the soundtrack of life
gillian anderson put together a playlist of her life for apple music. listen to it here. how many of you are so over me talking about her? well, too fucking bad, lol 😉 it’s not gonna stop any time soon. i spent a lot of time listening to her 42 chosen songs. 42 songs. any coincidence that 42 is the answer to life’s question? maybe? the list is vastly eclectic and introduced me to a lot of new songs, albums, and artists but felt oddly familiar at the same time.
here’s a breakdown of my thoughts on this compilation of musical wonders, followed by my own (pathetic) attempt at my life’s playlist:
gillian anderson: soundtrack to my life
- “trespasser pt. 2” by bad medicine (soul 7)- a funky, bluesy R&B instrumental number. pt. 1 starts out a bit mellower and the jazziness builds into pt. 2. they can easily be listened to separately, but are a magical 6 min together. groovy beat. i dig it.
- “waiting (o mistress mine)” by nitin sawhney (human)- loved this melody and sawhney’s voice. it’s at once soothing and haunting. totally cool track.
- “hello sunshine” by relatively clean rivers (relatively clean rivers)- this is one of my favorites from the playlist. it’s from 1975 and sounds a lot like the music i gravitate to nowadays. it’s folksy and quite catchy. there is a worldly feel to it with some sort of ethnic instrument coming in mid-way. a good song to start your morning off or to wind down with after a hard day.
- “iron sky” by paolo nutini (caustic love)- released in 2014 this song has a distinct 70s soul sound. there is an excerpt from charlie chaplin’s “the dictator” (1940) which gives me chills:
“the hate of men will pass, and dictators die,
and the power they took from the people will return to the people.
and so long as men die, liberty will never perish.
don’t give yourselves to these unnatural men –
machine men with machine minds and machine hearts!
you are not machines, you are not cattle, you are men!
you, the people, have the power to make this life free and beautiful,
to make this life a wonderful adventure
let us use that power!
let us all unite!”
- “remembering wag, the dream dreams you” by don mcglashan (dean spanley: original motion picture soundtrack)- i love that she has soundtrack instrumentals on her list. there is something really moving to me about a good movie sountrack interlude. this is a good one.
- “the house of the rising sun” by the animals (the animals)- a quintessential classic rock song
- “varðeldur” by sigur rós (valtari)- i have several sigur rós songs, but i don’t really ever listen to them anymore. it is peaceful background music though. i had them on a playlist that had all instrumental music entitled ‘ambient’ in college, actually. i listened to it when i studied.
- “tessellate” by alt-j (an awesome wave)- categorized as indietronica. that’s my kind of electronic music.
- “bloody mother fucking asshole” by martha wainwright (martha wainwright)- oh my god. when this song came on i stopped dead in my tracks. the music and lyrics completely overtook me. the words cut me so deep. they spoke to my soul. i was truly floored by the power of it. here are my immediate reaction tweets:
- “maggot brain” by funkadelic (maggot brain)- this song is just rad and the album is even more rad (radder?) well, no wonder, the band was formed by george clinton. i downloaded the whole album after listening to the title track. “hit it and quit it” was my favorite. the album is on rolling stone’s 500 greatest albums of all time. i would also like this album cover on a t-shirt, please.
- “fuel to the fire” by rationale (fuel to the fire)- this is like electronic dance music with soul. great beat that stands up to his powerful voice.
- “russian roulette” by the lords of the new church (killer lords)- 80s goth-punk rock. i really liked this track. kinda the clash meets the ramones?
- “exit music (for a film)” by radiohead (ok computer)- i mean, it’s radiohead. i love when the intensity builds at the end.
- “strange fruit (live in new york)” by nina simone (four women: the nina simone philips recordings)- strange fruit refers to lynchings of african americans in the south. it is a deeply sad song. i love nina simone’s voice and have a couple of her albums, but i have never heard this. her beautiful voice and the melody in contrast to describing one of the most hateful and vile memories from our history makes this painful retrospection unavoidable.
- “i go to the barn because i like the” by band of horses (everything all the time)- i got this album after hearing the single “the funeral.” this is pretty representative of the current music i listen to; indie folk rock. i love what lead vocal, ben bridwell had to say about the lyrics on this album: “a lot of these songs didn’t really come from any lyric writing, let alone any singing ability. a lot of the ways the words are sung were meant to hide or mask what’s being said. but there are definitely words. i wrote ’em down on paper and everything.”
- “someone to love me (naked)” by mary j blige ft. diddy and lil wayne (my life II…the journey continues, act 1)- love love love these lyrics:
“i’m no angel
there so much i can take
calm down, patience
don’t lose your temper hold on wait
i’ve got issues just like you
sometimes i get so confused
i’m strong but i can break
i’ll be praying so hard
to get through the day
bad thoughts in my mind i can’t shake
having nightmares in the day can you relate?
my rise, my falls
enemies wanna see me crawl
my ups, my downs
ya’ll know i’ve been around
but sometimes it bothers me
when i hear people say a non truth
am i sane, am i crazy
pick one there all the same
in this world we’re living in
i’mma make mistakes, i’m only human”
- “famous blue raincoat” by leonard cohen (songs of love and hate)- musical poetry, basically.
