I don’t know about you, but a huge part of my childhood was travelling to visit my Grandparents. The first 10 years of my life were spent in the back seat of my dad’s car while we all travelled up to London, and for that 2-hour journey my parents would play their old tapes and CD’s and hope me and my brother would fall asleep (but we never did). But in those early years, my music taste was being defined, and the music I like now is incredibly influenced by the artists my parents liked and the memories I have of those songs. There have been so many times in my later life, especially my late teens and early 20’s when I have gone back to those nostalgic songs for comfort, and it’s the music that has seen me through the best and worst of times. So here are my favourite 10 songs to soothe your 20’s (or whatever age, really).
Simon & Garfunkel – Blues Run the Game
Simon & Garfunkel are one of the few bands both of my parents like, and it was one of their few shared CD’s that we’d listen to in the car. I remember the sound and style of this music, but it wasn’t until last year when I started watching ‘This is Us’ that I actually began to love them. In series 1 episode 3 they play Jackson C Frank’s version of ‘Blues Run the Game’, but when I looked up the song I saw it was originally by Simon and Garfunkel, and I completely fell in love with their version. It’s the perfect song to sum up wishing you were older and wiser, but also accepting that there will be sadness and hardship whatever age you are.
The Staves – Sleeping in a Car
The Staves are one of my favourite bands, and if you haven’t heard their music yet you’ve probably been under a rock for the last 4 years, or you just don’t listen to Radio 6 Music. The Staves are a folk rock band featuring a trio of sisters with unmatchable harmonies, and Sleeping in a Car is one of their newer singles. I fell in love with this song because of how much I can relate to the feeling of sleeping in a car on a long car ride, and those sleeps always feel like borrowed time and escapism from real life. Sleeping in a Car evokes a feeling of safety and possibility, and of the world pausing for a few hours while cars and landscapes whiz past you.
Fleet Foxes – Fool’s Errand
My dad and I go to at least 3 gigs in London every year, and in 2017 we saw Fleet Foxes. I wasn’t sure what to expect of them live, but their sound was absolutely incredibly, and they were one of the best live bands I’ve ever seen. Fool’s Errand always brings a sense of youth, of pursuing fickle dreams and relationships, but knowing that’s okay because it’s only temporary.
Elbow – Magnificent
If there was ever a song to completely transform your mood and make you feel invincible, then Magnificent is the one to do it. It’s the kind of song that will have you singing along even if you’ve only heard it once, and once you hear it, it will become your go-to feel good song. I’d definitely recommend Elbow as a treadmill album!
Taylor Swift – Gorgeous
Say what you like about Tay Sway, but the crazy and wonderful bitch has been a firm favourite of mine since I was 13 and I don’t care who knows it. I’ve followed Taylor from her Tear Drops on my Guitar days right up to her Reputation era, and she’s got me through every breakup and every friendship crisis. Gorgeous is my favourite song from her latest album, because it’s just the epitome of being young and acting like an idiot when you’re attracted to someone. It’s my go-to sassy song, and especially relatable cus she mentions going home to her cats, alone ( which is my entire life in one lyric).
Bruce Springsteen – Dancing in the Dark
Springsteen is that musician that my mum loves and my dad hates, and they constantly have the same row that all of Springsteen’s songs sound the same (they really don’t Dad ffs). Springsteen was always exclusively listened to when it was just me and my mum, and so every song always reminds of our girls only road trips. Dancing in The Dark is THE 80’s dance anthem, and if you can’t scream along with every single lyric then we probably ain’t gonna be friends.
Damien Rice – Colour Me In
I always associate this song with Caroline’s mum dying on The Vampire Diaries which is incredibly sad, but the other thing I associate it with is coming home and having someone look after. The feeling of security, and somebody loving you despite all of your flaws and mistakes. So if you’re ever feeling inadequate or insecure, this song is the one for you.
Nina Nesbitt – The Hardest Part
Nina Nesbitt has one the most beautiful voices I’ve ever come across, and there is so much sadness in her voice throughout this song that it will utterly break your heart and also heal it at the same time. I think we all have THAT person in your life, the one who screws you over completely and makes you question if you’ll ever be happy again, but there’s also a little part of you that misses them and wonders what could have been. So when you’re feeling like going down memory lane, I would definitely recommend a bit of Nina.
Don Henley – The Boys of Summer
It was the summer of 2015, and my best friend and I were in Vancouver living our best lives and pretending the summer would last forever. We’re eating burgers and drinking cider outside in the sun, and then Don Henley comes on. We made it our mission that summer to learn every word, and since then it’s become our song, so I always associate it with the complete freedom and happiness of that summer.
The Smith’s – Big Mouth Strikes Again
The Smith’s are that band that everyone says they like to sound cool, but I actually do like them, and I’ve seen Morrissey and Jonny Marr live to prove it! The Smith’s are the perfect band to depress you further if you’re already feeling blue, but Big Mouth Strikes Again is super upbeat, filled with sarcasm, and has the most iconic guitar rift ever. It’s just that song that you don’t listen to very often so that when you do, it feels like the first time all over again. When you want to get up, dance and shout a massive F you to the world, this one’s for you.