YESSSS! FINALLY… THIS GOD AWFUL YEAR IS OOOOOVER! Let’s not curse the next by saying it’s going to be the bestest, best year ever, yeah? That might make it even worse. But before we get into it and whatever lies ahead we must do our annual look back at the songs I’ve been listening to this year.
ED SHEERAN- PHOTOGRAPH
If you asked me to name an Ed Sheeran song before this year I would have probably been able to say The A Team and err… That one where Rupert Grint shows up in the video. The only other thing I knew was that he once spent some time as a homeless person outside Buckingham Palace… I couldn’t name any other songs or even give a single lyrics of the two I knew. Then I happened to come across one he did for one of the Hobbit films and that sent me down a spiralling rabbit hole of Ed Sheeran songs. This one ended up sticking.
SHAKIRA- WHENEVER, WHEREVER
The summer- For some reason after not thinking about this song for years it came into my head out of nowhere. Then I had to listen to it, didn’t I. After listening once I had to listen again because it’s one of those that once you hear it then it gets stuck in your head on repeat for at least three week. Where did it come from though? I have no idea. Wherever it came from it decided that this year we were meant to be together.
BOWIE AND JAGGER- DANCING IN THE STREET
Last Christmas I bought a Bowie CD for myself. Alright… I bought it for someone else and then decided fuck that, I’m keeping it for myself. This was on there and as I quite like the song it was one that ended up on my playlist. Then that terrible, awful, foul, horrid day arrived, the day the news broke that David Bowie, singer, actor, gentleman and undisputed creative genius-megastar, had gone to meet the Star man. His influence on all of us, not just me, is so colossal that no man can measure it. He wrote and sung so many great songs. So, so many… He didn’t write this one, it was a cover, but it’s one of my favourites. Mr Bowie, sir, wherever you are, this is here for you.
LINDSEY STIRLING FT. ANDREW MCMAHON IN THE WILDERNESS- SOMETHING WILD
Pete’s Dragon… The original. I have seen it but not for around twenty years. The remake… I haven’t seen it but a few songs from the soundtrack popped onto my radar. The first was Nobody Knows by The Lumineers. For a while it stood a good chance of making it onto the list for this year. Then I was directed to this one and it quickly replaced it. I must say I prefer this one. It’s a more involving song with more to it I think. For most of this year it’s been something of a light in an otherwise dark, troubled world- One of my cheer up songs.
AARON TVEIT- LIVE IN LIVING COLOR/GOODBYE
I like Tom Hanks. Who can’t resist a good Tom Hanks film? I like Stephen Spielberg as well. Put the two of them together and what do you get? A movie worth seeing, definitely. Would The Terminal have been watchable without either of them? Nope. It would have been a bland, forgettable movie at best. Then there’s Catch Me If You Can, which also has the Oscar winning (had to get that in) Leonardo Di Caprio in it. When I discovered there was a musical I was intrigued. It’s not the kind of film that you can make a musical out of. The same can be said of most of Billy Elliot as well but that didn’t stop them doing one for that film did it? Expecting the worst, I was surprised to find there were some quite good songs on the soundtrack, notably, these two. I listened to them a fair bit over the summer thanks to that interminable problem, them getting stuck in my head. I couldn’t decide between them unfortunately so they’re both here. For the record, I want Goodbye at my funeral. Preferably with a montage and the coffin disappearing in an explosion of fireworks at the end. If I don’t get it I’ll come back and haunt everyone who attends and the vicar conducting the service and the grave diggers and the funeral directors and anyone else I deem worthy of being haunted- Alright? Good.
GLORIA GAYNOR- I WILL SURVIVE
The year started badly and then went downhill. My mood took a sharp downturn around February and it hasn’t fully picked up since. Misery has been piled upon shit upon a bed of a sorrow and drizzled in a sauce of bright red despair- Like a trifle of doom. At the start of the year I was in a really bad state and I thought of this song and I went to it and I listened to it… It’s the perfect pick up song after all. When times are troubled, we all need to remind ourselves that we will survive whatever shit this world throws at us. It was on my playlist for a couple of weeks and then dropped off. I think we all need it though, especially now. We all need to know, in the uncertain times that we now find ourselves in, that we will get through it. We’ll survive.
MICHAEL BOLTON- GO THE DISTANCE
What would this list be without a Disney song? I haven’t much of a clue as to how they end up here almost every year but they do… Besides, what’s wrong with a Disney song? Disney was the soundtrack to my childhood, to yours probably. If I ever have children they’re going to have the same. GOING to have the same… And none of that Frozen crap. In this case we’re talking classic Disney, Hercules- The story of a super strong demi-god looking to become a hero. The movie version of this song cropped onto my suggested videos around May time and then came this version. I didn’t like it much to begin with but then came the time when I needed some inspirational music. I thought sod it… Go to this version because it’s longer than the movie one. It stayed for a while, it grew on me.
PHIL COLLINS- AGAINST ALL ODDS
I came to the conclusion that I needed to change the identity of my fictional Grim Reaper. Previously, and still in a couple of books that I haven’t got around to updating yet, it was Elton John. I needed a new Mr Grim and after contemplating Tom Jones and coming to the conclusion he was neither funny nor scary as the Grim, I settled on Phil Collins (which also allowed me to use the remainder of Genesis as the horsemen of the apocalypse.) That led to another problem…Mr Grim sings as he wanders the earth and transfers souls to the afterlife. When it was Elton John it was, obviously, Candle In The Wind, but what to use for Phil Collins? Another Day In Paradise? No. It didn’t quite work. In The Air Tonight? Spooky, but not quite right. Then… AGAINST ALL ODDS. As a Grim reaper song it works perfectly. Then it ended up on my playlist… … …
Hang about. There’s been a lot of celebrity deaths this year. What if… What if every time I’ve been playing this song, a celebrity has been condemned? What if Phil Collins really is the Grim Reaper?
NOEL COWARD- THERE ARE BAD TIMES JUST AROUND THE CORNER
Good grief, this year has been bad from all angles. Personally? Check. Globally? Double check. For everyone else it seems? Yup. This has been painfully relevant this year and maybe for next year as well. Maybe there really are bad times just around the corner…
DWAYNE JOHNSON- YOU’RE WELCOME
This is damn catchy… It almost made it onto the main list but narrowly missed out. I haven’t listened to it enough for one thing and there were far too many other songs that were more worthy of a place. But, for a good effort and pure catchiness, it gets an honourable.
RUFUS WAINWRIGHT- HALLELUJAH
Another celebrity death- Leonard Cohen, who wrote this beautiful song. I have always preferred this version. It was around the time that Cohen passed that I finished Charlie Fuller, barring some rewrites and editing, and this song was going through my head. I think fits the ending beautifully. Without spoiling much, the book finishes with a twenty years later epilogue where Charlie’s son Seb visits his parent’s grave at the church where they met as children. He meets two children playing a game and as he leaves he gets the sense that Charlie and Violet are still hanging around. So, for Mr Cohen who gave us this song, and for Charlie who has taken a bloody long time to get done, this gets an honourable.
So where to next? Well I’m actually off to the Wirral. I mean it this time… JPC does the Wirral is actually happening. Like, in January so long as the weather holds. There’s a slight problem to begin with but nothing I can’t handle… And you can be sure that wherever I go, whatever I do, there will be music right around the corner.