Musical Meditations

I’m sure I speak for a lot of people when I say that I’ve never really got meditation. I knew that other people did it and were able to use it to reach some higher place of quietude. Assuming that I was terrible at it, I stayed away – more out of insecurity than anything else. I envied the enlightened but I believed I would never be one of them.

This belief stuck until the other day when I was listening to ‘A Case of You’ by Joni Mitchell. I can’t even count how many times I’ve listened to that song, but I realised that every time I put it on I’m captivated by it. My body breaks out in tingles and sometimes a little tear collects in the corner of my eye. I can’t listen to it in the background. It seems sacrilege to talk over it. I realised that I’m meditating. I focus on her voice – the feeling of each line and each chord. Rather than getting lost in memories or anxieties, I am pure emotion.

So I’m sharing my contemplation playlist with you. It feels like putting my diary on the internet. Everyone knows the songs that put into music what you know but aren’t able to put into words – these are mine.

Special mentions :

‘I Dreamed A Dream’ with Anne Hathaway

I know what you’re thinking – rogue choice. To be honest when she won the Oscar for Les Mis I was a bit flummoxed. First of all she was in it for like 5 seconds and second of all I actually find her quite annoying. However, this performance is definitely Oscar worthy. It’s live as well which makes it all the more impressive. She doesn’t have a voice that would knock your socks off but she is proof that when it comes to singing emotion is everything. I cri every time.

‘New Ceremony’ by Dry The River

This band was my adolescence and this song in particular accompanied many a teenage moment. “We’re wise beyond our years / But we’re good at bad ideas, my love” is one of my favourite lyrics in history and explains why I related to this song so much in my tender years. Peter Liddle’s voice is heartbreaking and passionate, at times beautiful in its imperfection. A perfect railing against the breakdown of a relationship.

‘The Best Of Times’ by Sage Francis

This song is potentially the greatest gift my sister has ever given me. The first time she played it in the car I remember she told me just to be quiet and really listen to it. I’ve probably listened to it like that a million times since. It’s the song that best describes youth – being so naive yet believing that you see the world more clearly than anyone else. It never made sense to me that everyone revered youth so much when I was growing up. I still think that late youth is the hardest period in our lives and so does Sage Francis: “Don’t listen when they tell you that these are the best years”

This playlist comes with stringent conditions:

1. NEVER put this on as dinner music. People will be creeped out by the intensity and also they are NOT background songs.

2. Headphones / good speakers are a must. Don’t even think about using that speaker you bought on eBay for a fiver.

3. Listen to the songs from start to finish. You might be tempted to skip after you feel like you get the gist but these songs are stories. This isn’t Now That’s What I Call Music.

4. Crying is encouraged. If you’re gonna have a healthy cry, let Johnny Cash be the soundtrack.

Enjoy the mellow tunes!

Much love as always,

Emma

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