As Hans Christian Anderson once said: “where words fail, music speaks.”
It is when music plays that we all amalgamate and communicate in one mutual mother tongue.
Over the years, music has played a massive part in shaping my identity, as well as provided the soundtrack to various intervals of my life. From listening to Green Day’s ‘American Idiot’ album in the car with my dad, to performing more lyrical pieces in gymnastics, to the upbeat indie rock sounds of the Hunna’s ‘She’s Casual’, which immediately make me reminisce on my wonderful uni memories. I have been introduced to a plethora of genres throughout my life, so it would be a challenge to say the least for me, if I were only able to pick 8 records from my eclectic 23-year -old playlist.
But that’s exactly what BBC Radio 4’s Desert Island Discs does. Currently hosted by Lauren Laverne, since 1942 the programme has challenged numerous famous faces in acting as castaways, and selecting only 8 records, a book and a luxury item to take with them, in the instance that they should be left stranded on a deserted island.
Whilst of course only a hypothetical scenario, the show is certainly an interesting insight into what has made up the soundtracks to different celebrities’ lives, and since listening to the show, it has definitely got me thinking about the songs that have made up my life.
So, I decided to challenge myself, and come up with my own Desert Island Discs here, with my 8 records (and reasons for choosing them), 1 book and 1 luxury item.
1.Times Like These- Foo Fighters: Perhaps my favourite (if not definitely in the top 3) song of all time, this Foo Fighters classic has been special to me for numerous reasons. In particular, it’s poignant lyrics “I’m a new day rising; I’m a brand new sky to hang the stars upon tonight” are a constant reminder to me in times of sadness or uncertainty, that better times are coming.
2.Dancing Queen- ABBA: Throughout the years, ‘kitchen parties’ have become a household staple in my home, and no night is complete without this oldie but goldie coming on. It only takes approximately 0.5 seconds of this banger starting before I’m up on the dance (kitchen) floor!
3.She’s Casual- The Hunna: As previously mentioned, whilst so many songs have influenced the 3 years of my university experience, this indie-rock number is particularly reminiscent. I distinctively remember singing this song out loud with my former flatmates on a hill in Llangattock, Wales- perhaps one of my favourite memories with them of all time.
4.Holiday/Boulevard of Broken Dreams- Green Day: The American Idiot album is perhaps one of the first CDs I ever remember listening to all the way through. Whilst my dad did try his best to censor Billie Joe Armstrong’s explicit language in the car when I was 8, that hasn’t stopped me still continuing to play this album on repeat 15 years later.
5.Crocodile Rock- Elton John: So many of Elton John’s songs have a special place in my heart so this one was definitely hard. His music is always played whenever we have family or guests round, but I always remember everyone coming together, harmonising “laaa, la la la la laaa”s, whenever this number comes on, most of all.
6.It’s Not Living If It’s Not With You- The 1975: Again, another tough one to choose, as I have been a fan of The 1975 since their ‘Music For Cars’ days. However, this song in particular always reminds me of Summer last year, when I attended Reading Festival and saw them live. It was one of my favourite weekends of all time, so it only seemed right to pay homage to it with this number from the headline act.
7.Ashes- Embrace: Perhaps an unusual choice, but this song was particularly relevant in my teenage years. I remember my mum buying an album called ‘Epic: The Bands. The Tracks. The Anthems’ back when it was released in 2010. The compilation featured many carpool karaoke sing-a-longs, from the Fratellis to Feeder, but I will always remember this one being played on repeat.
8.Every Teardrop Is a Waterfall- Coldplay: Coldplay’s music has been a constant throughout these first 23 years of my life. From dancing with my parents in the kitchen to ‘Princess of China’, to performing my chosen record of theirs in a gymnastics piece several years ago. This band has always been top of my must-see acts list, and their songs will always be some of my favourites.
Book: This Is Going To Hurt- Adam Kay: Simultaneously both a hilarious and heartbreaking read, Kay’s memoir to his years as a junior doctor are an incredible insight for those who don’t work in the NHS. If I already didn’t have enough respect for the work they do, this book just affirms it further.
Luxury Item: A Polaroid Camera: whilst I admit I’m not the next Annie Lebowitz, there is certainly something novel and nostalgic about using a polaroid camera. I’ve used mine to capture many (albeit drunk) nights with my friends and family, and they’ve become snapshots I’ll treasure forever. So it only seemed natural that I should take this with me to capture my time on a deserted island!
Whilst this has been a more laidback, less serious post, it was certainly fun (and challenging) to come up with the soundtrack of my life!
If you want to listen to the actual Desert Island Discs programme, you can listen to it live on BBC Radio 4 every Friday at 9am, or you can catch up on all episodes, on their Spotify playlist.