Thursday, May 31, 2012

Top 100 - More Than This, 10 000 Maniacs # 99

Story by Peter

The 80s for me were a blur: there was so much good music and we had so much fun (and we dressed so badly) but I was so young and naive I had no idea what people were singing about.  I listen to the Smiths now and am gobsmacked at how good Morrissey’s lyrics are.

But to 1997 and More Than This. This song means a lot to me. While I love the Brian Ferry original the 10,000 Maniacs version came out in 1997 when I turned 30. 

My late 20s were, shall we say, slightly turbulent personally: that’s probably not unusual for the self indulgent Seinfeld generation. I could spell out my own drama in all its difficult, occasionally catastrophic and often trivial detail but let’s just say things didn’t quite go to plan.

But time flew, I met some different people and had some fun. And now 15 years on I’m happily married with two beautiful kids and a great job. I’m enjoying the moment. So some things didn’t go to plan in the 90s (including the Republic ... grrrrr...) but the noughties were kind. 

Now I have to write this verse because whatever your philosophy about life—be it religious, atheist or agnostic—it is eternally true and might give you some comfort in your travels (particularly with Mary Ramsey’s sublimely soothing tones):
It was fun for a while
There was no way of knowing
Like a dream in the night
Who can say where we're going
No care in the world
Maybe I'm learning
Why the sea on the tide
Has no way of turning
More than this - there is nothing

Artwork by Karin

Top 100 - Perhaps, Perhaps, Perhaps, Doris Day # 98

Story by Bronwyn

It was summer 1992, I was nine years old.   I remember it being so hot.  My next door neighbour, and best friend, and I went to the movies for the first time I can remember.  We went to Electric Shadows feeling so grown up.

Do you remember the old dual coloured cinema, one blue one red? I think we were in the red one, our bare thighs sticking to the cheap vinyl, ice cold cokes and buckets of popcorn resting precariously on our knees, the air conditioner choking to life, the whir of the projector - the excitement and anticipation almost overwhelming.

We were seeing Strictly Ballroom, I remember walking out loving it so much, wanting to watch it again right there and then.  For weeks I saved my pocket money and bought my first CD – the Strictly Ballroom soundtrack.  Over and over again I would listen to it, the crescendos, the cheesiness, revelling in it all.

But there was one track that I would always go back to, Doris Days’ Perhaps, Perhaps, Perhaps.  Maybe I missed something, at nine years old I probably did.  But I’d dance around my room anyway.

It may be a song about not wanting to be broken-hearted, but I reflect and think isn’t that what life is made up of? Perhapses? Perhaps I’m no good at this, perhaps he’s the right one, perhaps this is the wrong decision.  There’s always another perhaps waiting around the corner, waiting to unnerve you.  When it does, singing a mindless 1960’s pop song is sure to make you feel better!            

Top 100 - Journey Of The Sorcerer, The Eagles # 97

Story by Mark

There are no charities, telethons, or fun runs for the eccentrics of this world.  We narcissistically feel like we are a breed unto ourselves even though – statistically – there must be millions of us in the world.  Growing up eccentric is an isolating experience and it’s not helped by the language in which we describe ourselves.  Most of our terms for describing solitary people usually imply some sort of pejorative: ‘alone’, ‘antisocial’, ‘private’.  Even a Greek word for ‘private’ migrated into the English language as ‘idiot’.

So when you grow up as an eccentric – as I did – it feels like you have no place in a world filled with the well-adjusted.  It’s not miserable or upsetting, just unsettling and disquieting.

The escape for most of us is literature, quirky cult classics filled with wordplay and esoteric ideas.  When I was twelve, I was introduced to The Hitchhikers’ Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams.  The librarian very helpfully tipped me off to the radio series which inspired the novels, the theme for which was Journey of the Sorcerer by the Eagles.  It’s not the best song ever written, but it captures the feeling, the mood, and the joy of being an eccentric.  It opens with the uncertainty and insecurity of the banjo, gathering strength as it goes, until it unleashes the other instruments in a grandiose symphony, a sound expanse, a musical map of cosmic enormity.

And if a banjo – the instrument of choice for hillbillies – can find a place in a song as grandiloquent as Journey of the Sorcerer, then a twelve year old eccentric can find a place in the world.

I’m yet to find that place, but I’m still holding out hope...

