As promised (probably for some time now), here's a list of some (if not all as more will be added as they come to me) of my favourite songs and reasons behind them. In no particular order; I make no promises to be non-angsty, either…
1) "On My Own" from "Les Miserables" (Boublil/Shoenberg/Kretzmer)
(I will put the lyrics of all the mentioned songs in an lj-cut. Even if you know them, sometimes if you just read them as they are, they make more sense and can seem more poignant than when set to music (which is actually bizarre as you'd expect it to be the other way aroud). Also, if you don't know them, I suppose it's half-way to knowing what I'm on about…)
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For a while now, I've claimed this to be 'my song'. There are lots of songs that fit this criteria nowadays. This was the first one I ever actually listened to properly and said "Wow. That's me." Admittedly, at the time I was having a serious, stupid angst attack over one of my fictional character infatuations, but still, this song remains one of my favourites. All through what I now refer to as 'the crash of Summer 2001' (aka the whole failing-of-the-course saga), I listened addictively and obsessively to Les Mis and "The Phantom of the Opera"… and not once did I manage to sing along to "OMO" without crying my eyes out. I'm better now (sorta), but it's still a useful gauge. If I can get through it, it usually means I'm not as upset as I thought…
2) "Memory" from "Cats" (Lloyd Webber/Rice)
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I've always liked this one… this explanation may be a shortened verstion of the "CATS" tribute thingy I have yet to write (which I will. Honest.) As a small child, I used to listen to "CATS" at my dad's house, not knowing what it was. I stopped when I was about 10 or so, then, when I saw the musical in Brum at age 14, I realised I knew it. All of it. And thus began the obsession. So. "Memory". I recall, on one of the two times I saw it, that I cried when Grizabella ascended to the Heaviside Layer, and during the reprise of this song. Having been more or less forced to learn to play it (the simple piano version, anyway), I learnt the lyrics by default. For a while, it was my favourite song of all time (I was young and naïve, okay?)
And now? Now, it makes me sad. Not because it's a sad song - at least, it's not that sad - but because "CATS" is now that memory, and those lyrics - "…when the dawn comes, tonight will be a memory, too" - ring true not only of the production itself on its closing night, but of all our lives. It has a certain hope to it, don't you think? And the title is now so very apt.
Resisting the urge to ramble on for another forty odd pages about how much the show means to me, yada yada yada, we move on to…
3) "Over The Rainbow" from "The Wizard of Oz" (Judy Garland version, of course)
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This was the first song I ever learned. I was six years old, and I was completely in love with the movie, and I remember, vividly, sitting in the back of my grandmother's car, singing "Over The Rainbow" with all the words correct, feeling very proud of myself. Nobody taught it to me, and nobody told me to learn it. In a similar vein, I taught myself by ear how to play it (albeit in the wrong key) with one hand and impressed my entire family.
Oz was my first obsession. I watched the film regularly; in fact, I remember the good old days when it used to be on every Christmas Eve (and Dumbo was always on at 9.00 on Christmas morning, for some reason…) at 6.00pm. In my head, I had an entire school production of it planned - I wanted to be the Wicked Witch, of course - with members of my class and some of the older pupils as certain characters. It would have worked, too. (And goddammit, I should be working in theatre, but that's another point entirely.)
Aside from nostalgia values, the song itself has a message that I believe and which appeals to the part of me that still believes in magic… 'Somewhere over the rainbow', there has to be a better place than this, no matter how far, and no matter how one gets there. And if wishing on stars is the only way to do it, so be it…
(More than this, in light of Judy Garland's tragic existance, it's so gloriously ironic. I think if I ever commited suicide, it would be to this song because I guess, in a way, it could refer to the next plane of existance...)
But enough with the deep meaningful analysis. Let's move on... due warning is given of upcoming angsty life-rant... this one's been brewing for a while.
4) "One Day I'll Fly Away" from "Moulin Rouge" (at least, most recently…)
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Like "Over The Rainbow", this has the same kind of hope of a better place, although in this case it's more literal… For me, it rings far too true. One day in the not-so-distant (I hope) future, I will fly away. I'll put everything bad behind me, including any unhealthy relationships in my life (nothing personal to anyone; just in general), and I'll stop dreaming and start actually living.
All my life, I've lived "from dream to dream" in the most obvious sense - in a little fantasy world that serves no purpose except to protect me from the 'real' world. When reality disappoints, I'll come up with a perfect version of events that exists solely in my head to make me feel better. Similarly, my future exists in the same kind of bubble; while doing OT at least, it was feasible and more or less within my grasp. Now, just in my mind's eye, there's a blank canvas; all I want is someone to come along with a paintbrush, a pencil, a needle and thread, anything, and draw or write or embroider what lies ahead in my life on it, just so I know. I hate the unexpectancy of it all; I hate not knowing where my life is going, or if it'll be anything near how I dream it to be.
Which, of course, it won't…
So, this song is true for me. I do dread the day when dreaming ends… it's really all I have to go on at the moment.
I've just realised I can think of no happymaking songs off the top of my head… all my favourites seem to be ultimately depressing. Sorry… I'll have another think when my head's cleared a bit. This'll do for a start, anyway…