The power music has to evoke memories of times gone by has always struck me as quite impressive. I only have to hear a song from my school days, or my university days, or one that I used to play on a repeat when I was doing a certain job or in a certain relationship, and without a moment's notice I find myself whisked right back there. The way it enables you to relive a certain day, moment or situation is even a little bit unnerving, should you find yourself transported back to something you'd rather forget.
For me, there have been many different soundtracks to my life, so today I thought I' take a bit of a trip down memory lane and share them with you.
The songs that remind me most of my primary school days are mostly those that would blast out from the car radio on the way to and from the place. Usually mixed in with the voice of my father talking loudly on his mobile phone, I remember songs from Phil Collins and Frankie goes to Hollywood often filling the journeys. When I got home - and this is more than a little bit embarrassing to admit - I would run straight up to my room and pop my favourite Peter Andre song on repeat. I absolutely loved that man, and I had a poster of him on the wall next to my bed in all his topless, pectastic glory, that I would kiss every night before bed. The first concert I ever went to was his, and it passed in a blur of euphoria. Afterwards, I bought all the mugs and t-shirts my pocket money would stretch to, and yet more posters with which to adorn my bedroom walls. Oh yes, he had my heart back then. Cringe.
Another favoutite of mine, at that age, was of course The Spice Girls - Ginger and Baby being my favourites. I remember how all the girls at school started turning up in towering neon wedge trainers for mufti day, one of them even attempting to replicate Geri's infamous Union Jack dress from the Brits. Needless to say, it didn't go down too well with our head teacher. After school, we would run to the shop to stock up on Spice Girls photos to swap in the playground the next day - a craze which replaced GoGos, Tazos and of course, Pogs.
Secondary school was a different kettle of fish. In the first year, I made a spectacle of myself by entering the talent show with some friends as the girl band Bewitched. We didn't actually sing the song though - oh no. We simply donned cut-off jeans and mimed into our hairbrushes. But clearly, that wasn't enough for me, as I later remember doing the same thing to the soundtrack of TLC's Unpretty - only this time we treated the audience to a synchronised dance routine and some strangled cat-like vocals. Needless to say, we didn't win.
At this point, the Backstreet Boys were an important aspect of day to day life, and everyone in my group of friends was required to have a different favourite, as two people just weren't allowed to like the same one. Even those who were left with the less desirable Kevin and AJ wholeheartedly threw themselves into the pastime of fancying them, covering their walls in memorabilia and stating that they were 'gorgeous' at every available opportunity. No ne seemed to clock the lack of enthusiasm on their faces.
At the age of fourteen, things changed. Being pupils at an all girls school, it took us until then to establish a real group of male friends, and once we did we quickly assumed their music tastes. All of a sudden, our CD collections consisted of Green Day, Nirvana and Blink 182, and that was to set the tone for the next few years.
Later, I realised that it was ok not to like everything I had previously tried to convince myself that I did. There had been some bands and singers that had just been a step too far (think Marilyn Manson), and I was ready to chill out and listen to what really did tickle my fancy. Of course, some of the rock bands had become firm favourites of mine, but I no longer felt the need to listen to them on repeat, and suddenly it was ok to have more of a varied taste in music again.
After leaving school and moving in with my friends, the drum and bass era began. This was a time where driving around with my housemates listening to Andy C on full blast was the norm, and the monthly drum and bass night at a big local club was what we lived for.
When I was at university, my tastes in music took more of a turn towards fun. The first band that springs to mind is the Kaiser Chiefs, as it was a time when they were at their peak and were continuously releasing catchy songs. However, I didn't really get the chance to become a fan of them myself because - that's right - my parents beat me to it. This was a time when you couldn't get into either of their cars without the first album being played on repeat, and you couldn't enter a room without my dad whistling one of their songs out of tune. Eventually, this put me off them completely, and by the time my parents went to see them live at the Eden Project, I'd had enough.
Towards the end of university, funky house became my music type of choice, mainly due to most of the fun nights out I had around this time being set against a backdrop of such songs. To this day, there are songs which make me want to get up and dance, and remind me of some really good times. But then, isn't that true of all the musical phases I've been through?
Nowadays, you'll find me listening to anything from MGMT to Rihanna, The Pixies to Calvin Harris...and even, at times a bit of Taylor Swift and One Direction. It's funny how I still feel a tiny bit embarrassed admitting to those last two, and I suppose it's something I've carried with me from the past. But nowadays, I definitely don't feel the need to pigeon hole my musical tastes, and would get very bored quickly if I did.
Variety is the spice of life.
*pictures courtesy of Pinterest