To some of us, music is as vital as breathing and an important tool for dealing with the shit life throws at us. The soundtrack to our lives develops over time, our tastes change and our repertoire expands, but every now and again one single track comes along and defines a particular state of mind so entirely that it retains a power over you for years afterwards; a track that pulls you out of a hole and reminds you that everything is going to be alright. These are the songs that save our lives. Here are our CALMzine writers with their life saving tracks:
Track: Rock n Roll Star - Oasis
“There is no doubt about it, Oasis definitely changed my life during school. These Manc lads were responsible for an influx of spotty ego-driven school bands during the 90’s and I was more than happy to be one of the wannabes onstage at lunchtimes. Performing as a frontman to a handful of rival bands, their mates and the odd dinner lady... the tambourine was reborn and so was I. Sideburns were grown and anoraks purchased, a healthy arrogance pumped through the veins! Argos drum kits and replica guitars were far from showbiz but for that moment in time… we were rock n roll stars. They were good times indeed, and although with age I have become more Bon Iver than Beady Eye the energy from this song always pushes me to be…dare I say…Mad for it.”
Track: Le Voyage de Penelope - Air
"Air's music has an incredible ability to calm me and slow-down my thoughts, particularly the album Moon Safari. This song though I associate with a very specific time when I was on a beach in Barcelona. A few friends were chucking a ball about but I was slightly away from them, taking in the autumn sun and breeze, utterly undisturbed. As this song came on I checked my 'phone and I had seven voicemails. London had been bombed, and my mother wanted to let me know everything was all right. Hearing the song roll to its finale allows me perspective, and reminds me of a less troubled time."
Track: From the Ritz to the Rubble - Arctic Monkeys
"Towards the end of my 16th year, my 26 year old mentor and close friend took his own life due to the stress of trying to make it in showbiz. Unable to cope or be sensible, I shunned all support from my family and friends and dealt with it by listening to morose tunes like "The Day the World Went Away" by Nine Inch Nails, "Something in the Way" by Nirvana, and "Asleep" by The Smiths--not exactly your go to therapy music. Sick of listening to Adi's Maudlin Music, my girlfriend played me the Arctic Monkeys's "From the Ritz to the Rubble". You might be thinking, "Fuck off? That saved your life?"And I'll proudly say fuck yeah, dude. It reminded me that sometimes, to get over a hardship, you've got to get out and have a raucous time with your best buds. And even though that heartless, Summer Finn of a girl (or Annie Hall for you old timers) toppled my heart like a freaking game of Jenga, I can't help but thank her for saving me with the band whose discography has now passed the threshold of infatuation in plays on my iTunes. Much obliged, bitch."
Track: Standing in the Doorway - Bob Dylan
“For an artist such as Bob Dylan there are many songs that one could choose although I have selected this one from 1997's 'Time out of Mind'. The track is 'Standing in the Doorway' and it is one that always manages to raise my mood and help me take stock of things like my very own audio tonic. Like all great Dylan songs the lyrics are paramount and this is no exception. It has a slow dreamlike quality to the production and with lines such as ‘last night I danced with a stranger / but she just reminded me that you were the one’ are aimed squarely at hopeless romantics among us and when followed by couplets such as ‘I would be crazy if I took you back / It would go up against every rule’ tell the listener that just like them Dylan speaks of times where even when you know full well what the outcome will be within a relationship your heart will overtake your head ever time, and for those who know that the ghost of the 'one that got away' will always haunt you if you let it.”
Track: The Water - Feist
“To me, this slow reflective number is like a lullaby. More than melancholic, it's beautiful and wistful, with hints of jazz. 4 minutes 46 seconds of pure escapism. Sometimes life doesn't come in 180 beats per minute. After a busy or stressful day, taking a quiet pause helps to prepare me for tomorrow. It's healthy to face to your emotions head on, to stop and think, and this song helps me do just that.”
Track: The Greatest Light is the Greatest Shade - The Joy Formidable
"I will always remember hearing this song for the first time because my life then was framed by the bitter, all engulfing pain of heartbreak. The key lyric in this song is "a calm day will come." Rising above the obliterating clamour of the music itself, you feel the assurance that despite how hopeless you feel and how very dark life may look at that very moment, things will get better and you will rise up from the pain and be a better person for it. You get to that better place when "'til 2 eyes / out of the darkness / bring hope close" because once you can rise up beyond the pain, you can live again."
