What songs are playing during these key scenes in the movie of your life and why?
CHILDHOOD: ‘Welcome to the Jungle’ – Guns n’ Roses
My dad went through a billiards phase. Sometimes I’d tag along with him to the pool hall, sitting outside with a book. For me it was a chance to hear music forbidden at home, especially Guns n’ Roses. I still love Appetite. Some of my friends prefer Jane’s Addiction; I tell them Perry Farrell tried very hard to convince everyone he was crazy, Axl Rose didn’t need to try at all.
FIRST LOVE: ‘Inner Flight’ – Primal Scream
Beautiful Pet Sounds-style instrumental. Pretty sure this or ‘High and Dry’ by Radiohead was playing when I first got the shift.
TEENS – ‘Up in the Sky’ – Oasis
The sound of the band was big, Liam Gallagher’s voice was even bigger. Their appeal was similar to GnR’s and early Oasis had more in common with them than with Blur or Pulp. ‘Up in the Sky’ reminds me of riding my bike around town, headphones on, going nowhere in particular.
YOUNG ADULT – ‘Lohengrin Overture’ – Richard Wagner
Unlike Liszt, Wagner was never a virtuoso musician but he was a virtuoso with harmony and orchestration. Above all he had drama. This piece keeps building and building until the end, when the cymbals crash and it’s like an overpass falling on you.
FIRST HEARTBREAK – Disintegration Tapes – William Basinski
At the time I lived on Hemenway Street in Boston, which had the largest rat problem in the city. My bedroom had no windows and I chainsmoked for hours listening to this record. My other favorite was Berlioz’s Grande Messe des morts–a requiem for the entire world–which I used to put on before I went to sleep.
WORKING MONTAGE – ‘Them Bones’ – Alice in Chains
This song rules. If you’re making a montage, may as well use ‘Them Bones.’
WRITING MONTAGE – ‘Improvisations sur les folies d’Espagne’ – Marin Marais
French court music–Marais, Couperin, Charpentier, Lully–is underrated. Perfect soundtrack for writing. I was working at a record shop when I discovered Tous les Matins du Monde and instantly became a fan.
OLD AGE – ‘Ten and Nine’ – Liam Clancy
I think Shane MacGowan recommended this album. ‘Ten and Nine’ is one of the many great melodies on Liam Clancy’s debut. I don’t expect to earn retirement, so this track seems appropriate. It’s a song for the working poor.
DEATH – ‘Tony’s Theme (Scarface)’ – Giorgio Moroder
This is my goal. I need to do a few other things first.