Music editor Greg Woodin selects five tracks that remind him of important moments in his life
Music is a time capsule. You will never feel the way you do right now ever again; that complex combination of emotions, hopes and dreams, the relationships you share with the people around you. But music can help us to preserve and rediscover these lost feelings, like fossils excavated from the archaeology site of memory, reminding us just how far we’ve come. Okay, so I’m getting a bit too philosophical here and I haven’t even had a pint yet, but based on this, I’ve been careful to not just choose my favourite songs ever in this article. Instead, I’ve tried to pick the tracks that transport me back in time to those fuzzy-edged snapshots of moments past. I’ve done my best to keep it chronological, and to show the progression of my music taste over the years. Enjoy.
First favourite song – Green Day: Jesus of Suburbia
Over the years I must have listened to thousands of songs, and it’s difficult to choose just one so good that it can be awarded the title of ‘favourite song’. Impossible, in fact. But this was during my formative years, back when I was first really getting into music. I was in Year 5 and I was on the coach to Ingestre Hall, excited to embark on my first holiday away from my parents. I was sat next to my best friend at the time, and I was listening to Green Day on his MP3 player. That distinctive opening trio of power chords rang in my ears: it was ‘Jesus of Suburbia’, and it was the first song I can remember feeling a real connection to. The song’s multi-part structure was unlike anything I’d heard before, and it was this that inevitably shaped the proggy taste in rock and metal I would later develop. A week later I came home and I cried because it was over; it was the best week of my life up to that point, and ‘Jesus of Suburbia’ would forever be associated with it in my mind. I consoled myself with the fact that, unlike that week at Ingestre Hall, when ‘Jesus of Suburbia’ ended I could always just play it again…
Song that got me through some stuff – My Chemical Romance: Disenchanted
There was a time in my early teenage years when I was just really sad for some reason. I couldn’t even tell you why now, and it feels weird looking back on it. Maybe I’d just discovered that everything was essentially meaningless, or that we’re all just vessels of skin and bone zapped onto earth without our permission only to suffer and then eventually die. Or whatever (I’m joking). All I know is this song helped a lot. It seems strange that a song about someone dying on an album about someone dying could be cathartic rather than just depressing, but I guess I felt like they knew where I was coming from. ‘You’re just a sad song with nothing to say / about a lifelong wait for a hospital stay’. I feel you, Gerard. Or at least I thought I did.
Song that got me into heavy metal – Slipknot: Before I Forget
Me and my friends in high school, we used to really hate ‘chavs’. We were rockers, moshers, greebos, whatever name you want to use. We used to wear fingerless gloves, we played guitar and we thought we were pretty cool. It’s strange then that my mate gave me my first taste of heavy metal through the medium used primarily by those we would then call ‘chavs’: a shitty mobile phone speaker. But immediately I was hooked; it was gritty, it was heavy, but it was still accessible enough to sink my teeth into. I listened to more Slipknot after that and thus commenced my journey through the annals of heavy metal history. I started a really bad band called Lethal Injection, and several years later I became part of a moderately successful local metalcore band called Their Souls For Gold. Over the years, I flitted from groove metal to thrash to djent and everywhere in between, and although I don’t listen to much metal anymore, it’s still a huge part of who I am. Cheers to the nine weirdos that got me started on that journey.
Song I heard on the first night of Freshers – Drake ft The Weeknd: Crew Love
Let me preface this by stating that Freshers was not the best time of my life. Freshers was stressful, and I feel like I came face to face with my own social ineptitude during that dark, hangover-crippled week. There were times when I wanted to go home and never go back to uni. That being said, that first night out at Nightingales was a personal highlight for me, not just of that week but of university as a whole. As far as clubbing went, I’d been to the old Snobs once before but I hadn’t really done it properly (I left my ID at home and ended up getting into the club well past 1am), so this was my first real induction into Birmingham’s nightlife scene. ‘Crew Love’ was and still is one of my favourite songs of all time, and as soon as that beautiful piano melody cascaded through the speakers I was in heaven. It’s also the song that first got me into The Weeknd, who was one of my favourite artists back in the Trilogy days. The mainstream has him now.
Song that got me into dance music – Arkist: Vanilla Imitate
This is a funny one really, because although ‘Vanilla Imitate’ by Arkist reminds me of the best night of my life, I didn’t actually hear the song played at all during the night itself. It was back in Halloween 2015 and I was going to Ouse for the first time. I’d only really ventured into the rave scene once before two weeks previous to this, and while I had a good (albeit messy) time, Ouse opened up a completely new world to me. I can’t pinpoint quite what it was about that night that made it so special, but it’s taken me a long time to come to terms with the fact that life can’t always be that good. I discovered ‘Vanilla Imitate’ afterwards while watching the night’s aftermovie on YouTube, smudged memories of blurry euphoria returning to me through the haze as I listened. I’m resigned to the fact that I’ll probably never be that happy again, but I’m forever grateful to have had the experience.