Your own personal theme tune...
...what would it be?
I posed this question to try to get people on Twitter to come up with new ways to sell themselves on #followfriday, but then wonderedwhat exactly my own personal theme tune might be. I won't beat around the bush - I love music. But a personal theme tune had to be something that had, as some time or another, wrapped its way around my head, shaken it, and put me back down again, a changed person.
I don't know about you - which is kind of the point in asking people to provide their own theme tunes - but there have been times in my life when I've picked up or been copied an album that I'll listen to over and over. And over. And over. And for a long while that'll be who I am in my head-space. More so I think when I was in my late teens and early twenties, living at home and listening to music either on my own in my room or with headphones in the darkened backroom whilst the family watched TV twenty feet away. But the thing is I'm not sure exactly how to isolate one song from all the songs that have, at one time, been me.
So this is a Blog where I run through a few albums and who I was at the time.
My first musical memories ae weird videos from the 80s.Weird and disturbing shit like this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cznha2YTTh0 - or this - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HxsexRjNcb4 - or this - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HyMm4rJemtI - or even this - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qEx7pkmFc6s They all worked their way into my subconcious, fermented aamidst the chaos of bubbling hormones in later years, and pretty much made me who I am today. So, assuming you can track down those responsible for those videos, you've got someone to blame.
In terms of musical albums that made their way into my hands, the first new album was The White Room by The KLF. On the strength of the single Last Train To Trancentral, which didn't even make the album in that form, and which I found impossible to locate in single form until iTunes and last.fm saved my life. I liked the mix of rock and rap and dancey beats that the singles had, and the nonsensical lyrics. That album got a lot of airplay, but was possible the most mainstream album I ever bought...
...possibly. Although I did, for some reason, buy the Dubstars album Disgraceful - that reason being the song Stars. That was pretty mainstream, even if they were a little slice of dreary pop lite. Again, fun little lyrics, but it was definitely Stars that stood out as a track for me. Partly because of the desperation in the lyrics, and I was young enough to see doom and despair in everything, to not see beyond the approaching Friday night and the chances to fall in love it dangled in front of my face.
By this time, however, a friend had introduced me to rock. Not pop parody rock, but full blown metal. Bands like Faith No More, Metallica, Megadeth and... erm... Queensryche. Of those perhaps it has been Faith No More who've stuck by me throughout my life, being immediately juvenile and yet not taking itself as seriously as a lot of young bands who were cocky and arrogant. Don't get me wrong, I liked cocky and arrogant, but not so much any more. Faith No More were a little bit funky, a little crazy, and had lyrics that went from insightful to silly. They wrote the sort of love song I could identify with, being about sudden infatuations and the inabilty to go get is, but without getting all dreary with it. I hadn't really ever been knocked back by girls at this stage, but that was down to a lack of any real experience. The Real Thing got a lot of listens, and Falling To Pieces was possibly my favourite track, going on about contradictory emotions that closely matched my own feelings of falling in love. "Droplets of yes and no, in an ocean of maybe." Indeed.
This friend also introduced me to the self-named debut album by Mr Bungle, the band that Faith No More frontman Mike Patton had started off with - even more silly, and singing about all sorts of depravity. I was young and impressionable, and I loved it. The first song I was introduced to was Carousel, with a theme that encouraged a look at the clown in oneself, and it's the closest to a theme tune on this album as you'll get. Certainly one of the more straight songs, in that it's not too long, doesn't get lost in shouting and laughter. There are all sorts of dodgy songs on that album, for which you'll have to dig out and find the lyrics to truly appreciate. At the same time I was introduced to Red Hot Chili Peppers, initially through their song Lord Psycho Sexy. That's certainly no personal theme tune, but the song is great and pointed me in the direction of the Blood Sugar Sex Magic album.
I stumbled from school to art school, with little clue as to my direction. Less so musically. A new friend introduced me fully to some bands I had just a passing familiarity with, big noisy bands like Ministry (and their Psalm 69 album) and Anthrax. To non-rockers these will be, for the most part, noise. But they were load, slightly scary, and with an under current of dark humour I really liked. I bought Anthrax's Sound of White Noise album soon after. Stand out tracks by these bands at this time for me were Jesus Built My Hotrod and The Black Lodge.
After art school I went on a government run course to learn computers. It would've been spreadsheets had I not drawn lots of cartoons. This apparently showed enough creative insight to push me into desk-top publishing. A fellow student here had apparently been in a band with Iron Maiden's Bruce Dickinson a long time before, and he got me out clubbing at Camdens Electric Ballroom. The rest, as they say is history.
Hah! only joking! The club is where I really found my musical feet, but on the course I made friends who introduced me to music. One lent me an album by little known band Nine Inch Nails, an album called The Downward Spiral, which was unlike anything I'd ever heard before, but I then frequently began to hear being played at clubs. Stand out tracks? I don't know - it's all pretty intense and wrentched my heart around at the time. It's still easily one of my top five albums, just because it was there in my life when I was really carving out my niche in the world. A 'girl' on the course (she was 30 when I was 20) introduced me to Portishead, the Dummy album, and Pixies, the Dolittle album. Both got played a lot, but Portishead nowadays makes me depressed. It's too full of caterwalling, give or take a few songs. The Pixies, however, fell into the tried and tested pigeonhole of 'not taking self too seriously' and I absolutely loved them. Stand out tracks? Perhaps Debaser.
I got on well with that girl, but unfortunately she started getting on well with some other guy on the course closer to her own age at the time. He was a bitter young idiot, but then he was a bit of a cunt. He went on to join Stiltskin, after their one big hit (more about him later). At one stage she went to New York and brought me back a book called Flood, full of artwork that appeared shortly after on the Faith No More album King For A Day, Fool For A Lifetime. I took the track King For A Day and made a neat little animation using the main character from the book. This video has now been lost somewhere, but the song always brings it back, in my mind's eye. You slave over a project and it sticks with you.
Anyhow, life goes on and record collections grow. My Nine Inch Nails collection increased, and clubbing allowed me the opportunity to stumble over bands I bought a good few albums by. In particular the whole back catalogue of Nine Inch Nails and Ministry. I really got to appreciate moody goth rockers Sisters of Mercy, and mody with tongue firmly in cheek goth rockers Type O Negative, plus dancey industrial outfits like Gravity Kills, and drum and bass punk rockers Pitchshiter. From the other side of the equation The Prodigy were drifting from a dance feel to hardcore punk dance stuff. Also, many years later than necessary, comedic pop punks Pop Will Eat Itself came onto my radar.
Albums? You want albums? Some bands I found best of albums for, but Gravity Kills debut self-titled album got played to death, much as much of the content got played at my favourite clubs. And Pitchshifter's album Deviant came out, and I lapped up its tongue in cheek counter-culture punk rock dance. Stand out potential theme tunes are, respectively, Guilty and Dead Battery, although it's an incredibly hard choice. Those albums are fullof musical goodness (if you're on my wavelength, anyhow). It took me a while to track down Pitchshifter's Genius song on the previous album, www.pitchshifter.com, but it's a club favourite and an anthem, if not a potential theme tune. Pop Will Eat Itself is also a very firm favourite band, so the song X, Y and Z might be a theme tune. Or Can U Digg IT?
That's pretty much up to date, although... alon the way I've picked up more mainstream stuff. My parents listened to Suzanne Vega, o I listened to a lot of that growing up. particularly like the song Knight Moves, but Solitaire Standing is one song that's buried deep in my subconsious. Gypsy, too, is a song I would love to have as a personal theme tune, ifonly because it's about some romantic figure I might once have wanted to becom, back in those art student no job prospect days. Somewhere along the way I found The Smiths, and Mansun and Nick cave, each with their particular comic dark turns and stories to tell. So, well, you never know, these bands are all potential bands for having a personal theme tune amongst them...
I'm drawing to a clse because my head is beginning to hurt, but my music collection is like an iceburg, and you've only just seen the tip of it as you head, Titanic-like, in it's general direction... Tomorrow I might allow some more chucnks of ice to float up into plain sight, little snatches of song from the internet, or soundtracks, that has yet to properly carve out a niche amongst my CDs.
Okay, so whtare your personal theme tunes? And can you settle on one ultimate theme tune by Friday?