Track: Man Of The World - Fleetwood Mac
"When I periodically hit rock bottom and things seem desperately... desperate, I always find amazing solace from listening to Peter Green pour out his sizeable troubles- somehow our troubles- in the most unapologetically personal track I've ever come across. Green's lyrics are unrivalled in relating to how I understand myself, in particular the haunting lines 'I guess I've got everything I need, I wouldn't ask for more, and there's no-one I'd rather be, but I just wish that I'd never been born'. Allowing myself to wallow away in the depths of the song, rather than descending into further despair, always reminds me that I'm not alone. Oh, and the song is fucking brilliant too. One of favourite notes of all time can be found at 1:52mins, if you're asking."
Track: Dry The Rain – Beta Band
“In the film High Fidelity, John Cusack‘s character says, “I will now sell five copies of The Three E.P.'s by The Beta Band". He plays a snippet of Dry the Rain and customers stop, and look up. That’s what this song does. It makes you stop, and it takes you on a little journey. A lovely journey. With ice cream. Beer. Whatever you want.
If there's something inside that you wanna say /
You can say it alright it'll be okay. Six minutes of pure unadulterated joy. The hairs on my arms start to quiver the minute I hear the intro, and by the end, my entire body has succumbed. It begins like a friend holding your hand, and ends with both arms around you, giving you a brilliant hug. It’s silly really, that a song can do this. But it does. And it does it every time."
Track: Alive - Pearl Jam
“The very moment I hear the echoing guitar intro to this song I get goosebumps and that's before Eddie Vedder has even started with the haunting lyrics that follow. Granted, its not the most upbeat of songs (the lyrics are reportedly a semi-autobiographical tale of a moment in Vedder's own life), but something in it fills me with fight, the song's ending makes you feel like screaming out loud and letting go of anything holding you down, it makes me feel...well, alive!"
Track: Wake Up - Arcade Fire
"There is one track – albeit in a single context which makes it matter so much – which stands out as being a positive influence and still, sometimes, making me a bit teary. It’s Wake Up by Arcade Fire used in the trailer for Spike Jonez's film Where the Wild Things Are. I listened to this track a lot when my head was a shed in late 2009, and it reminds me of being happy and young and carefree and how fun it was back then; then I got sad about how rubbish grown-up life was and what a mess I was, and how I wasn’t a fun little boy anymore and instead was a bit of a miserable, grumpy, drunk, angry, unpleasant little shit and I felt awful at letting my parents down and not being a nice little blue eyed boy anymore who giggled and made people smile. I went into the Priory shortly after and turned my life around – the song didn’t inspire me to do it, but it certainly reminded me of what I wanted to be again and what I didn’t want to be anymore. It still makes me cry a little – but not so much out of regret and anger and sadness anymore, but more out of pride at having done something that, then, seemed a million miles away. I might be a grown up, but I am much more of a happy blue eyed boy again now and my parents are proud of me everyday."
Track: Pursuit of Happiness - Kid Cudi ft MGMT
“This is one of those ones for a sunny day when you know you should be out there enjoying the sunshine but somehow the fact the sun is shining only seems to make things worse. And, although quite downbeat, it has a strange, uplifting quality about it that gives you a little nudge under the chin. It’s also a good one to listen when you awaken after a big fat 'n heavy one the night before. Many soul-crushing hangovers 'n muddled messy mornings after have been gotten over with the help of this glorious ode to finding happiness. Enjoy.”
Track: Gonna Fly Now (Theme From Rocky) - Bill Conti
“I’m a sucker for the epic and overwrought, and there are fewer musical interludes more epic and over wrought than the theme from Rocky. This is one of the most uplifting pieces of music ever written. Yeah, you heard me: EVER. It doesn’t matter how pissed off, upset or low I am, if I listen to this I’m instantly punching the air and dancing about like a twat. This track has got me through break ups, bereavements, job losses and health scares. Even as an angst ridden, godawful poetry-spewing, Kurt Cobain obsessed teenager, I would break this out if I felt the need. It has the sole ability to press the ’Everything’s going to be OKAY’ switch in my brain and for that reason, I nominate it as the track that saved my life. It’s not cool, it’s not clever, it is what it is: completely, shamelessly, utterly fucking AWESOME. It has trumpets, strings, a cheesy guitar solo, a choir, one of those weird 70’s synth things and, most importantly, the ability to heal me every time. Look, it was either this or something by Barry White, so count your blessings…”
Tell us your life saving track in comments below...