This is a hard one because there are too many songs for me to choose from. So to narrow it down I tried to remember the ones that impacted me the most in those decades. The ones where memories would flood my mind as soon as I would hear them.
The 80’s was my decade of birth. It was the decade of scrunchies, leggings, Back To The Future, big ol’ hair that was crimped, curled and accompanied by fat bows. Looking back at photos of myself, I can honestly say that the 80’s was not a flattering decade for anyone.
My first encounter with music was through my parents. My dad would blast the likes of Mozart in the car like he was an Ol’ G listening to Grandmaster Flash and MC Lyte. When he would get tired of the soothing cacophony of violins he then would switch to Giorgos Dalaras who was a Greek singer. What a choice, right? I had no say in the matter. No one was aloud to change his music or turn it down for that matter. So I would sit in the back seat praying that our car rides would be quick. My mom on the other hand would let me change the stations when we were alone in the car and that’s when I stumbled across the Country Music Station. I don’t know why I took a liking to it, but I did. Therefore one of my first ever cassettes was that of The Judds, two sister who went by the names of Wynonna and Naomi.
So the first song I am going to pick that impacted me early on is “Grandpa Tell Me Bout the Good Old Days” by The Judds. A time where I was spreading my reach of music far past that of my Dad’s obsession of Classical and old Greek music. Not looking back, might I add.
As I started entering elementary school though, I quickly found out that country music was not the music of choice in the suburbs of New York and boy did the kids let me know it.
The 90’s was the decade where an explosion of musical choices was being thrust upon me. Where I was able to watch MTV and VH1 to my hearts content. I listened to everything from Greenday, Nirvana, to Whitney Houston (who’s album of The Bodyguard had worn out the repeat button on my Sony waterproof Walkman) to Lauryn Hill, Missy Elliott, Timbaland and Aaliyah. When I heard R&B/Hip Hop for the first time I stopped dead in my tracks and knew that this was the music I was supposed to be listening to. Lauryn Hill’s album ‘The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill’ was awe-inspiring. Her songs ‘Ex-Factor’, ‘I Used to Love Him’ and ‘When It Hurts So Bad’ got me through a lot of tough times. I know all the lyrics to her songs might I add. But when Missy Elliot first came on the scene with her sick lyrics and visually odd yet amazing videos I was sold. I still am sold and I will always be sold, even if I don’t hear a new song of hers ever again.
Before moving to Cyprus I sat for hours recording music videos onto VHS tapes. The reason being is that 1. I was moving to a tiny island at the end of the Mediterranean and 2. They only had 5 TV stations none of which were dedicated to music. So I recorded onto hundreds of cassette and VHS tapes. Because as far as I was concerned my life was officially over and I would never hear another great beat again.
Therefore the song that I am going to choose for the 90’s is going to Missy Elliott with “I Can’t Stand The Rain”…
The 2000’s was the decade of me finishing high school, starting university and learning that life was pretty shitty at times. And that’s where Amy Winehouse comes in. Her second album was able to once again get me through some shit, knowing that I wasn’t alone and that someone else was singing about what I was feeling gave me solace. That’s the beauty of music at the end of the day. To make you feel something. Whether it be to move you into dancing like a maniac or move you to your core.
‘Love is a Losing Game’ by Amy Winehouse is my choice for the 00’s…
Now comes to the most current decade, the 2010’s. This decade saw me reflecting a lot about where I was in life, about where I might be going and about the choices that I have made so far and will make to better my future. As I reminisced about my life I chose songs that reflected my mood. I especially fell in love with old time classics, that of Etta James, Aretha Franklin, Solomon Burke, Little Willie John and Little Esther (Esther Phillips) who’s song “Aged & Mellow” I can play on repeat from now until the end of time.
Since all my song choices in this decade have been old ones it was hard to pick out a current song that has impacted me like the others had, that is, until FKA Twigs came along. This woman is creating songs that are different, where the beat is accompanied by sounds that you would never have imagined working well together. But they do. She made me want to believe in current music again. She made me think about the present and stop reminiscing so much about the past. About the memories of how simple things used to be. So in this decade I have decided to grab life by the balls, to be present and to try and push myself out of my comfort zone. As I see it, sitting around reminiscing can only do so much. It can give you comfort in times of sadness when you want to remember the better moments of one’s life. But it cannot better your life now in the present. So my advice is to always let go of the things that are holding you back. Instead embrace change and listen to music that will impact you in some way. Even if it’s in the smallest of gestures such as a head nod and a smile.
My last song to end off my decades is “Two Weeks” by FKA Twigs.