MUSIC

 

To everyone involved in the soundtrack of my life,

 

I firmly believe that I owe my 23 years of existence to these musicians. I salute them now to express my gratitude and love for the melodies they have created.

This is the music that I became. 


Birthday

The day I came into planet Earth, conveniently at 3:15 in the afternoon, this was playing on the radio while family members and my parents' friends drove to gather around newborn me at the hospital. 

Cream - Prince

Cream by Prince is an interesting mix of soulful freshness, nineties beats and a glittery sort of aura, similar to my own existence. 

A song to learn how to speak to

Still in diaper stage, Arepita de Manteca was one of the first songs my parents taught me seeking to acclimate me with singing, clapping and the early pronounciation or babbling of words (mainly 'papá' = father and 'mamá' = mother). 

Arepita de Manteca - Unknown

This interpretation by a dad accompanied by his dancing diaper-clad toddler certainly does the song justice. He performs the tune a capella in a private father-son show, which is odd to me because mothers are the more involved parent in the teaching of this song, as the lyrics go: "Arepita de manteca pa' mamá que da la teta, arepita de cebada pa' papá que no da nada".

It describes a traditionally venezuelan dish -'arepa'- in two versions: one for dad (made out of the wrong ingredient, presumably something you wouldn't want to eat) and one for mom (made out of the right ingredient, which is my favourite breakfast-lunch-and/or-dinner platter). The reason the dad gets blown off: mom is the main source of food for the baby and dad... is not.  

My first dance

A la la long - Inner Circle

A la la long would commonly play in the living room of my childhood home during 1993-4, while I started to bust out my first uncoordinated dance moves. The "conga, conga, me gusta la milonga" song was another one of my favorites and I used to sing it to my loved ones (and select strangers as well, my mother says). 

This beachy tune still fascinates me and my choreogropahy for it is probably the same as it was twenty+ years ago. 

The music I listened to when I was seven

My parents' taste in music found its way into mine because, for obvious reasons, in their cars they had total control over what they played. This is how I came to listen to The Beatles, The Beegees and, of course, The Police. 

Message In A Bottle - The Police

But, when I had the power (mostly during family lunches where adults talked loudly and all the other kids were learning to walk) I would sit in front of the safebox and DJ the day away. Juan Luis Guerra's Ni es lo mismo ni es igual was all I was interested in for a long time. I'd play this album on repeat not caring if people started to leave when I hit round number 9. 

Mi PC - Juan Luis Guerra

Common truth: people can actually listen to this eight times in a row without getting tired of it. It's simply that good. When I was feeling less of a musical dictator I also alternated with Bachata Rosa by Juan Luis y 440. 

An encounter with the classics

My hungarian grandmother, or Memé as I call her, introduced me to one of my life-long loves: live performance. Although we switched between theater, musicals, ballet and flamenco shows, orchestras were our favorite.  By the time I was ten, my ears were trained to hours of Chopin, Beethoven, Bach, Mozart and Vivaldi's Four Seasons -particularly Spring, which coincidentally is the season I look forward to the most every year. 

Spring - Antonio Vivaldi

Memé's favorite activity was to go about her homely duties of cooking and cleaning while playing classical music to max. volume, so that we did.

My teen age

Boy bands were unsurprisingly my choice of obsession during the early 00's. Backstreet Boys and NSync did not battle in my world, they were of equal importance to me and my discman. Same applies to the great Britney Spears, Christina Aguilera, Paulina Rubio and Spice Girls. All my particular heroes at the time. Anthems of my acne&bracket youth were as follows:

Mmmbop - Hanson

I remain undecided as to which Hanson brother I want as a boyfriend. Yes, I feel confident enough to choose one. Better yet, I'll say I feel confident enough to choose them all. 

Wannabe - Spice Girls

A classic. Lyrics are still current. "If you wanna be my lover you gotta get with my friends". Ziggazigga. 

Missundaztood - Pink

As the feeling of being misunderstood has been a constant in my life ever since I gained consciousness, this is still a song (and album) I love. 

The Real Slim Shady - Eminem

Now don't be fooled by my looks, I am a rapper at heart. 

Independent Women Pt. 1 - Destiny's Child

I am also the biggest Destiny's Child nerd I know. I strongly recommend their discography to anyone who believes in: girl power, music and the godess status of Beyoncé. 

All The Small Things - Blink 182

At thirteen years old, the now defunct MTV of the year 2000 introduced me to the wonders of Blink 182. 

The latin equivalent of the aforementioned

Growing up in Caracas, Venezuela, my body naturally danced to latin rythms. This is not to say I did it well, it just means that I also enjoyed music in my mother language. The following is a very minimal list of greatest latinamerican hits:

Ciega, sordomuda - Shakira

Shakira was not only my idol in terms of songwriting but also the fashion icon I strived to mimic. Purpose not achieved. 

La Vecina - Los Amigos Invisibles

La Vecina is burnt into my memory because it was the song that played when I walked the improvised catwalk my school built for the Reina del Carnaval competition I was forced into in the first grade. Having been picked by my fellow firstgraders as their candidate for the title of Prettiest Girl in School, this was an event I could not get out of. Sadly, I only remained prettiest girl of the first grade, failing to win the coveted trophy. Note: Ponerte en Cuatro is by far my favorite track by Los Amigos Invisibles.

Procura - Chichi Peralta

The greatness of Chichi Peralta cannot be put into words. Also, this song played while I kissed my first "boyfriend" at a dance party held in the ground floor of one of my friends' building. We secretly smooched in the parking lot between two minivans. 

Las Estrellas - Caramelos de Cianuro

Caramelos de Cianuro (spanish for cyanide candy) was one of my favorite bands as a teenager. Verónica, Sanitarios, El Flaco or La Terraza could have easily made it into this list. 

