I saw this brillant post from Nicola at Simply HomeMade that she’s turned into a linky and decided it was definitely time to get nostalgic. Music is such an incredible method of pulling back vivid memories in seconds. I close my eyes and I’m back ten, fifteen years. This has been a lot of fun to put together, and it’s gotten me listening to old classics again! Here are the songs on the Playlist of My Life.
It’s probably easiest to break this down in a chronological kind of way – childhood, teen years, college and adulting. There are so many others creeping in (they’ll make up a Spotify playlist) but here are the highlights!
The Childhood Years Playlist
Picture Of You – Boyzone
Probably one of my earliest memories is singing along to this and Love Me For A Reason with my cousins in my Granny’s house. Pure cheese from the lads in Boyzone. Can’t really beat it for making me smile even to this day though.
B*Witched – Rollercoaster
My first tape! Innocent days where I didn’t read into any of the lyrics – they’re definitely more questionable as an adult! So. Much. Denim.
Reach – S Club 7
S Club 7 were EVERYWHERE when I was about 7/8 years old and this is a song I remember playing a lot. Even as an adult it’s one that is an instant mood-lifter.
The Teen Angst Playlist
Alanis Morrisette – Simple Together
Oh, all of the teen angst was done to Alanis, blasting from my CD player in my room. I’m fairly sure my parents thought I was going deaf. There were comments about the happiness levels of my music from time to time, but she’s a classic. To be fair, this is one of the more depressing tracks, but it’s proper teen heartbreak tune. Her greatest hits album “The Collection” was a very worn out CD by the end of it.
The Killers – Mr Brightside
This song was an absolute anthem throughout my teenage years. It came out when I was in second year and to this day, it’s still as much of a must-sing-along-loud song when it comes on. There’s lots of memories of Transition Year with this in it, and listening to it on a loop in friends bedrooms, alongside other bands like The Pigeon Detectives and Franz Ferdinand. In my eyes, they’ve not had any album to get to the greatness of Hot Fuss since, but I don’t know how much of that is tied to my memories linked to that album.
Kate Nash – Merry Happy
I went to see Kate Nash with my two best friends in fifth year when she played in Dublin. This song stuck out for me because of how fast she sung it – even faster than the recorded version. It was my first proper concert, so there’s lots of funny memories attached to it too. The song itself also is lyrically significant throughout the 10 years since – “I won’t regret, because you can grow flowers from where dirt used to be”.
Rascal Flatts – Life Is A Highway
These days, this makes up one of the soundtracks of a film E loves to watch again and again (Pixar’s Cars), but back in 2009 it was our Summer Song. The Summer after the Leaving Cert, much of it spent driving around Waterford with my friends with this absolutely blasting. We weren’t driving anywhere in particular, but we were 17/18, at the start of our grown-up-lives and this song always brings me back to that.
Hello College Playlist
These Streets – Paolo Nutini
I moved to Cork the day after my 18th birthday. Back then, I wasn’t used to living in a city – I’d stayed in Waterford for Summers, but compared to Cork it seemed very small fish. I was constantly getting lost and having trouble finding my feet. It meant living out on my own away from family for the first time and entering University where I knew very few people. It was the beginning of a grand adventure. “Cross the border…. Into the big bad world, where it takes you about an hour just to cross the road…”. While I was mad for the entire album, this song was the one that I had on repeat in those initial weeks.
Coldplay – The Scientist
The reasoning behind this one is a sad one – this is a song I associate with the death of one of my good friends from secondary school just after we started college. Her death hit me hard, it was a time where everything was changing and this was a complete shock to the system. Another mutual friend shared this song on Facebook the week of the funeral and ever since, I’ve linked this song to my memories of her. It was definitely one of those sobering moments in my life where mortality and reality were made all too real.
Bad Boys – Alexandra Burke
A much happier memory with this song – I associate it with nights out in first year in Gorby’s with my best friends, dancing and drinking. Just a lot of fun and laughter and love with this one.
Good One – Fred
Cork band Fred played a number of different gigs at college things I attended throughout first year and this song is one which stuck with me. There were many nights spent drinking wine with my girl friends, lamenting the boys in our lives, and listening to this. “Girl don’t you disregard the good ones just because the bad ones let you get away”.
