The Soundtrack of My Life
Music has always played a huge part in my life. It has been my refuge many times and the music I listened to always somehow represented where I stood, who my friends were and how I felt. There is not a day that I don’t listen to music, and one of my favourite things to do is to go to concerts and festivals. It has been difficult to pick only a few songs but if there was a soundtrack of my life, that shows where I stood in my life, music-wise and who I felt I was during a certain time, these ten songs would be definitely on that list.
The Beginnings – Late 80s and early 90s
I guess now it’s time for me to give up“Back for Good” – Take That
I feel it’s time
Got a picture of you beside me
Got your lipstick mark still on your coffee cup
Got a fist of pure emotion
Got a head of shattered dreams
Gotta leave it, gotta leave it all behind now
In my family, we often just listened to the radio. It was always on in the background. But I really loved the times when my mother brought out her old LPs and we listened to some of her favourite music. There were the Rolling Stones, there was Jimi Hendrix, The Doors. So you might say that I got a pretty good introduction to music. I remember jumping around with my mother, moshing and falsely singing along those English lyrics.
But I didn’t want to be like my mother. And my father, who I despised deeply (and still do) used to own a punkrock club in the late 70s in Northern Germany. So instead of listening to the greats of rock and punk, I went into a different direction. Funny enough, my way to rebel against my parents was to listen to modern pop music. I sat down by my radio, a cassette tape in the tape recorder and I would record songs off the radio. The first cassette I ever owned was by the Swedish band Roxette. I had no money so I stole it in our local record store. But it was not Roxette who I think should stand for my weird pop rebel phase.
I became one of those crazed young teen girls who were obsessed with a boyband. The band was Take That, a band from Manchester in England. My first CD I ever owned was when I was 12 years old and it was a Take That CD. I am not really ashamed because they were actually all musicians and most of their music is still bearable today. Gary Barlow and Robbie Williams are huge names in the British music scene.
So I hung out with other fangirls, we listened to music, watched the VHS, we went to the concerts together, we collected everything we could find on them. It was all a way for me to escape from my terrible life. It was this shiny beautiful bubble of pop that we were in. And I loved it. My first concert ever, when I was 13 years old, on March 28th 1995, was a Take That concert. So if there was any band that represents that time of my life, it is definitely Take That. And I choose their song Back For Good because it is the best song they have ever written.
Mid 90s – Britpop and Grunge
I walk through walls“How to disappear completely” – Radiohead
I float down the Liffey
I’m not here
This isn’t happening
I’m not here
I’m not hereIn a little while
I’ll be gone
The moment’s already passed
Yeah it’s gone
And I’m not here
This isn’t happening
I’m not here
The older I got, the more I realized that pop music is pretty lame. Sure, there are some great pop artists out there. But their goal is to entertain. I didn’t want to be entertained. I felt so much inner pain, so much sadness, so much anger, and so much despair. With my background it is not a huge surprise but I didn’t really know why I was feeling that way. I was just very teenage angsty. So I started to look for music that expressed who I was, what I felt, and what I thought of the world. I hung out with punks during those days, with homeless drug addicts and I hated the world.
And there is was: grunge, especially Nirvana! The day Kurt Cobain died, two of my friends tried to kill themselves. It was a huge deal for us 90s kids! I was wearing cord pants, Che Guevara shirts and had long stringy hair. I had a long black cardigan, black eyeliner around my eyes. And hated the world. I went on many protests against nuclear energy, against racism, for LGBTQ rights and animal rights. I think a lot of my political forming happened during that time. As of now, I still stand behind all those things.
During that time I also discovered Britpop, bands like Oasis and Blur, and one of my all time favourites, Radiohead. They showed the middle finger to the bubbly pop establishment and they had a great fuck off attitude. Radiohead were still a bit different. They were more sophisticated, their lyrics were deeper, and they were new and innovative. So I let them stand for that time in my life. I picked the song How To Disappear Completely, one of the saddest songs ever written.
Mid 90s to Late 90s – Turning Goth
why are you doing this to me?“Terrible Lie” – Nine Inch Nails
Am I not living up to what I’m supposed to be?
Why am I seething with this animosity?
(Hey god) I think you owe me a great big apology
I can’t exactly tell you which year I turned goth. It was a gradual process, and I sort of just grew into it. It had definitely to do with the music I listened to during this period of my life. I was rebellious, I felt different. And I wanted to be different. I knew I didn’t fit in with my school mates, I felt alienated from any concept of family, and I was pretty fucked up.
During those times, I was basically drunk and high every day. I have no clue how I managed to go to school and even held down jobs to make some extra money. But I did. I went to a lot of concerts and festivals. My group of friends changed slightly. We listened to a lot of American music, but also modern goth music produced in the 1990s. And I dated quite a lot of people who were into metal music.