Artwork by Karin

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Top 100 - 16,16.Six, The Drips # 96

Story by Alanna

Like many songs this one brings up many different memories some good and some bad.

Like many other songs one of the best memories this one conjures up, is me and my beautiful sister screaming along until our throats bleed... drunken nights out and roadtrips...  

Artwork by Karin


Top 100 - Memories Are Made Of This, Dean Martin # 95

Story by Frank

This song reminds me of arriving in Sydney in the 1950’s.

Artwork by Karin

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Top 100 - Knocked Up, Kings Of Leon # 94

Story by Henry

Between finishing university and starting full time work, I had a glorious 10 week period that involved working night shifts at a pokies venue, heading to Falls Festival and generally doing nothing.  I had just moved into a place with two really good mates from university.  We had no furniture, milk crates for sitting on and a record player. 

While there was a stack of pretty sweet old school jazz and hip hop records laying around, all we listened to was Kings of Leon (and America, the best of - probably the greatest 'greatest hits' album of all time).  Knocked Up, the first track on Because of the Times, has nothing on the majority of songs from Aha Shake Heartbreak but I must have heard it about 300 times over that 10 week period.  The spooky opening beat and the never ending guitar riff that monotonously drones in the background immediately brings to mind some of my best memories - laying on the floor, December heat dripping from the ceiling, and my friends and I waiting excitingly for the rest of our lives to arrive.

Artwork by Karin

Top 100 - The Scientist, Coldplay # 93

Story by Helen

A story about a boy. We all have one of those; a story about a boy who stole your heart. I moved away with mine for a fresh start - to start our lives together. But nothing changed. I worked to support us. He hung around strip clubs. Then he chose her over me. I gave him 10 days notice. In 10 days I posted all my stuff home. As I was leaving for the airport he came home and told me to listen to this song. It was the 1st time in 4 years that I felt appreciated in that relationship. 9 months later, I got into his car and he put this song on. He told me she was having his baby and this was my last chance to come back... I chose to move forward...

Artwork by Karin

Top 100 - MMMBop, Hanson # 92

Story by Alex

It may surprise you to know that I have not always been the super cool, cynical and somewhat aloof person I am today. There was a time, many years ago, when I was enthusiastic, naive, and, dare I say it, undignified. There was a time, many years ago, where I was unselfconsciously obsessed. Blindly. Utterly. Completely. 

It was 1997. I was 13. Discmans (discmen?) were the cutting edge of portable audio technology. Only 7.4 percent of Australian households were connected to the internet. It was the year that three blond brothers from Tulsa, Oklahoma took the world (and my young heart) by storm. Love them or loathe them, there was no escaping the nonsensical chorus of their infectious debut single. I speak, of course, of Hanson. Of MMMBop. Of innocence personified.

I proclaimed my love in many ways. Scrawled over my school planner, my pencil case (the ones where you cut out the letters of your name to put into the little plastic slots), in the condensation of bus windows. Shouted out of train windows to friends waiting on the platform. Wallpapering every single inch of my bedroom walls with posters, pictures and magazine articles. Turning up the television as loud as it would go when one of their songs was on. Generally, just being an obnoxious and insufferable pain in the ass.

Thankfully, for all involved, this phase did not last forever (despite my earlier vehement protestations that I would love Hanson until the day I died – to the extent that I had issued instructions as to which of their songs would be played at my funeral).  After the pictures came off my walls, I took to the CD with my house keys, destroying the disk with deliberate scratches, whilst Korn played on in the background.

On the odd occasion now when I hear MMMBop, it conjures feelings of brightness, sunshine, and blue skies.  And I can’t help but to smile.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Top 100 - Africa, Toto # 91

Story by Robert

University years are a difficult time.  And I don’t mean ideologically, emotionally or intellectually – no, I’ll leave that for those more profound than me.  I mean financially – the harsh realisation that life fucking costs money man and if you don’t go out there and work for a living you’re homeless. This rationale brought entirely-unskilled-me to the automated sliding doors of a retail establishment and to three long working years which I’ll never get back. 

