I do want to write a nice long blog about the adventures Nic and I had in Northern Ireland (after the volcanic ash cloud buggered away out of NI airspace and we were able to catch a flight) but right now I'm feeling a wee bit uninspired. Government cuts mean that my job is under threat and it's been a stressful day - a NI update in a few days.
Until then, it's time for a list!
Five songs that mean something to me
I don't like calling things favourite because there is so much out there to like - so I can't say that I have one favourite song. Instead here are five songs that have touched me and are meaningful to me in some way, in no particular order:
Tonight We Fly - The Divine Comedy
I love The Divine Comedy very much. I think my interest in them initially stemmed from the fact that they were local, but it did become much more than that. Neil Hannon is often described as a fop or a dandy, both of which are fairly good descriptions. His music is full of references to literature and film, and more importantly than that, it is full of the undefined and all-consuming longing that characterised my teenage years. Tonight We Fly is the final song on the beautiful album Promenade and it's a little bit of magical realism. The entire album is a treat, but for me this song perfectly captured the feeling of the endless possibilities of love.
Sinner - Neil Finn
Sinner comes from Neil Finn's first solo album Try Whistling This. I'm a big fan of Crowded House (and Split Enz, to a lesser degree) and have a great deal of affection for Neil Finn's solo music as well. I wasn't bowled over by this song on first hearing, but the single release included the live recording I've linked to above, and I was sold. It might be because I was an atheist at a catholic school that I identify with this song, but it has become more important to me as I've grown older. I don't like to pick apart every line for an interpretation, but it speaks to my feelings of guilt (catholic or not) and the difficulty of finding contentment and peace with yourself. Also, I love it because of Neil Finn's voice, which is just incomparable.
Silent All These Years - Tori Amos
My teenage years were full of important red-headed women: Anne Shirley, Helen Gordon and Tori Amos. I used to dye my hair red and wish I was more like any or all of them. My love for Tori hasn't extended to her more recent work, I'm afraid to say, but her music from her first album Little Earthquakes up to Scarlet's Walk has helped to make me who I am today. It sounds cliched to say it, but it's true that when I was an awkward teenager who felt at odds with the world, and hopelessly out of place, Tori Amos's music spoke to me. I felt like it could be good to be different or sensitive or whatever. There are so many Tori songs that I could list here, but Silent All These Years is very powerful. I won't dissect it for you - just go and listen to it.
Letting Us Be - Paul Curreri
I played this song endlessly when Nic and I first fell in love, and it's probably clear why that is! Paul Curreri is such a wonderful performer, and the simple beauty of his words never fades:
The world seems open as to whether
we should lean together
Two candles melting into one wax
Seems our road has long existed
as two wicks that have been twisted
Think I'll love you til it all goes black
Independence Day - Elliott Smith
I don't actually think that this is Elliott Smith's best song, but as this is about songs that mean something to me that doesn't matter! I first became aware of his music when a boy I liked made me a tape with either/or on one side and XO on the other, and this is the song that first reeled me in. I can't listening to it without thinking of spring days, sitting on my windowsill (with my legs out the window - nice health and safety there, Roisin!) listening to this. I quickly bought the CD, and anything else I could get my hands on by Elliott Smith, and this one will always be very special to me as a result.
I'm going to leave you here with a little extra one. This is a song that doesn't mean anything to me emotionally, but which never fails to bring a smile to my face. I love it: