Cleansed of the past – 2005 in soundtrack form


I had quite the running playlist going, designating all of 2005’s most “meaningful” songs as I went (not necessarily the BEST songs or the newest songs—just ones that have the most vivid memories attached to them)… before disaster struck in April, causing me to lose all the lists I’d created. I’ve been trying to recreate the moods I felt, putting together the songs that got me through the frustrations and dull doldrums of February and March… but the result is not exactly satisfying. I suppose it was just as well. Sadly as I get older, a certain distance separates me from new music, either in that I don’t like the new stuff I hear or I am just not hearing a wide enough array of new stuff for it to make an impression. That said, if I’d had time this year I would have made two or more CDs but time is treacherous…

Fiona Apple—Extraordinary Machine. Finally something new from Fiona. This song was a last minute addition to this compilation and also is dedicated to Krista in Kalamazoo. Through her endless struggles, she remains strong.

50 Foot Wave—Glory Weed. Reminds me of walking around here in Iceland, taking recyclables to the recycle center (that’s right… you have to take it yourself. No such thing as curbside recycle) or taking letters to a public postbox in the bright early morning before the crazy drivers of Reykjavík unleash themselves on the roads. This act, too, is fraught with risk: in the first half of any new year, people still have their fireworks from New Year’s Eve and have no compunction about throwing them into public mailboxes. Just for kicks. For a few weeks, postboxes are locked for this reason. This is inconvenient, but better than having your mail blown to smithereens.

Annie—Chewing Gum. Reminds me first of all of January spent anxiously waiting for immigration-related news, sleeping on my friend Sarah’s couch in Århus. Also conjures memories of seeing the über-Norwegian lineup of Annie and Röyksopp in September with Naomi in Seattle. One of the few fun experiences during that interminably long trip.

Belle and Sebastian—Your Cover’s Blown. Jill dearest Jill, longtime pen pal and confidante, reemerged in my life in 2004, and one of her fantastic mix CDs, including this song, got me through the early part of 2005.

Elvis Costello— Bedlam. No compilation for me is complete without Elvis Costello.

St. Etienne—Lightning Strikes Twice. I include this fab song because it makes me think of my friend Ben, whom I love with my whole heart. I could not really ask for a better friend than him in this world.

Lasse Lindh—Svenska hjärtan. My friend Catharina in Västerås, Sweden sent me a Lasse Lindh EP, and it’s catchy. Catharina has also been a great pen pal in the last two years or so, and I appreciate that.

Crowded House—Don’t Dream It’s Over. The only song people ever recognize from Crowded House (even though they have no idea who performs it). I include it because Crowded House was always one of my favorites, Neil Finn is a songwriting genius and in the memory of drummer, Paul Hester, who committed suicide earlier this year.

Damien Rice—The Blower’s Daughter. This song has a lot of appearances in my life in 2005, first in Denmark when I saw the film Closer with Sarah (in Denmark they assign seats to you in the cinema-ugh) as well as my first trip to Ireland, my jobs interviews in Ireland this year, and looking forward to spending November in DK this year and the fact that Damien Rice’s music is suddenly pervasive in film and television.

Dolly Parton—Love and Learn. My beloved Greg sent me a Dolly CD, and though the entire CD is golden; this song reminds me of my childhood and how much I idolized Dolly then. I even dressed as Dolly for Halloween in 3rd grade. Dolly makes me think of nice things, happy things… dear Greg (relieved he is safe—he had moved to New Orleans right before the hurricane and left just the day before the worst happened; ecstatic that he has found true love). Naturally Dolly makes me think of my dear “husband” Angela as well. With love.

Kings of Convenience—Homesick. This is just one of those pleasant songs. No real associations. More Norwegians!

Piya Tu AB to Aaja— I succumbed to a Bollywood-music obsession while in Seattle in September. I don’t watch Bollywood films at all, but the music somehow evokes the simple joy of eating at Indian restaurants.

Christine Pilzer—Café Crème. Just like the sound of this song. A French 60s pop CD I picked up in Seattle cheaply; Philippe told me it was a “waste of money no matter how much it cost”.

Robyn Hitchcock and the Egyptians—Unsettled. Every time I got in the car, I listened to Globe of Frogs, an out-of-print album for which I only had the cassette. Finally got the CD and … “casserole is friendship.” (Cannot find a link for this song. Dommage.)

George Michael—Faith. Yeah, of course this is not my style. But this is a tribute to my beloved cat Lili who died 15 June 2005. When she was the tiniest kitten, back in 1988, Lili was fascinated by George Michael’s ass flashing across the screen in the “Faith” video and sat fixated for the duration.

The Bolshoi—Away. A song I loved in junior high and rediscovered by accident this year. Just made me smile.

Peter Murphy—Cuts You Up. I tried to describe the evolution of BauhausLove&RocketsPeter Murphy to Sarah’s husband Hilmar; he downloaded this song (Murphy’s one semi-mainstream song) but got a horrible live version. It eventually became “our song”. I thought it would be funny to include it. While Sarah was at work, Hilmar and I spent the afternoons together watching Discovery channel while I cleaned the kitchen and he took care of their baby.

The Verve—Bitter Sweet Symphony. I don’t know why I include this. The sounds are stuck in my head because the song is all over advertising these days. And on repeat on Icelandair’s sound system.

Crowded House—Together Alone. Self-explanatory. Beautiful song… addressing the finality of it all.

The whole thing, minus those songs not available on Spotify.

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