- “dove” by cymande (cymande)- this took me back to hanging out in the garage with my dad. i never understood how he could listen to long songs with no lyrics, but now i get it. it took me awhile to appreciate music without lyrics. this sounds like something he would’ve listened to then and it made me really nostalgic.
- “wasting my young years” by london grammar (if you wait)- the lead vocalist kind of reminds me of florence welch.
- “vivaldi: concerto in a minor, rv 358 la cetra: II largo” by nicola benedetti and scottish chamber orchestra (italia)- this is so similar to some of the music in “the house of mirth.”
- “salomè” by peter doherty (grace/wastelands)- i can’t help but think of “sunset boulevard” with these lyrics.
- “landslide (live with the melbourne symphony)” by stevie nicks (crystal visions…the very best of stevie nicks)- i bet this song is on a lot of life playlists. it’s on mine. i can only listen to stevie nicks sing it though. i have hated every cover of “landslide.”
- “revenge” by danger mouse and sparklehorse ft. the flaming lips (dark night of the soul)- great song. love this lyric:
“in my mind i have shot you and stabbed you through your heart
i just didn’t understand, the ricochet is the second part”
- “for what it’s worth” by sergio mendes and brasil ’66 (stillness)- a jazzy cover of the buffalo springfield song. my american history teacher in junior college played this song for us in class. he was a gruff, cantankerous old man and i was quite afraid of him, actually. when he played this song, he got a far away look in his eye and teared up. it was very moving to see him be moved by the song. this song will always make me think of him.
- “i know it’s over” by jeff buckley (you and i)- this is a cover of the smiths’ song. i prefer the smiths, to be honest. but, this is a good version, too.
- “cornerstone” by benjamin clementine (at least for now)- this dude has a really cool voice.
- “shine on you crazy diamond” by kendra morris (mockingbird)- cover of pink floyd
- “kala” by ali farka touré and toumani diabaté (in the heart of the moon)- touré is considered one of the top 100 guitarists by rolling stones and spin magazines. this track is an instrumental african blues number.
- “wild horses (acoustic version)” by the rolling stones (sticky fingers)- this acoustic version is awesome.
- “england” by pj harvey (let england shake)- pj harvey is one of my favorite artists. her style is all over the place, in a good way. she has been categorized under many musical genres, but i think the best one to describe her is ‘art rock.’ she is an artist in every sense of the word. i haven’t listened to this album as much as her earlier ones. it’s somewhat political. a critic in NME even referred to it as a ‘war album.’ her 2000 album, stories from the city, stories from the sea, is flawless and is one of my favorite albums of all time.
- “bridge over troubled water” by johnny cash (american IV: the man comes around)- a cover of simon and garfunkel. johnny cash doing covers is a beautiful thing. i have one on my list, too.
- “the poet acts” by philip glass (the hours: music from the motion picture)- all of the music in this movie is wonderful. so moving. my favorite is “the kiss.” philip glass is a musical genius. i saw him perform with the philip glass ensemble accompanied by the los angeles philharmonic for a screening of “koyaanisqatsi” on my birthday in 2009 at the hollywood bowl which was one of the coolest experiences ever.
- “save me” by joan armatrading (joan armatrading)- beautiful voice and vulnerable lyrics. similar to joni mitchell.
- “dash and blast” by yndi halda (enjoy eternal bliss)- a long, sweeping instrumental post-rock piece. if i had known about this in college, it would’ve been on my ‘ambient’ study playlist.
- “punk rock” by mogawi (come on die young)- music set to a speech from iggy pop and his thoughts on punk rock in an interview from 1977.
- “candyland” by cocorosie (la maison de mon rêve)- described as freak folk. yeah, i’m gonna go with that. it’s a cool sound.
- “long nights” by eddie vedder (into the wild: music for the motion picture)- well, this little introverted insomniac loves these lyrics:
have no fear
for when i’m alone
i’ll be better off
than i was before
long nights allow
me to feel I’m falling
i am falling
the lights go out
let me feel I’m falling
i am falling
safely to the ground
i’ll take this soul
that’s inside me now
like a brand new friend
i’ll forever know
- “godspeed” by jenny lewis (acid tongue)- i am a big fan of jenny lewis. big fan. rilo kiley, the band that she was in before going solo is my favorite band. i love her voice and her lyrics. i like gillian’s choice of song here. it fits with the rest of the playlist. i saw jenny lewis at the hollywood bowl, too.
- “phone went west” by my morning jacket (at dawn)- this is a sweet song. i like it. and it has this lyric:
“is there a doctor in the house in the house tonight?”
which makes me think of this:
- “knockin’ on heaven’s door” by bob dylan (pat garrett and billy the kid)- often covered, this original version is the best.
- “towers” by bon iver (bon iver, bon iver)- yay, more indie folk rock!
