Tracklist and explanations for my soundtrack 2011
This is my way of reflecting on the year, and of sharing some of the music that has touched my life with those close to me.
Mostly these are just the songs I listened to most, although a couple have specific memories associated with them. The order is always carefully crafted to produce the best album out of the songs – since the songs are chosen as representative of my year, not for the way they go together, that can be a challenge. I hope it works for you!
1. Back in the USSR: The Beatles
Spent too much time in airports this year – up and down the east coast of Australia as well as to Afghanistan. Just a good travelling song.
2. Hand Grenade: Things of Stone and Wood
TSW were part of the soundtrack of my teen years, especially the Happy Birthday Helen EP. So when I saw the CD of it at a second hand record store I grabbed it. Turns out they were a little bit peacenik. “We are pointing guns at children not yet born/We toss our hand grenades into the future…God it makes me scared, it makes me so mad.”
3. Have a Lucky Day: Morphine
As I think I’ve said before in a previous year, I reckon Morphine are one of the most underrated bands of the 90s. Found this in an op shop for like 99 cents.
4. Girl from Mars: Ash
This one is op shop sourced too, although it was also a staple of my teenage years. Mostly this one reminds me of that time, but it holds up well even now. After I listened to this recently I tweeted, “Is it just me or did music peak around the mid 90s?” Scott Stephens (@abcreligion) responded, “It’s not just you.”
5. Details in the Fabric: Jason Mraz
Yes, I know. Jason Mraz. Well, get used to pop, because there’s a couple in here. I’m trying to get over the cringe factor, because I actually like this a lot. I agree with Nick Hornby: a good song is a good song. Life is too short for music snobbery. When you find a good song, why not just enjoy it?
6. Every Little Thing She Does is Magic: The Police
I never got into the Police when I was younger, it was really just before my time. I got their best of this year because it felt like my music education needed it (let’s face it, they’re not wanting for classics). I wasn’t disappointed.
7. Lovers in Japan-Reign of Love: Coldplay
Again, I know. Coldplay. But hey, a catchy riff is a catchy riff. It moves me. Why would you not want that in your life? “Sometimes even the right is wrong…”
8. Everybody’s Got a Right to Live: Jimmy Collier, Pete Seeger, Rev FD Kirkpatrick
I borrowed this cd (a Pete Seeger collection) from my friend David, and it’s just steeped in history. I taught and sang this in front of the gates of Swan Island on our second day of blockading, at 6am in the freezing dead of winter. “And before this campaign fails we’ll all go down in jail/Everybody’s got a right to live.”
9. O Mary Don’t You Weep: Bruce Springsteen
I’ve been collecting spirituals the last few years as ways of arming myself for times of trouble. I bought this cd (Bruce Springsteen “The Seeger Sessions”) at the start of the year and I’ve listened to it solidly ever since. Just spectacular stuff.
10. Me and Julio Down by the Schoolyard: Paul Simon
This song just always makes me happy, because of the bouncy guitar, even though its content isn’t particularly. Wikipedia says that the “radical priest” referenced in this is probably either Daniel or Phil Berrigan, because they’re the only radical priests who have been on the front of Newsweek.
11. Nonviolence they choose for Afghanistan: Anita McKone
I first heard this song over patchy reception through an ancient mobile phone on loudspeaker in the upper room of a Kabul home. It was written and performed for the Afghan Youth Peace Volunteers by a new friend, Anita, partner of one of my nonviolence heroes who I now also call friend, Robert Burrowes. (The Afghan Youth Peace Volunteers was one of the groups I went to visit in Afghanistan, and have since become good friends with many of them.) We then had it recorded by my friend Evan, and put it out. It’s become somewhat of an anthem for the AYPVs.
12. Turn the World Around: Harry Belafonte
I’ve been reading a lot about the civil rights movement the last couple of years, and Harry Belafonte was heavily involved, bankrolling the Southern Christian Leadership Convention (SCLC – King’s organisation) a lot of the time. So when I brought home a Muppets Season 3 DVD featuring him, it was a good excuse to combine the kids’ education with my own. We listened, and all loved his music; in fact, the Banana Boat Song has become the number one favourite for my youngest. From there I bought the Essential Harry Belafonte, and it’s just magnificent. This is my favourite, and you can watch the Muppet version here.
13. Rumble: You Am I
Bought their Best Of, and had it on in the background while driving Kathy Kelly and Dr. Hakim around to various speaking gigs and radio interviews during the Melbourne leg of their tour. It’s (rather bizarrely) become the soundtrack to that rather hectic but memorable week.
14. All for You: Sister Hazel
This one is a memory from my early uni years – found it on a best of the 90s cd at the library and it brought back all sorts of memories.
15. Mystery track: (A plea)