Being a large company (the type that can afford to employ marketing types), logic was often left at those automated sliding doors.  You see, in their minds, ours was a family establishment.  Which, when it came to deciding which musical effluent to have pumped through our PA system to entice shoppers to buy buy buy, apparently meant that it was an establishment with no musical taste.  Thus, our 7am to 7pm soundtrack was one that, in essence, cycled between some of Duran Duran’s lesser known songs with, periodically, the occasional interjection by Dire Straits. But amidst this symphonic playlist there was one perennial offender.  Not a day would go by where we weren’t subjected to – nay, blessed by – its mellifluous sounds:

Toto’s Africa

Rightly or wrongly, whether I consented or not, this song came to epitomise my time on the lesser rungs of the corporate ladder.  How could it be that a song allegedly about yearning, yearning for a lost time, yearning for a lost place – and yearning for another hit since ‘Hold the Line’ – could have become an anthem for three lost years of my life? 

As I clumsily shuffled boxes from aisle to aisle, pointed people in the (vague) direction of where products were kept and decried others’ inability to correctly operate a cash register, there was always, merely minutes away, yet another appearance from the only musical and geographic masters who could get away with crow-barring the words ‘Kilimanjaro’, ‘Olympus’ and ‘Serengeti’ into the one line. 

We may all have a chuckle at Africa from time to time, when we catch it while re-tuning our radios and find it involuntarily crackling through the speakers.  But I ask you: how many songs could transport us out of our dire existences mopping up baby vomit in aisle four as we dreamed about how others were spending their Sunday mornings? 

I know that I must do what’s right and reluctantly admit that this song, with its all-pervasive synth riff and incongruous marimba solo, remains a fitting legacy for my lost time and place.  Word up. 

Artwork by Karin

Top 100 - Rock Lobster, B52's # 90

Story by Miranda

The soundtrack of my early years was dominated by CountDown. In our house Molly was compulsory family viewing. We'd help mum build a bed with doonas and pillows in the middle of the lounge room floor and snuggle down for half an hour of cool. And the coolest of them all to my way of thinking was and still is the b52s classic Rock Lobster.
When I was a child I'm sure it was the bright costumes and dodgy lighting effects in the film clip that appealed, but now I just love the way the group sing even the most ridiculous lyrics with utter conviction. They are 'seriously silly' - and that's something worth celebrating and emulating. Whenever I hear the opening notes I scramble to my feet and get ready for 4 odd minutes of unabandoned grooving. This song is joy to me - it is jumping around the lounge room with my mum - it is late night/early morning requests at dodgy Brisbane nightclubs in the mid-90s and it featured on the playlist at my wedding.

Artwork by Karin

Top 100 - Life Is A Highway, Tom Cochrane # 89

Story by Ben

After graduating from high school I decided to take a gap year and travel across North America and Europe.  One of the highlights of the trip was a month long bus tour of Europe with a group of about 30 other people in their late teens and early twenties.  At the start of the trip the group had to nominate an 'anthem' that would be played when it was time to wake up and start partying (or sightseeing).  'Life is a Highway' was our 'anthem'.  The trip was one of the most enjoyable experiences of my life so far, traveling between such fun, vibrant and interesting places with equally fun, vibrant and interesting people.   

Artwork by Karin


Top 100 - The Nosebleed Section, The Hilltop Hoods #88

Story by Jo

You gotta love a good family dinner on the back deck as the sun sets over the Brindabellas. Scott Me Wils and Roy celebrating a Saturday spent doing our Wallace stuff - footy, skating, cricket, a bit of mucking about in the garden and a bit more footy! We love it when Scott gets to work on the barbie and manages to create another Thai feast. We head out to the deck and crank up the music - and the song we all love to hear at the end of an action packed day is "The Nosebleed Section" from the Hilltop Hoods. Wils drags the speakers out onto the deck and Roy helps with the drinks. And at that moment - all is right with the world.

Artwork by Karin

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Top 100 - Shake It Out, Florence and the Machine # 87

Story by Francis

I chose Shake it Out by Florence and the Machine. I fell in love with this song quite recently actually and my story is quite short but basically when I first got my licence me and one of my best friends Georgina went driving and this was the first song we listened to so its become a bit of a car party ritual of blasting Florence and just cruising around. The song itself is just so uplifting and you fell so good after listening to it! 

Artwork by Karin

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Top 100 - 19-2000 (Soulchild remix), Gorillaz # 86

Story by Maggie

One afternoon I made a big but difficult decision. As I drove away, I was feeling relieved and confident that I had made the right choice. The sun was shining and this song came on the radio. Suddenly, it all came together to create one of those "perfect moments" and I found myself bopping my head from side-to-side: the happiness that this song exudes is truly contagious! 

