If I want to relive any part of my life, all I have to do is to play its song.
I don’t know about everyone else, but almost every aspect of my life is defined by a particular song. Be it an event, a phase of life or a vacation. All I have to do is to play the song, and it brings back the atmosphere and the memories.
How does a song become the ‘theme song’ of a particular phase of my life?
Well, it could be that the song was ubiquitous at that point in time. It could also be a song that was playing over and over in my head throughout the period, or a song that I just happened to hear before the event took place and it somehow stuck. Otherwise, it could be particularly poignant or memorable catch-phrases in the song which fitted the event.
Every vacation I take with my parents, friends or relatives has its own ‘theme song’, which really helps when I crave for another holiday. When I feel particularly reminiscent, I’ll play the song, sit back and daydream … and suddenly, I’ll find myself back at the place again.
Almost every song on my playlist has an event attached to it.
Meanwhile, lemme’ share some of my favourite songs over the years, and the various life events they were attached to.
(Warning, long entry up ahead!)
1. Enya – Only Time
This is the ‘theme song’ of a trip I took to Kuala Lumpur with my relatives in December 2000. It was more or less a sedate trip, very peaceful. This song happened to be playing in the car as we were cruising down the highway back to Singapore during twilight on Christmas Day, with stars slowly appearing in the sky above. Positively memorable.
2. REM – Imitation of Life
The ‘theme song’ of a community service project I undertook in 2001. It involved the refurbishment of a child-care centre in Northern Singapore, along with some babysitting. I was playing this song on repeat en route to, and from the venue … and the song eventually got associated with this event.
3. Steps – Chain Reaction
The ‘theme song’ of a trip to Genting Highlands with my cousins in December 2001. The trip was a disaster, with people falling sick one after another due to the unfavourable weather, which also unleashed a series of unfortunate events. Hence, the song title ‘Chain Reaction’. Ironically, I was playing that song on repeat en route to our destination. It was as if I jinxed the entire trip with my song choice.
4. Groove Coverage – God Is A Girl
I was into Eurodance music back then, and this was the ‘it’ song of the genre between November 2002 and February 2003. As a result, it stuck and became the theme song of a string of events ranging from a vacation in December 2002 (a happy one), and me assimilating myself to a new phase of my academic life – Junior College.
It was particularly these four beautiful lines that were constantly replaying in my head.
There is a sky illuminating us.
Someone is out there that we truly trust.
There is a rainbow for you and me.
A beautiful sunrise eternally.
5. Pat Benetar – We Belong
Like the above, this was the ‘theme song’ not for a particular event, but for a period of time from April to June 2003. It was an old song I previously heard when I was much younger, and decided to hunt for it online. I fell in love with it, put it on replay and it eventually got associated with all events that happened during that time frame.
We belong to the light, we belong to the thunder.
We belong to the sound of the words we’ve both fallen under.
Whatever we deny or embrace, for worse or for better.
We belong. We belong, we belong together.
6. REO Speedwagon – In My Dreams
This was the ‘theme song’ of the day where my GCE AO’ Level Chinese Language results was released. It wasn’t your ordinary result announcement scenario – with students seated in class with a surly-faced tutor at the front of the classroom. Instead, the result-release timing happened to clash with a field trip we had at the water treatment plant, and so all of us students received our results at the site of the field trip.
All that while, I was at the edge of my seat, knowing that Chinese wasn’t my best subject. I recall screaming at the top of my lungs (yes, in public) upon realizing I had scored a ‘C5’ … which wasn’t that good, but good enough for me.
It could only have happened in my dreams, but it happened. And with green fields and clear pools of water around me (we were at the water treatment plant, after all), it felt so surreal.
We climb and climb, and at the top we fly.
Let the world go on below us, we are lost in time.
And I don’t know really what it means.
All I know is that you love me, in my dreams.
7. Joel Kalsi – Flying High
Another Eurodance song that defined a period of time rather than a specific event. It stretched across memories from Bowling team trainings, a blood donation drive (which I eventually chickened out of), and me having my first (and the only) crush in school … and possibly several more events which I can’t quite bring to mind at the moment. All I know is that it was a period of time where I was ridiculously happy (people can argue that it was because of the crush, teehee), thus flying high.
8. Skyline – Dream In The Night
Another Eurodance song, which defined the later part of 2005. It was constantly on replay as I slogged through several nights (‘dream in the night’ indeed, not) on my first programming project and also saw me through the time I was so immensely pleased with myself for surviving my first term in university.
9. Blue Eyes – From Now On
This is again, one of those random songs I happened to chance upon, got stuck in my head, and eventually became the ‘theme song’ of a particular trip to Cameron Highlands and Genting Highlands in June 2006.
It is one of those senseless techno/trance songs which I continuously listened to as the tour bus cruised down the highway in the dead of the night. Somehow, this particular one stood out because of its uplifting beat, and got itself stuck in my head.
10. Mika – Relax (Take It Easy)
This was the song that saw me through a particularly stressful period in 2007. In fact, almost the whole of 2007 was stressful – my first internship, a blotched trip, moving house (for the first time, after having lived 21 years in my previous place), and the fact that the move occurred during a time where I had three major projects due. Still, I pulled it off.
11. Dreamhouse – Stay (Just A Little Bit Longer)
This was the definitive song of my entire FYP period in 2008. The song was first played by Des in the group study room near the beginning of the FYP, and it stuck.
Possibly the most memorable project in my life – with an extremely supportive and fun-loving team, and a project supervisor that never failed to keep us going – and I felt really odd when it eventually ended.
Oh won’t you stay, just a little bit longer?
12. Brandy – Right Here
This was the song that gave me strength when I was first diagnosed with a heart condition in September 2008, with symptoms that never seemed to go away. Yet, this song succeeded in making me happy.
When you feel your heart’s guarded
And you see the break’s started.
And when the clouds have all departed, you’ll be right here with me.
And when your tears are dry from crying.
And the world has turned silent.
And when the clouds have all departed, you’ll be right here with me.
13. Standfast – Carcrashes
I love the tune for this one, and constantly put it on replay sometime in April 2009. There was just something about the tune that was oh-so captivating, with lyrics that really make you think.
Tell me what to believe
Won’t you bring me order
Tell me what to achieve
Baby, so I can move forward
14. Selena Gomez – Naturally
This is the song that saw me through the whole of the past three months where I was grabbling with new health-related developments. It was a positively cheery song (in contrast to my downcast mood) – another one of those random songs I heard on radio, and the tune stuck. It has since been on replay and constantly reminds me that everything comes naturally, and I just gotta’ take things as they come.
This list is not comprehensive. It’s only the selected few I chose to feature on this blog post, with hundreds more where that came from. I could choose to go on and on … but I’m not typing a thesis on music. o.O
I still have number (13) and (14) are on replay on my MP3 player. Not because they are the most recent favourites, but because they never fail to keep me happy.
When I listen to music, I pay particular attention to the tune, the background music and sound effects more than anything. I don’t have specific requirements for music that I like. In fact, it’s hard to explain exactly what I like. The tune has to be uplifting and enriching to the senses. The feel of the song has to be there. The song has to grab me by the balls. (Um, I know females don’t physically have balls but … you get what I mean.) (;
(13) and (14) are two of the rare few that manage to do that for me.
So, it’s time for YOU to share your memorable theme songs with me! Do you, like me, use songs to define and recount various stages of your life? If you don’t – what’s your strategy? (: