A Portrait of Today: my soundtrack to 2006

So I finally finished my 2006 soundtrack, and let’s hope it lives up to all expectations after last year’s classic “Not a Crazy Frog in Sight” went triple platinum in just four hours (might have been due to 12 year olds simply googling ‘crazy frog’). Also check out my mate NFD’s* blog post on compilation albums, it’s a classic. Oh, and no-one does a strikeout gag like Jules, so check out her blog post on compilation albums too.

The title for this year’s album comes from track one, “now the curtain opens, on a portrait of today…”

1. Joni Mitchell – Chelsea Morning

I’m no morning person, but having a child is an incredibly joyful way to wake early. This year has seen Chelsea go from calling out to us from her cot to crawling into bed with us in the morning. Even on my most tired days, it’s a pleasure to be the first to greet her and give her a hug. So every morning is a Chelsea morning for me.

2. Hothouse Flowers – Your Love Goes On
‘Into Your Heart’ is easily my album of the year. Go buy it. Buy it now. Go on, I’ll wait for you, I promise. This will still be here when you get back. Go now.

Ok, now you’re back, I’ll continue: I saw these guys play when they were in Melbourne earlier in the year, and it was a sensational decision. I already had their first three albums (out of five) and after the show decided I had to get their new one: and I wasn’t disappointed. This song goes along with Give it Up as my theme song for the year…an anthem to God, whose love goes on and on.

3. Little Birdy – Tonight’s the Night
Their album BigBigLove is absolute pop brilliance, despite my slowness in catching on (it was released in 2004). Katy Steele has an amazing voice. Anyway, I had their album on random on my mp3 player a lot this year. This song is a standout on a really solid album.

4. Simon and Garfunkel – Keep the Customer Satisfied
Could have included many many Simon and Garfunkel songs here – this year has seen me connect with these guys in a big way. It was on the tail end of the influences kick from last year that I picked them up. This song’s a corker.

5. Bruce Springsteen – The Ghost of Tom Joad
I started work at Urban Seed late this year and for the first time I was working alongside the marginalised of our society. We can glamorise this kind of work sometimes, but not so much when you’re actually doing it. This song is a gritty reminder of the reality for a lot of people. The line “Waiting for the time when the last shall be first and the first shall be last/In a cardboard box ‘neath the underpass…” is exactly where the rubber of faith in Jesus hits the road.

6. End of Fashion – O Yeah
Yes, this is last year’s song but I only got onto it this year and as it’s a shameless piece of pop brilliance, I’m including it.

7. Hothouse Flowers – Give it Up
Probably my song of the year. I couldn’t have been more rapt when they played it as the third song in at their show. Its simple refrain of “Give it up/ Share it out/ Help who you can/ Talk about it” and the quote that’s on my blog, “Doesn’t really matter if you’re all jumbled up inside as long as you know that love is endless and the world is wide” say it all really.

8. Crowded House – Catherine Wheels
The song I had in my head the morning I found out my Grandad had died. I woke up to my phone ringing and it was Dad saying he was gone. This song will forever remind me of the finality and sadness of that moment.

9. Counting Crows – Sister Golden Hair
This is from a Counting Crows Shim Sham Club show in 2004, a show where they muck around in a New Orleans bar getting drunk and basically doing covers of all their favourite songs. I was addicted to this song early in the year.

10. Stone Temple Pilots – Interstate Love Song
On heavy rotation this year, this is an awesome song from a great grunge band at the height of Seattle’s movement. This used to remind me of my Year 11 and 12, which was the time it first came out, but now it’s just Lygon St in Brunswick, travelling to and from the city, often at half pace because of a tired battery on my mp3 player.

11. U2 – I Will Follow (Live)
I was listening to old school U2 a lot early this year in anticipation of the Vertigo tour in March. They’d been doing a whole lot of their early stuff across Europe and the US. Unfortunately 1. their tour was postponed and then 2. when they returned in November, they basically played a best of…but they did get this classic in, which I thoroughly enjoyed. Reportedly written to God after the death of Bono’s mother.

12. Johnny Cash – Folsom Prison Blues
The day I heard country and western music wafting from Chadstone HMV, I knew Johnny Cash’s legacy had hit the mainstream. Helped largely by the movie Walk the Line, his music has been popularised this year in a way I would never have dreamed possible. You can’t go past this song for a Johnny Cash classic.

13. Hothouse Flowers – Baby I Got You
Obviously one of the highlights of this year was Ella’s arrival. The first verse here works really well after spending so much of the year not knowing whether she would even be born, being up nights and days at the hospital having tests and so on. It’s easy to forget what a difficult pregnancy it was now that we have her happy and healthy. Anyway, “now I can thank myself, baby I can smile, ‘cos I got you…”

14. Midnight Oil – Don’t Wanna Be The One
Midnight Oil confirmed themselves as worthy of listening to with or without instruments when their drummer, Rob Hirst, made an impassioned speech at their induction into the ARIA Hall of Fame that included the line, “Maybe complaint rock is still being written but ignored by an industry hypnotized by ‘get-famous-fast’ TV shows.” When so many bands are writing songs imploring people to dance, or to fall in love or have sex (that pretty much covers life, right?), these guys write something substantial and countercultural – about stuff that matters. The second verse pretty much sums it up: “I’m an innocent bystander caught in the path/ Waiting out the back while the corporate attack/ Assaults the senses with relentless scenes of passion and delight/ I cut up all the options and went running for my life.”

Bonus track: It’s a secret.

* NFD stands for not funny david. except he is, so…it’s kind of a postmodern ironic thing. or something.

4 thoughts on “A Portrait of Today: my soundtrack to 2006

  1. I was just listening to Chelsea Morning a few days ago, and Interstate Love Song is an all-time classic “turn the windows down and drive” kind of song. The other stuff I look forward to hearing (hint, hint).
    Good luck on going triple platinum again!

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