Madeleine Bourne tells us about the songs that shaped her

English & Creative Writing student | Writer for Redbrick & The Tab | Host of The Request Show at BurnFM | Absolutely awful at writing remotely interesting bios
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Music is a powerful medium that shapes the world. A single song can brighten a dull mood or move you to tears in a mere three minutes. To me, music is something that has been a powerful influence in my life ever since I was a child, whether that be through performing, studying it or even just purely listening to music. The task of plucking from the wealth of music the world has to offer just a few songs that create the soundtrack of my life proved honestly so difficult, but I think I’ve nailed it down to five. Some of the songs I’ve picked have special memories surrounding them, whereas some are purely for the joy of listening.

The song that inspires me: Eliza Doolittle – Let It Rain

This song is inspirational in more ways than one. Eliza Doolittle was the first musician that made me stop, listen and truly appreciate different genres of music. Her sound made me realise that just because something hasn’t quite flown up the charts, it doesn’t mean that it’s not worthy in any sense. Chart positions do not reflect the true breadth of good music and talent around. When you’re young, you’re definitely influenced by what your family listen to, and generally what is in the charts at the current moment. It never occurred to me that some of the best music isn’t necessarily what’s ‘popular’. Eliza exploded onto the music scene back in 2010, and whilst her chart success inevitably brought my attention to her, it was her lesser acclaimed music that really captured me. Everything about Eliza inspires me: her soulful voice, her attitude to stand out from the crowd, her motive to make music not for money but for love and even her fashion sense. She has been one of my favourite artists since 2010 and still is, even though she’s not releasing anything at the moment. ‘Let It Rain’ is euphoric, it’s different and it has such a powerful, inspiring message to just keep going throughout any rubbish life can callously throw at you.

The song that calms me: Temper Trap – Sweet Disposition

I can be a right stress head at times – probably a lot of the time. University can take its toll and sometimes it often feels like there’s so much you need to do and not enough hours in the day to do it. Music is important to me in times of stress because the right song can clear your mind and can motivate you to get on and get things done. This choice may sound like a rather generic one, but I haven’t picked it for generic reasons. 500 Days of Summer has been and most likely always will be my absolute favourite film. Zooey Deschanel is an icon, I love how the film subverts the usual rom-com, Hollywood plotline and the soundtrack to the film is pure class. I could have picked The Smiths, Doves or Regina Spektor, but Temper Trap’s ‘Sweet Disposition’ is a song that honestly calms me in an instant. It’s important to take moments out of your day to just relax and this song definitely helps me do that.

The song that moves me: Nothing But Thieves – If I Get High

This song discusses loss and the overwhelming grief you feel when someone dear to you passes away. It honestly moves me so much and whenever I listen to this song I can identify with the lyrics. It sort of makes you feel okay because you know that this all-encompassing grief happens to everyone and that people understand how you’re feeling. Nothing But Thieves are one of my absolute favourite bands. I was lucky enough to see them recently at the O2 Institute in Birmingham, front row, and they were literally insane. Lead singer Conor Mason has the kind of voice that somehow, defying all odds, sounds better live than it does on the track. Their performance was electric; they lit up the venue. When seeing them live perform ‘If I Get High’, the usually moshing, rowdy crowd all stood still in utter silence; it was just magical. Music’s power to move is something that nothing else can quite do the same.

The song that means a lot to me: John Lennon – Imagine

It fascinates me how one song could mean something personal to someone, yet someone else could take away from the same song something completely and utterly different. With ‘Imagine’, this is true for me. This sounds like another cliché, but this song means an awful lot to me. Aside from obviously such an inspiring, truthful meaning of what we should wish for the world, this song affects me on a more personal level. It was the last song my late Dad ever saw me perform, and every time I sit back down at a piano to play it, the song calms me and reminds me to keep going for him, something that is incredibly powerful and inspiring. ‘Imagine’ means a lot to myself and to many other people the world over.

The song that evokes strong memories: Wicked the Musical – For Good

This is definitely an odd one here and something that isn’t usually my taste. I love musicals, but I wouldn’t usually rank them up there with my favourite songs, or most played on Spotify. However, this song was the first ever song I sang. Back in Year 7, I joined a vocal group with one of my best friends, after she suggested I join along with her. That group ended with us performing together in a showcase at the end of the year, duetting ‘For Good’. She was Elphaba; I was Glinda. Flash forward to Year 11 and we were asked to perform it again, after years of not even singing it, for our Leaver’s Assembly. It was absolutely crazy how easily we fell back into those parts. The song speaks so truthfully about friendship and evokes memories of simpler times.