Artwork by Karin

Top 100 - It Can't Wait, Illy # 85

Story by Lisa

Three friends and a Volvo.

We set off in our beloved Volvo. Cruising the highways. Being bitten by mosquitos as the three of us slept in the boot. The aircon was shot so the windows permanently rolled down, the wind in our hair. The crackly, single speaker turned up as loud as it could go, playing this song over and over and over … a momentary lapse of reality.

Artwork by Karin

Friday, May 25, 2012

Top 100 - Moonlight Sonata, Beethoven # 84

Song by Michelle

Beethoven's Moonlight Sonata is my choice - it has always been my favourite piece of music, because it's deceptively simple but incredibly complex at the same time.  When I was young(er) I wanted to learn the piano just so I could play it for myself.  Mum and Dad found a second hand piano and installed it in the living room.  I signed up for piano lessons and trekked over the St Lucia hills with my heavy school bag to learn to make these sounds.  The teacher was draconian, and refused to let me play Beethoven until I was competent.  I played for about 2 years, dreadful discordant modern piano, until I finally realised that my teacher would never consider that I was competent enough for Beethoven!  I quit the lessons the next week, and found my great-aunt's old music book, which was falling apart - I had never dared to touch it before this epiphany.  I spent the next three months committing the music to heart, and finally played the Moonlight.  And then I played it again, just because I could!  When I left home, I had to leave the piano too :-) so I've forgotten most of the notes - I can still remember the first page, but no further - my fingers fumble with it now.  My eldest daughter had piano lessons a couple of years ago - she learnt it as a present for me, and plays it to cheer me up.  I know I can hear it any time - we have it on CD, on tape and on record, and I'm sure it's available on downloads too - but it's never the same as when you hear it played live.  It brings back one of my earliest efforts, and reminds me that sometimes all the learning in the world won't get you where you need to go.

Artwork by Karin

Top 100 - Out On The Weekend, Neil Young # 83

Story by Josh

The album ‘Harvest’ was a permanent fixture in our cassette/cd player while growing up, and each of my siblings and I can recall different memories while listening to the album.

The opening tunes of “Out on the Weekend”, the first track of the album, take me back to: days driving along the Sturt Highway to our family holiday house on the Murray River;  Summer nights sitting around bonfires after spending the day waterskiing; family BBQs and gathering where our parents and their friends would sit around the table drinking wine and playing cards while us kids were running through the neighbourhood playing spotlight; but most significantly, the afternoon of 18 November 2010, where the album was being played in the background as my siblings and I sat in the family room surrounding our Mum as she slipped away from us.

Now, when the song is played, usually in my car while I am driving along the highway, tears of sadness fill my eyes...but other times, it brings a smile to my face.

Artwork by Karin

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Top 100 - House Of Singing Bamboo # 82

Story by Tao

Dad used to sing this to us kids when we were little. We spent a lot of my youth moving around and I think that he sang it for his own sake more than ours at the time. Now, my wife kids and life are that 'house of singing bamboo'.

Artwork by Karin

Top 100 - People = Shit, Slipknot # 81

Story by Paul

So here is my song... People = Shit by Slipknot.

This song means a lot to me on two levels... I work in retail and we deal with quite a few people who don't treat us with any level of respect. This is my 'go-to' song after a hard day at work as the fast pace and powerful sound helps to relieve the tension. Singing the chorus at the top of my lungs helps too

The actual meaning of the song is also aligned well with my current thoughts on the human race. The song reflects on the fact that we just take and consume everything in our path with little regard to the environment or others around us. As a race our own greed, hostility towards others and total disregard for anything that isn't "ME" really is shit.

Artwork by Karin

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Top 100 - The Infection, Disturbed # 80

Story by Sammy

No matter how many times I hear this, it has the power to unveil the stricken grief I feel inside. The best way I can articulate this further is to reveal some of the lyrics as it explains word for word my experience with a loved one who lost the war against disease:

Nothing left but a broken man.
Terrified of everything.
Nothing left of his foolish pride.
His fond memories slowly die.

Then as he wakes again alone.
Still a prisoner in his home
ready to allow the dark.
To penetrate his broken heart.

I'm still afraid of the light.
And 1000 voices share their laughter.
At his demise.

R.I.P Dad

Artwork by Karin