovered this song, but it’s been the soundtrack to countless drives in the countryside, sailing trips, long nights talking crap, and days on the beach. It’s just a great song to count your blessings to.
One of the Broken, Prefab Sprout: This is one of my favourite songs ever, because it’s just a beautiful song, about comfort and faith and devotion. Also, it starts with the line: “Hi. This is God here.” Which makes me laugh every single time I hear it. I’m not kidding, either. It’s got to be almost 20 years since I first heard this song, and it still makes me smile, but the song itself is very moving, I think. It's on YouTube, too, if you're not familiar.
Oh, and this is the link to the 10 Songs playlist in question on Spotify – if you've got Spotify, click on the link and it will open in your account. It's not as good as my playlist, obviously, but it's definitely worth a listen just for the first song, which includes possibly the funniest lyric of all time: "Since Jesus Christ came in, and cleansed my soul of sin, I'm in, right in, right up, right down, right happy all the time." Marvellous.
I'm not sure who has and hasn't done this meme yet, but I'll tag Porridgebrain, Cafe Bebe, A Mother's Ramblings and Snaffles Mummy if they haven't done the dirty yet. And, just because I know he will squeal like a small kitten with excitement, I'll add Jed Hallam to the mix.