The Soundtrack of my (Love) Life
Music can evoke the full range of human emotions: from happy to sad, from nostalgic to cheerful and from tense to relaxed. Certain songs remind us of special moments, and they help us travel back in time to remember a person, a feeling or a memorable event.
Many people resort to music when they fall in love, when they are suffering through a break up, or when they enjoy togetherness with their partners. Here are a couple of songs that make the soundtrack of my own (love) life.
(Everything I Do) I Do It For You by Bryan Adams
The year was 1992, and for the first time my parents allowed me to go to the Friday night disco in our small town’s youth centre. The boy I had a crush on was there, and when the DJ played Bryan Adams’ schmaltzy “(Everything I Do) I Do It For You”, he walked right up to me and asked me to dance. It was the first slow dance of my life – and I went home that evening and replayed the song on my tape recorder until dawn.
Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow by The Shirelles
We all know this feeling: you met a guy, you like him, he seemed to like you back, but then you have a good night’s rest and awake in the morning full of doubts – is this a fling or something serious, will he call me again today and ask me out on another date, or was this a short-lived infatuation? The Shirelles’ “Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow”, first released in 1960, perfectly sums up this feeling of insecurity: “Tonight you’re mine completely/ You give your love so freely/ Tonight the light of love is in your eyes/ But will you still love me tomorrow?”
Friday I’m in Love by The Cure
A good friend once told me that I’m like a song by The Cure: even if the melody is happy, the lyrics are still sad. While I’m a big fan of The Cure and agree that most of their songs make me somewhat melancholy, “Friday I’m in Love” is one of the band’s happier songs – when I hear it, I close my eyes and smell whiskey, Calvin Klein “One” and freshly cut summer grass: I was young, in love and carefree.
Black by Pearl Jam
Oh, nursing a broken heart is such a hard thing to do! For me, it always involved a lot of writing in my diary, eating junk food, watching romantic comedies and listening to music. “Black” by Pearl Jam may not be an obvious choice to get through a break up, but all my teenage angst, anger and pain was bottled up in that one song, and I still get goose bumps every time I hear Eddie Vedder’s desperate plea “I know someday you’ll have a beautiful life/ I know you’ll be a star in somebody else’s sky/ But why, why, why can’t it be/ Why can’t it be mine?”
Linger by The Cranberries
Finding out that your partner cheated on you is one of the ugliest feelings in the world. This sense of betrayal doesn’t really go away, and whether or not you decide to forgive, infidelity is never forgotten. I remember listening to “Linger” by The Cranberries in a constant loop, cringing every time Dolores O’Riordan (may she rest in peace) sang “I swore I would be true/ And honey, so did you/ So why were you holding her hand/ Is that the way we stand?/ Were you lying all the time?/ Was it just a game to you?” and feeling my heart painfully crack in two all over again.
Dig by Incubus
True love is when your partner knows your deepest secrets and darkest sides and still loves you for who you are. Sometimes, when we are at our worst, it is essential to be reminded that there is always a light at the end of the tunnel. “Dig” by Incubus is about making someone whole again by reminding them who they truly are. “If I turn into another/ Dig me up from under what is covering the better part of me/ Sing this song/ Remind me that we’ll always each other/ When everything else is gone”.
Love is the End by Keane
There aren’t many songs that are as wonderfully sad and heartbreaking as “Love is the End”. One time, my best friend (and crush) was driving me home on a warm Jakarta night. We didn’t talk much, and I simply enjoyed listening to the music and staring out of the window. When “Love is the End” came on, I realized that I was exactly doing what the band was singing about in that very moment: “Singing a song with your feet on the dashboard/ A cigarette streaming into the night/ These are the things that I want to remember/ I want to remember you by”. A moment of perfection.
This article was first published in the February 2018 issue of NOW! Jakarta magazine.