I was listening to the new Leonard Cohen album and weeping at its melancholic beauty – first time his music has made me feel sad, although only because I will miss hearing his latest creations and seeing him perform live. I’m not yet at the place in my life that he was when he made this album but it did make me think about how certain music is the personal soundtrack to each person’s life.
It starts in childhood with the music your parents listen to: Autumn Leaves by Nat King Cole still makes me think of a warm fireside after Sunday dinner; White Christmas by Bing Crosby is still the Christmas song that evokes the delight as a child of a stocking filled with little treats.
Then we begin to develop our own taste in music – those first few records we bought for ourselves, and played till we knew them backwards. They provide the soundtrack for our developing personality and those teenage years.
From that time on, particular songs and melodies capture the essence of moments in our lives, sometimes because they were playing at those happy or sad times, sometimes because they seemed to express emotions that we didn’t have the words for.
From time to time, my son Jo spends an evening going through the albums from my youth with me, and every ones evokes another story, another memory – that’s why I still have them.
And some artists seem to develop their stories in ways that particularly resonate for us: Bob Dylan, Leonard Cohen, Bruce Springsteen, James Taylor, have all offered me the expression of certain phases of my life at just the right moment.
So come on, what’s your soundtrack? What has captured the essence of a moment for you? What has resonated as an expression of who you are? And what would you choose as your Top Three?
This could be a fun thing to do with friends or family during your Christmas break – or any time! All good movies have great soundtracks – the movie of your life deserves one too.
Have a lovely, peaceful, music-filled Christmas!!