De Sol A Sol - Salserín

Particularly impossible to forget, of course, is Salserin's De Sol a Sol. With a game-changing audiovisual interpretation, the salsa ensemble took my heart. 

Azúcar Amargo - Fey

Bandanas for my wrists and silver nail polish were main necessities during my teenage years. Also, watching these music videos came with an irreplaceable snack: Froot Loops. I'm still not over any of these things.  

The transitional years: Adolescence

To this day, my heart lets me know from time to time that pop music influenced my life as I still live in a constant yearning of sweet melodies that make me want to dance. But, of course, not long after I got to high school I was 'so over' the whole pop scene and suddenly into some other stuff I explored in the eighth grade. 

Snow (Hey Oh) - Red Hot Chili Peppers

Still absolutely smitten by John Frusciante.

What I Got - Sublime

I got into Sublime a little bit late in the game, but they changed my life forever. I love the lyrics to What I Got, but my all-time favorite by them is Date Rape, the perfect fusion of song and joke. 

Feel Good Inc. - Gorillaz

I didn't necessarily understand Gorillaz when I first got into their music, but I loved the way it sounded and I have ever since. 

The New Workout Plan - Kanye West

Ten years later, I'm still working out to this song in order to get a six-pack-Shakur and achieve what Ella-May from Mobile, Alabama got with a strict following Kanye's Workout Plan, which consists solely of eating yo salad, no dessert. 

Fix You - Coldplay

I would get particularly emotional to this song and, of course, scribble its lyrics all over my notebooks. "Lights will guide you home and ignite your bones and I will fix you".

Such Great Heights - The Postal Service

Once I discovered The Postal Service, there was no turning back. I was forever in love with indie music. 

Crash Into Me - Dave Matthews Band

It comes as a surprise to absolutely no one who knows me that this is the song I wished to play while making out with my boyfriend(s) up until... No, this is still true, actually. 

"Maturing", if that is what you would call being 18 and a know-it-all

Basically, the music that would play in my car on my way to college and the songs my friends played in house parties.

Silvia - Miike Snow

I always feel dumbfounded when I think of my borderline psychotic obsession with this track by Miike Snow. I clearly remember, and my friends will too, that I played it on loop for an entire week. It was a brief phase, but I couldn't listen to anything else. 

Stop This Train - John Mayer

I guess growing up is hard on everyone, as this John Mayer coming-of-age tune evidences. 

Perfect Symmetry - Keane

A perfect song, band and album I continue to worship. I'll never get over the utterly lung-demanding "wrap yourself around me" bit toward the end.

La trama y El Desenlace - Jorge Drexler

As I fell in love for the first time, this album played incessantly in my iPod. It was the first one that I got some real life lessons out of. "Loving the plot more than the outcome" is self-help 101 and a guide to romance in and of itself (if you don't speak spanish, please do access this song's lyrics translated to english).

For me, Drexler is the ultimate king of words. For anyone who wants to prove this, all of his albums certainly avail the title. For a brief introduction to his music, listen to Todo se transforma, probably one of the best songs ever written. Its absolute roundness still amazes me.

Helplessness Blues - Fleet Foxes

This is probably one of my most played albums ever. Helplessness Blues, story of my life. This is the go-to record for pain-soothing in my book. 

Can't make you love me / Nick of time - Bon Iver

Growing up finally stopped being painful and started getting interesting for me when Justin Vernon released his music to the world. It teaches about speaking out your truth even if it hurts in length. This was the soundtrack to me getting to understand myself.

Present day

At 23 years old, I have become my own best friend, I know my taste in music better than ever and I seek to enjoy life in its full potential while listening to music that is actually plain old art. Hence: 

11 y 6 - Fito Páez

This concert, that happened in 2008 without me noticing, is my favorite rendition of Fito songs by Fito and some of his friends. The piano arrangement of 11 y 6 for this performance, though, is the grandest thing I've heard in years. Long live Fito Páez, the absolute master of melodies. 

Time Will Tell - Blood Orange

No one at the moment can beat Dev Hynes in terms of musical geniusness, being that he is a dancer/composer/songwriter/fashionicon/heartthrob. 

No Más Llorar - Natalia Lafourcade

The latest release by Natalia Lafourcade defines my today. I particularly enjoy these videos in which she explains her songwriting process. No Más Llorar, as she explains herself is "a hymn for the search of well-being" and the album is "a universe full of beautiful colors, places and melodies". Her songs inspired my letter to the moon from Day#16

Fake Empire - The National

I only recently came to know and love this band. Boxer, High Violet and Trouble Will Find Me are all incredibly perfect albums. Listening to Fake Empire live in Madrid last summer was one of the highlights of my existence. Proof of this can be found in one of the many notes on my cellphone, titled with the surprised cat emoji and containing only two words: 'Fake' and 'Empire'. Full. Body. Chills.

Girl - Jamie xx

Jamie xx thrills me like no other DJ does, which explains his special place in my heart and feature on this list. I wish to be able to one day presence his music in person. 

Sexual Healing - The Hot 8 Brass Band

This brass cover of Marvin Gaye's Sexual Healing just gets me going and puts a smile on my face to properly embrace the day, wether it's sunny or cloudy outside. 

Grown Woman - Beyoncé

But only The Queen manages to culminate the soundtrack to my life as of today with an encore appearance. Her solo career has been even more brilliant than her girl-band-leader days, which is something I cannot quite comprehend as this much artistry is beyond my understanding. All Hail Beyoncé, 'cause she's a grrrrooown woman, and I will be one too someday (soon, hopefully). 


To every single person that played a part in the composition, writing, production, recording, distribution, success and popularity of these songs that have made me me, thank you. 

 
Hello Papersoul