The Soundtrack to My Life

I've seen a couple people do this tag, first Holly and then Emma, and while reading both posts I just couldn't stop thinking about what my picks would be if I did this tag - I figured it was a sign to do it (even though I wasn't technically tagged). I've always loved music (who doesn't really, I feel like everyone says that), but I really didn't find what I was into until I was in my late teens. The kind of music I listened to always kind of defined me, and not always in a good way (as in I was sometimes bullied for it). But anyway, here are the songs that most "define" me. I haven't seen a rule where there has to be eight songs, but both posts I've read have eight so I'm sticking to that.

Moon River - Henry Mancini

When I first decided to do this tag, this was the first song I knew I absolutely needed to include. I don't even know why this song means so much to me, but it does. Ever since I first watched Breakfast at Tiffany's and saw Audrey Hepburn singing it on the fire escape, guitar in hand and towel in her hair, I knew it was my absolute all-time favorite song. The instrumental version right at the beginning of the movie when Holly is walking by Tiffany's is equally moving to me - those first few notes just make me weak in the knees. It's so simple and yet so beautiful, able to fill me with joy and yet make me feel like crying at the same time - in the playlist below I'll include both the instrumental version and the version of Audrey Hepburn singing it so you can hear the lyrics (she does a phenomenal job at conveying the longing in the song). I'll probably walk down the aisle to Moon River when I get married instead of the traditional "Here Comes the Bride," and I'm definitely going to get the line, "There's such a lot of world to see," tattooed on me at some point in my life.

Born to Die - Lana del Rey

I was going back and forth on whether or not to include a Lana song, but she was pretty much all I listened to when I was living at school a few years ago so I figured she was pretty important. Although I love Young and Beautiful the most now, back then Born to Die was my most favorite of hers. Despite it being a super depressing song, it reminds me of my happiest year at Smith, when I lived right next door to my closest friend there.

I Am Not a Robot - Marina and the Diamonds

I can't remember when I started listening to Marina and the Diamonds, but I can pinpoint that time as when I started caring less what other people thought of me and just became generally happier. This song was the one that resonated with me the most, as she's speaking to herself saying it's ok to let your feelings out, and that doing so doesn't make you weak. No matter how I'm feeling, if this comes on while I'm driving I will belt it out until my throat is sore, and it feels so good. All of Marina's songs remind me of my sister because to me she really embodies that whole "girl power" attitude - something I really try to emulate more. We really bonded over how much we love Marina and the Diamonds, so that makes me love her music even more.

The Way You Look Tonight - Frank Sinatra

I've got such a soft spot for this era of music. When I realized how obsessed with 1940s musicals I was, I thought, "Hmm, maybe I should try listening to some Frank Sinatra," and I was absolutely blown away. His voice makes me swoon every single time. This was the first song I heard from him that I really fell in love with - I had heard other people sing it before, but his version is just the best. Like him or not, the man can really belt it out.

You Go To My Head - Judy Garland

I should probably have included a Judy Garland song before the Frank Sinatra one, because she is really the one who made me fall in love with all the films and music from the 1940s and 50s. I don't even know where the obsession came from, but starting when I was 14 or 15 she's all I wanted to listen to - she became such a huge part of my life and I wanted to learn and read everything I could about her. Even the more scathing biographies I read couldn't taint the image of her I had in my mind. It was absolutely impossible to pick one song from her because I spent such a large portion of my life listening to every song she ever sang. In the end I went with this live recording from one of her most triumphant moments, her concert at Carnegie Hall in 1961. I've sat and listened to the whole recording of this concert and if you're a fan of hers, you must listen to it - it gives you such an insight into what a talented and lovable performer she was. I absolutely love this song because she forgets the words in the middle but is able to pick right up and keep going. This recording is from more towards the end of her (much too short) life, so I really encourage anyone to look up some of her music from her films in the 40s, too. Her voice is phenomenal and full of emotion at any age, and I just can't pick a favorite time period.

3AM - Matchbox Twenty

This song is important to me because it reminds me of my boyfriend. We are coming up on our 5-year anniversary, and while this isn't "our" song, it's still the one that makes me think of him most. When we hadn't been dating for very long he introduced me to his love of 90s music and especially Matchbox Twenty, and this is just my favorite of all the songs he's made me listen to. He'll probably be embarrassed for me telling you this, but he's really good at singing Matchbox Twenty songs too (he can imitate the Rob Thomas's voice really well), so they've always been my favorite songs to play on road trips and sing along to together. You know those artsy tumblr pictures with the person driving and they're laughing with the sun shining through the window? That's how this song makes me feel (even though it's actually about cancer, oops).

Part of Your World - Jodi Benson

I felt a little silly including this one, but when I was little I was completely hooked on Disney movies. The Little Mermaid was always my favorite, and I could always be heard singing the songs from it, including the short little tune that plays when Ariel's voice is being taken. Even now when I hear this song I want to sing along and think back to being a little girl dancing around my house to this with my mom - if I ever have kids (nope) I'm going to dance around the living room with them and video tape them singing along to Disney songs because I still think back on those times with my mom and they make me so happy.

Into the Mystic - Van Morrison

I haven't known about this song for too long, just about 2 years actually, but it's earned a place close to my heart quickly. When I was making my dad a slideshow for his 50th birthday a couple years ago and asked for songs to include, he mentioned this as one of his favorite songs. In the slideshow, it ended up playing over pictures of him with me when I was a baby, and ever since then this song makes me think of him every time I hear it. That, combined with the warm, comforting sound of the song, instantly makes me happy when I listen to it.

This was such a fun (and challenging!) tag to do, and I encourage anyone that wants to do it, to do it!