Blog every day in May topic – Five songs or pieces of music that speak to you or bring back memories
Cher – Believe
As much as Chris might protest to the contrary, to me this is ‘our song’. It’s not a romantic song, and it’s not one that we chose. It chose itself, and that’s why I like it and have stuck with it.
This song was playing on the radio in my parents’ kitchen when Chris and I had our first kiss. It was my first kiss ever, in fact. I was 17. After six months of circling around the issue cautiously, we had recently confirmed our mutual gayness to each other, and now we found ourselves alone in the house together.
The memory of it is still electric to me. It was such a thrilling, terrifying, wonderful time of my life. A time of discovery and vulnerability and excitement, and a time filled with experiences that I had started to wonder if I’d ever have.
I’m not going to relay every detail here, but we kissed, that day, on the sofa. And Cher was singing Believe in the background, and so this song will always be very special.
Lisa Loeb – Stay (I Missed You)
Lisa Loeb is my favourite artist of all time. I have five or six of her albums and I never get tired of listening to them. I like that she’s someone a bit unusual – most people have heard of her and remember this song, but don’t know anything else about her – and I like that she’s been with me for more than half of my life now.
When I hear this song, and particularly when I see the video, I remember sitting on the floor at home aged about 13 watching the Chart Show on Saturday morning television. I remember listening to it at 16 on a stereo in the workroom of the library where I had my first job while I glued the spines back onto books. I remember playing the album for Chris. And I remember singing it a hundred times on Singstar in our home together. This song has been in my life for a long time and I hope it never goes away.
Shakira – Whenever, Wherever
I’ve included this song not because it’s my favourite or anything, but because it elicits a very particular memory for me.
Shakira released this song in 2001, and it is part of her Laundry Service album. I spent 2001/02 living in Geneva, and at times this was quite a lonely period of my life. I listened to music on a portable CD player a lot to pass the time, so this song, and the entire album, reminds me of that. It reminds me of sitting in my halls room in an 18th century Swiss building, looking out through wooden shutters over the park that was my view, wondering when I could go home.
Shirley Ellis – The Clapping Song
This song and the next are part of a set of songs that speak to me of wonderful nights out at Dynamite Boogaloo, a club night we started going to during university and which we still go to today. It has changed name and venue and format several times over the last 13 years, but deep down it is still Dynamite Boogaloo to us. Three, Six, Nine, as I call it because I never know its real name, is one of Boogaloo Stu’s signature songs – I don’t think I’ve ever heard another DJ play it – and it takes me back to nights of being drunk on rum and coke and tequila shots, dancing in a stupidly unflattering crop top, and laughing at absurdly childish cabaret games in a 3,000 degree basement club.
Meat Loaf ft. Cher – Dead Ringer for Love
I started with Cher and I’m ending with her. All things begin and end with Cher. This is another Boogaloo song, and is my favourite of all the songs they perform at cabaret. I’ve heard Boogaloo Stu and Dolly Rocket sing it a number of times, and I’m always stood there with a massive, enraptured smile on my face throughout. They even made it their cabaret song for us by special request one night, because we hadn’t heard it for ages and we begged.
It always starts the same – Boogaloo Stu on stage, alone. The music kicks in and he sings the first verse and chorus. It gets ever closer to the second verse, but there’s no Dolly Rocket.
“Is she coming? Is she not coming this time? It’s getting really close to her cue. Oh I think she’s not here tonight,” I think.
Then at the last possible moment, Dolly bursts from the wings in full song in her amazing Cher outfit.
Just thinking about it makes me laugh, and they’ve made me love this song.