Fleetwood Mac – Dreams
The first proper can’t-eat-can’t-sleep heartbreak song. Accompanied by Adele’s Someone Like You, but that’s very cliched. The entire Rumours album is a must-have for a reason, but this song in particular just really struck a chord with 19 year old broken hearted me, before the feel-good beats of Go Your Own Way made it all better.
Not The Boy Next Door – Glee Soundtrack (Chris Colfer)
I was a major Glee fan. As I said to a friend of mine at the time, it was what I could have done with as the bullied kid in school. It mixed messages that being the outsider wasn’t a bad thing with musical hits, definite winner. Not so much in the later seasons, but they did have their moments too. Much like this one. Chris Colfer, who played Kurt, covered Not The Boy Next Door from the musical The Boy From Oz (Hugh Jackman won a Tony for playing that role). The song itself came out as I was approaching the end of Final Year – it had been a massive year of change for me and the song just struck a chord. I was unsure where I was going, but I knew it wasn’t backwards.
Adulting and Beyond Playlist
You Are The Best Thing – Ray LaMontagne
I associate this song with meeting himself. It was, from very early on, a song that made me smile when I thought of him. There’s memories of romantic dinners and dates with this being played in the background, in the carefree early days pre-pregnancy, sleepless nights and parenting. Still rings true today, even after the sleepless nights, the stupid fights and the endless “It’s your turn to change that nappy”. We’ve been to hell and back over the last four years but we’re strong and this song will always make me smile.
She’s The One – Robbie Williams
I went to see Robbie Williams the weekend of my 21st – having just received the news that I’d passed my repeats for final year so would be graduating with my degree, and looking forward to party the following night. It was a gig for charity in the O2, I’d been one of the lucky 15,000 to get to buy tickets from the lottery. And of course, the only person I could have wanted to have with me for such a thing was by my side, my aunt Sinead, the woman who introduced me to a love of Robbie.
It was an incredible show – we were three rows from the front, there was no feeling trapped or confined. We prayed his wife wouldn’t go into labour during (she didn’t), he sang all the hits and a few new ones, and I sang my heart out to everything. It was incredible. We’re off to see him again in June – I hope he plays this one as it’s one of my favourites.
All Of Me – John Legend
At 32 weeks pregnant, I was hospitalised with hypertension, which would become pre-eclampsia. It gave me a whole lot of time to myself – a flu breakout in the hospital ensured a partner-only visiting schedule for three weeks of that, which was quite lonely when he was in work! This song was released around that time, I’d heard it on Grey’s Anatomy before it exploded to become the huge hit that it did. I listened to it a lot when I was in hospital and it was one of the songs I sang most to my newborn to try to get him to sleep. It did the trick most of the time too, otherwise we had to resort to Blurred Lines.
Hold Back The River – James Bay
I don’t know why it is I associate this song so strongly with the Same Sex Marriage Referendum of 2015. I think it was used with news coverage at the time. Nothing could hold back the river of love, or something, I assume is where they were coming from. It’s something which still has the impact of making me quite emotional, that win, the fact that we changed our constitution to allow love be love, regardless of gender. The entire Home To Vote movement was something of complete wonder, like the magic ending of a film. It was a wonderful time, and being able to bring my infant son to vote with me for such a major societal thing was an incredible experience. It’s something I can see sticking with me for many years to come as a major highlight of my twenties, and of Irish society in this century.
The Beatles – I Will
This is a song I’ve loved since my teenage years. I came across it in one of my favourite books, Memoirs of A Teenage Amnesiac (Gabrielle Zevin), and adored it. It’s been a song which I sing as a lullaby most nights to E when he’s going to sleep, so much so Himself just knows it as “THE song” at bedtime. Paul McCartney and a traditional very sweet love song, it’s gorgeous.
So, there we have it, a selection of the songs that make up my life. I could keep writing for so many more, but I don’t know if I’d ever stop. I’ll keep adding to the playlist on Spotify with more of them, but these are the main ones for memories! I had a whole lot of fun putting this together and am looking forward to checking out others involved in the playlist linky. It’s great to see different memories people attach to music.
What songs bring you right back to a specific moment? Have you got a playlist in mind? Let me know in the comments below what song brings you right back – I’d love to hear it.