Naomi Penn picks five tracks to summarise her life in music
It has always seemed incredible to me how music has the power to evoke so many emotions in such a short space of time. For me personally, music has always been such a huge aspect of my life, whether it be through performing (both professionally and in the shower), being introduced to new bands that I hadn’t heard of, and being able to let my inner ‘fangirl’ truly come to light at gigs. It’s been no easy task to choose just five songs from a lifetime of music to create a soundtrack of my life, but here are the songs that stand out to me the most.
The first song I heard live: Fall Out Boy – Thnks fr th Mmrs
I have absolutely no shame in admitting that eleven-year-old Naomi was an emo, and I can proudly say that my first ever gig was as emo as it gets – Fall Out Boy at the O2 Arena. I impatiently sat with my mum, counting down the seconds until my favourite band took to the stage. Suddenly, I heard the opening guitar of ‘Thnks fr th Mmrs’ and what followed was the most incredible night of my life. This song will always hold a special place in my heart because, upon seeing it performed live, it created a feeling of such euphoria and joy that I’ve since only been able to recreate by seeing live music. It took another eight years for me to see them perform it again, this time at Reading Festival last summer, and after not listening to the song for a while it was equally as brilliant as it was the first time, reminding me why I love the song, and the band, so much.
The song that makes me cry every time: Queen – Who Wants to Live Forever
Anyone who knows me at all will know that my all-time favourite band is Queen, and that my love for Freddie Mercury is infinite. What makes this song so emotional to me are the lyrics, which are about timeless and eternal love. Every time I hear it, I’m forced to remember how Freddie died far too young, and in a way the lyrics relate to my love for him. It may seem crazy, and somewhat obsessive, seeing as he died years before I was even born, but he means a lot to me for numerous reasons. There is one particular moment in the song that gives me chills, which is the line in the bridge ‘And we can love forever’, solely due to the fact that it contains a high note that Freddie belts with such power, but is backed with such heart-wrenching emotion, it’s as if he’s singing directly to someone, and I can’t help but shed a tear every time I hear it.
The song that always cheers me up: Limp Bizkit – Break Stuff
I’m not entirely sure why a loud, explicit, nu-metal song is what never fails to cheer me up, but I guess I’m weird like that. For some reason, whether I’m stressed, upset, angry, or just feeling generally low, as soon as Fred shouts ‘It’s just one of those days’ everything seems to be a little bit better. I don’t know if it’s the fact that having a good scream and attempting to start a mosh-pit by myself in my bedroom helps to release anger and stress, or whether the lyrics can actually be analysed to have a much deeper meaning, about how today is just one of those days, but tomorrow will be better. Either way, I’m glad I came to this discovery, as it hasn’t let me down.
The song that I physically must sing along to: My Chemical Romance – Welcome to The Black Parade
Returning to my inner emo, I think I can speak for everyone when I say that as soon as you hear this song, you know exactly what is going to happen and there is nothing you can do to stop it. I have lost count of the number of times I’ve been on a night out, dancing casually to a different song, when I unexpectedly hear that all-important G note. Suddenly, nothing else in the world seems important and you find yourself in the middle of the Propaganda dance floor screaming ‘When I was a young boy…’ until your vocal chords are bleeding, as you fumble around in your bag trying to find some black eyeliner and wishing you were wearing an oversized band t-shirt instead of a figure-hugging crop top… No? Just me?
The song that brings back memories: Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat – Megamix
Between the ages of seven and twelve, I was lucky enough to be able to perform in two separate West End productions of Joseph, as part of the children’s choir. It made up such a large part of my childhood and I can honestly say it was the most amazing experience. Being a shy child, it helped me to become much more confident and I have so many fond memories. It was hard to choose just one song, as I’ve known every word for as long as I can remember, so instead, I’ve taken the easy way out, and chosen the medley which includes all of the best songs. My personal favourites include ‘Song of the King’ and ‘Joseph’s Coat’ (yes, I still remember the colours).