- “an ending (ascent)” by brian eno (apollo: atmospheres and soundtracks)- i love this review of the song. what an appropriate song to end a very cool playlist.
buck up little camper: soundtrack to my life
listen to it here.
i have a theory that only children have a harder time finding cool music. all my friends that had siblings seemed to have a much more broad musical palette. i was basically only exposed to the music my parents listened to and the popular stuff on the radio. i remember being at a friend’s house and we were hanging out in his older sister’s room and listening to her cds. we were listening to 4 non blondes and i hadn’t heard anything like it before. that’s when i think i actively started to look into other styles of music and anything beyond mainstream pop. i looked for music that spoke to me everywhere and i think that is why my taste has become so eclectic. i like songs from almost every genre from rap to country, from oldies to new wave. i’ve always been a movie buff and i discovered a lot of songs and artists through soundtracks. also, i love how music in a film can enhance your emotional reaction and then trigger that feeling when you hear the song outside of the movie.
- “a better son/daughter” by rilo kiley (the execution of all things)- might as well kick it off with my own personal anthem:
“and sometimes when you’re on, you’re really fucking on
and your friends they sing along and they love you
but the lows are so extreme that the good seems fucking cheap
and it teases you for weeks in its absence
but you’ll fight and you’ll make it through
you’ll fake it if you have to
and you’ll show up for work with a smile
you’ll be better and you’ll be smarter
and more grown up and a better daughter
or son and a real good friend
you’ll be awake, you’ll be alert
you’ll be positive though it hurts
and you’ll laugh and embrace all your friends
you’ll be a real good listener
you’ll be honest, you’ll be brave
you’ll be handsome, you’ll be beautiful
you’ll be happy your ship may be coming in
you’re weak but not giving in
to the cries and the wails of the valley below
your ship may be coming in
you’re weak but not giving in
and you’ll fight it, you’ll go out fighting all of them…”
- “paper tiger” by beck (sea change)
- “theme from ‘ghost world'” by david kitay (ghost world)
- “tick” by yeah yeah yeahs (fever to tell)
- “bottle up and explode!” by elliott smith (xo)
- “moon baby” by godsmack (godsmack)
- “creep” by radiohead (pablo honey)
- “ce matin la” by air (moon safari)
- “furr” by blitzen trapper (furr)
- “love in a void” siouxsie and the banshees (mittageisen)
- “superstar” by sonic youth (if i were a carpenter)
- “bravado” by lorde (the love club)
- “dear catastrophe waitress” by belle and sebastian (dear catastrophe waitress)
- “the greatest” by cat power (the greatest)
- “wise up” by aimee mann (magnolia: music from the motion picture)
- “llorando” by rebekah del rio (david lynch’s mulholland drive: original soundtrack)
- “d.p.” by clinic (clinic)
- “canto de ossanha (let go) by astrud gilberto (astrud’s finest hour)
- “aqualung” by jethro tull (aqualung)
- “desperanto” by marianne faithfull (before the poison)
- “this modern love” by bloc party (silent alarm)
- “landslide” by fleetwood mac (fleetwood mac)
- “melt your heart” by jenny lewis (rabbit fur coat)
- “mad world” by gary jules (donnie darko: music from the original motion picture)
- “lost stars” by keira knightley (begin again – music from and inspired by the original motion picture)
- “hurt” by johnny cash (american IV: the man comes around)
- “blue in the face” by no doubt (the beacon street collection)
- “west coast” by coconut records (nigthttimimg)
- “we got a love (ft. lennon and maisy)” by the nashville cast (nashville: season 3)
- “silhouettes” by of monsters and men (the hunger games: catching fire – original motion picture soundtrack)
- “on the radio” by regina spektor (begin to hope)
- “the beginning of the end” by clint mansell (requiem for a dream)
- “less than a moment” by shannon wright (dyed in the wool)
- “comes and goes (in waves) by greg laswell (three flights from alto nido)
- “apple blossom” by the white stripes (de stijl)
- “open up your heart” by the rapture (echoes)
- “the sounds of silence” by simon and garfunkel (wednesday morning, 3 am)
- “which way is out?” by razorlight (up all night)
- “bloody mother fucking asshole” by martha wainwright (martha wainwright)- thank you, gillian.
- “the cave” by mumford and sons (sigh no more)
- “good fortune” by pj harvey (stories from the city, stories from the sea)
- love is all around” by joan jett and the blackhhearts (drop dead gorgeous: motion picture soundtrack)- joan jett singing the theme song to the mary tyler moore show? uh, yes please.
this was a really fun exercise. and now i have a perfectly tailored playlist for myself. it takes some time and a lot of thought and soul searching. it’s not just about picking your favorite songs. i would’ve had the beastie boys on here, if it were about that. it’s a little bit deeper than that. i also enjoyed the challenge of limiting it to 42 selections. there were some tough choices at the end, there. if you are so inclined to do this, share your playlist with me. i’d love to hear it.
rock on, campers 😉
here are some gifs of gillian dancing because reasons: