My music app of choice is Apple Music, simply because it literally has everything I’ve ever searched for on it. Even though it is annoying that you aren’t able to share your playlists with anyone. I occasionally go over to Spotify to share playlists.
Anyhow, for now I have this one daily playlist that I listen to everyday. I call it simply ‘a random playlist’ and I add and subtract from it according to my mood and whatever peaks my current interest.
This week I found myself adding a couple of Rihanna songs, after her superbowl Sunday performance, reminded me of how awesome she is. I’ve never been a huge fan but her songs have been in the background and on the radio for the last couple of decades, it’s hard to ignore them.
Also after the British Music awards, I’ve been getting into Wet Leg which has this awesome indy garage band kinda sound to it, with hella clever lyrics and two awesome female band leaders to follow.
And lastly my pick for Valentines day, some Lana Del Rey, in particular her beautifully merose love song Summertime Sadness!
I’m not a musician. I cannot play an instrument. I had piano lessons as a child but I have forgotten all of it.
What I am is a lover of words, who are intimate friends with music.
Words and music attract one another, they complete one another. Words have their own music if you place them in the right order, they sing and when they are together with music they become an orchestra of endless possibilities.
Listening to music is the closest we come to magic, a piece of music will put you in a good mood when you are depressed, will take you to a place or back to any time or place you have been. In a strange incantation which connects to you emotionally and personally.
My journey through music has been beautifully eclectic. Through my early love of hipster alternative indie music and living through the 90s which influenced my musical taste.
I’ve randomly discovered different musicians, fallen in love, become obsessed and touched by their music.
Now, today, this moment is such an exciting time to be alive. The world is so interconnected, all you need is an idea, a touch of individuality and you can share your opinions with everyone.
I have a clumsy knack of accidentally discovering things by mistake. I come from a working-class family of Italian migrants whose main concern was work. The most precious gifts my parents and grandparents gave me was the freedom to experience art, music and words. I never had anyone telling me what to listen to, read, or watch, I’ve discovered everything with blissful randomness.
I came into contact with opera and classical music one Sunday afternoon as a bored twelve-year-old channel surfing on the t.v during school holidays in Australia. I stumbled upon a live Met opera broadcast on the ABC network and it has never left my memory ever since. Twirling through the radio channels on my old stereo made me find ABC Classic FM, a radio station dedicated to classical music, which educated me on all sub-genres of this complex type of music, up until my mid-twenties when I moved to Italy and sadly lost this soundtrack to my life.
I first heard the American beat poet Allen Ginsberg performing his Ballad of the Skeletons on Australian Triple J radio station, the year that he died, which lead me to Jack Kerouac, Patti Smith and an entire generation of artists I didn’t know existed.
I heard Roy Orbison when his final album came out in 1988, warbling out You Got it, I fell for his ephemeral voice and slowly worked my way backwards through the catalogue of one of the founding fathers of Rock and Roll, gathering an understanding of everyone from Elvis Presley, to Charlie Perkins, Johnny Cash and the Grand Old Opry.
The Travelling Wilbury’s lead me to the songbooks of Tom Petty, Bob Dylan, George Harrison and Jeff Lynn. Which led me to Bruce Springsteen, Elvis Costello and Tom Waits all in a natural organic progression through American and British rock.
I discovered musicals also from the t.v watching Sunday afternoon re-runs of classics from Gene Kelly’s American in Paris, Singing in the Rain to Mary Poppins, the Sound of music, Carousel, Seven brides for seven brothers, Brigadoon, The Wizard of Oz and a whole universe of stories.
I’m eternally grateful for late-night classic movie re-runs which gave me the joy of witnessing Fred Astair’s fancy footwork and amazing works of art performed by amazing actors like Humphrey Bogart, Katharine Hepburn, Lauren Bacall, Peter Lorre, Charles Laughton, Peter Ustinov, Charlton Heston, Kurt Douglas, James Stewart, Vivien Leigh, Bette Davis and the endless stars in a galaxy who shone so brightly in the now classic Hollywood style. But then that’s a whole other story.
Today my playlist is a motley succession of artists from Icelandic princess Bjork, to the hauntingly addictive voice of Thom York, the beautifully retro sound of Amy Winehouse, the original power of Ella Fitzgerald, Billie Holiday and equally powerful Florence Welch.
There is precious little pop unless, despite the best of my ability, I find something too catchy to ignore or become transfixed on a chorus or a tune, but it soon works its way out of my system.
I’m Australian so I grew up with some great lyricists playing on my radio including Nick Cave, Paul Kelly, Crowded House and a whole new generation that continues the tradition of great independent Australian music.
The haphazard habit of discovery continues today when I am suddenly struck by the unique sounds of Billie Ellish and recent Youtube phenomenon Ren.
There was a period of my life where I forgot about music. As is the case with grief, loss or trauma, your body goes numb and you kind of phase-out of the world completely as you take time to heal your heart and slightly damaged soul. For a moment listening to music was painful. But eventually, the music came back, it eventually does as you begin to live again. Music has helped me immensely to keep going despite great sadness and holds up many of us.
Words and music have been the two things which have helped me through life. Music reminds us we are never alone, that we are each a part of a wonderful story which is, in turn, a part of ourselves. Our emotions are the same as everyone’s, and our experiences contribute to this collective knowledge which grows and continues beyond us. Music is a part of the universal language of love, compassion, emotion and humanity which sustains us all.
I live in Italy now and I’m fascinated by the sounds of contemporary Italian music which has developed along the same line as Britain, America and Australia. I love the sounds of Italian rap artists like Fabri Fibra, Fedez and Jovanotti or the trendy almost K-pop or glam rock sounds of Maneskine or the Kolors and the soul singer sounds of Noemi and Fiorella Mannoia.
Last year I discovered the music of Meat Loaf, who left us many decades of music after his death in 2022. I have been visiting the 1970’s for endless inspration and now legendary music that most younger people don’t even know exist. I have responsibably introduced my 13 year old son to Meat Loaf and Jim Steinman’s album A Bat Out of Hell which is one of the most popular albums of all time.
It is truly fascinating to think of how we each have a unique relationship with music and song. How we discover different artists at different times of our lives. And how some artists and songs are intimately connected to our memories or to certain places or people.
For me, the appeal of music is how it is able to congure up a unique sound, character or story which invades my mind and eventually becomes a part of my heart.
There is something about music and words that gives us pleasure, helps to forget sadness, laugh or cry, but above all it’s a unique connection to an emotive universal language.
My listening playlist is uniquely connected to me and my personality, we each have a personal soundtrack which accompanies us through life.
This journey through life, gives us so many experiences, including randomly discovering amazing music. I hope to share what I have heard so far.
What’s on your playlist this week? Is there one song that’s stuck in your head for now?
I hate to be long-winded, so I will stop here for now.
I’ll keep writing something worthwhile, well thought out and new here every now and then, perhaps more often if I get into a karmic writing zone.
Thanks for reading along here, and be sure to send this to a friend or someone you think might enjoy it.
Speak again soon.
With love and light
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