Kimlovesjozi

Scary stories from a lovely place

Life’s soundtrack

Do you have an anthem or a soundtrack for your life? You know, someone else’s music and words that you have appropriated to match or reflect your own experience of life? Or do you use it to explain yourself to others or motivate your future?

The first time I heard this expression was in high school. A friend loved that late 90’s Christian band Delirious? and their song ‘History Maker’. He described this song and the chorus “I’m going to be a history maker in this land. I’m going to be a speaker of truth to all mankind” as his anthem. On reflection this is a pretty bold statement for Delirious? and my friend to have made. My generation really did love Christian songs that spoke more about ourselves and what we were going to do, than about Jesus and his love.

Anyway. I’ve had various soundtracks and anthems throughout my life. Radiohead songs have figured strongly in different periods of life, particularly ‘There There’, ‘Bones’ (I listen to it every year on my birthday) and ‘Give up the Ghost’. I’ve also used Portishead’s ‘Roads’, Massive Attack’s ‘Hymn of the Blue Wheel’ and Calexico’s ‘Cruel’. In the months leading up to moving to Johannesburg Gomez’s ‘See the world’ and The Foo Fighter’s ‘Learn to fly’ helped psych me up and feel excited about something I was welcoming but with great trepidation.

While I was in South Africa the soundtrack to the Curious George movie, which is mostly performed by Jack Johnson became mine for life in Jozi. It was an impulse purchase – I don’t like any of his other music, or that style. I bought it because it reminded me of my nephew, and therefore home. I listened to it thousands of times in the car. In the first few months when I drove on the edge of my seat, expecting an attempted hijacking at any moment, I thought it was good background music. Cheery, but not too distracting.

It’s no secret that I found life in South Africa really hard, most acutely so in the first 6-12 months, which was also the time I was falling in love with and promising to love forever, Stephen. And so the difficulty was buoyed by delight, which I think comes through in the Curious George soundtrack. As I reflect on those early months in Jozi I remember a lot of bad feelings, but also a freeing of my life. I owned less things, I drove much less distance, I had less friends and acquaintances. A cute boy was being kind to me. Life was simpler (and more complicated).

Some of the songs I had previously used as my soundtrack were fairly gray, melancholy even. Then, as a divergence Curious George reflected the way life had and was changing. This was all summed up nicely in the soundtrack’s second song ‘Broken’ and these words;

With everything ahead of us
We left everything behind
But nothing that we needed
At least not at this time
And now the feeling that I’m feeling
Well it’s feeling like my life is finally mine
With nothing to go back to we just continue to drive
Without you I was broken
But I’d rather be broke down with you by my side

I didn’t know what I was looking for
So I didn’t know what I’d find
I didn’t know what I was missing
I guess you’ve been just a little too kind
And if I find just what I need
I’ll put a little peace in my mind
Maybe you’ve been looking too
Or maybe you don’t even need to try
Without you I was broken
But I’d rather be broke down with you by my side

I’ve been subconsciously hunting for a new soundtrack for a while. At the moment I’m working on Adam Cole’s ‘Like Endora’. It’s quiet but occasionally builds to intense and chaotic. As I spend each day with my growing baby children this is what life is like.

What’s your anthem?

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4 comments on “Life’s soundtrack

  1. Jenn
    February 17, 2012

    I have songs that are anthems for seasons of my life. The most obvious one is “this year” by the Mountain Goats. The chorus goes “I am gonna make it through this year if it kills me”. I remember singing it at the top of my lungs driving in my car one night in 2007 when my whole world felt like t was falling apart. Now I can sing it knowing that by God’s grace I did make it through that year and beyond!!

  2. Jools
    February 17, 2012

    I definitely have ‘anthems’. Our whole family gets swept up with particular songs/albums these days. It’s rad 🙂 For us it is usually something that matches the mood of the moment. (Gomez also featured in my past choices, and Miles used to be obsessed with Whippin’ Piccadilly for about 3 months before Ellie was born, I took solace in the fact that he didn’t understand the lyrics, I’m pretty sure it was all about music…)

  3. Brigitte
    February 17, 2012

    Hey Kim! There is this one song by Celine Dion and R.Kelly that i like
    to listen to, especially when things get tough. “I saw the teardrops, and I heard you cry. All you need is time, seek me and you shall find…..And then you will see, the morning will come. And all of your days will be bright as the sun. So all of your fears, just cast them on me. How can I make you see…I’ll be your cloud up in the sky.I’ll be your shoulder when you cry. I’ll hear your voices when you call me….And when all hope is gone, Im here. No matter how far you are, Im near. It makes no difference who you are…” I absolutely love it! Feels like the Lord is there, comforting me 🙂

  4. Pingback: Happy 3rd birthday Kimlovesjozi « Kimlovesjozi

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This entry was posted on February 17, 2012 by in Home, Kids, Life in South Africa and tagged , , , , , , .
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