Most of the people I hung out with were smart, educated but had given up on the world. There was a huge “No Future”-feeling to everything. I was in highschool at the time, and already felt like I had lost in life. My to go to bands during that time were Marilyn Manson and Nine Inch Nails. Both bands had a “fuck you” – attitude, they were political and loud. Trent Reznor is the better musician, but Marilyn Manson is the better showman. Nine Inch Nails talked more about the despair that I felt, so I am going with a song by them to stand for this time in my life. The song is Terrible Lie.
Late 90s – Goth Rock
I’m in love with you“When Love and Death Embrace” – HIM
And it’s crushing my heart
All i want is you
To take me into your arms
When love and death embrace
I love you
And you’re crushing my heart
I need you
Please take me into your arms
My life didn’t exactly get much better in the late 90s. I still listened to the same music, minus the pop bands from my early days, but I added more and more different bands to my playlists. And I was in a band during this time, too. I was the singer, naturally, haha. It was fun, and we had exactly one gig which we blew because we were off our tits wasted and high. I do not remember anything from that night. There are videos and pictures somewhere though.
I still hung out with the same crowd but we all were starting to grow up. Some went on to university, others like me were still in highschool. Well, when was I actually at school? It is still one of those great mysteries how I managed to graduate. I remember throwing up all over a desk while holding a presentation on Herman Hesse’s Steppenwolf because I was still drunk from the night before.
My style of clothing became more and more goth. I was known as the goth party queen. And gosh, did we party. I spent nights in jail for being disorderly in public. It was a crazy time! And I went to a lot of concerts and traveled throughout Europe for them. One of those bands I saw a lot during those days was HIM, a Finnish goth rock band. I had a huge crush on the singer Ville Valo. The song I pick for this period in my life is When Love and Death Embrace.
Early 2000s – Going Old School
In fear every day, every evening,“Isolation” – Joy Division
He calls her aloud from above,
Carefully watched for a reason,
Painstaking devotion and love,
Surrendered to self preservation,
From others who care for themselves.
A blindness that touches perfection,
But hurts just like anything else.
I graduated from highschool and finally moved out from my parents’ place. I moved in with my younger sister who basically also lived a rock’n’roll lifestyle. And I started university and gained a whole new group of friends. I still went to a bunch of concerts, festivals and clubs. I sometimes djed at local goth events. And I finally could go all the way with my style. I shaved my sides and had an undercut, and wore more daring outfits.
It was fun to be around smart educated people. And I also started to hang out with an older crowd. I was in my early 20s and my best friends were all in their 40s. And they introduced me to a lot of music from the 1980s. Now, don’t get me wrong, I listened to 80s music before, but I never gave it much thought. I learnt a bunch of about the beginnings of the goth scene and listened to some quite obscure music. It was fantastic to discover all these bands that had been around for so long.
My news loves became postpunk, darkwave, wave, new romantic and old school goth. The Cure, Bauhaus, Siouxsie, Specimen, Echo and the Bunnymen. But the one band that impressed me most, and that very much represents this period of my life is Joy Division. I still felt alienated and sad, I didn’t have anywhere I belonged, and I still had no hope for the future. The song that I still listen to lots is Isolation.
Mid 2000s – The Old
Dark star you are the light of my night“Dark Star” – Deine Lakaien
Dark star won’t you be my guide
Dark star why do you run from me
Dark star why don’t you kill me
In 2006 I moved to Sweden. So much in my life changed. I was now in a committed relationship, I was living with my partner. I was far away from all my friends, I had to learn a new language, I dropped out of uni. My life became better in some areas, and worse in others. I was now not drinking or taking drugs as much, as I was with an addict in recovery. And I had to build up a new life.
I managed that pretty well, and after about a year, I had a new circle of friends, I was going to the clubs in Stockholm, I was going to the concerts and festivals. I eventually started university again, and I lived a pretty decent life. But I also missed my friends in Germany, and my life there. While I was hanging out with the old school goth crowd (there are a lot of subgenres in the goth scene!), I also listened to a lot of music that I enjoyed in the late 90s.
One of those bands was Deine Lakaien. They are a German darkwave band, and they are hugely underrated. The singer has an amazing voice, and they have fantastic songs. If a song could stand for that more stable but yet somewhat longing period of my life, it would be Dark Star.
2010 – Everything Fell Apart
Aus schlaflos gelebtem Tagtraum erwacht
So bin ich der Sehnsucht Opfer
Aus kindgelebtem Vertrauen erwacht
So klaffen heute meine Wunden
Das Leben brennt mir von der Seele“Halt Mich” – LaCrimosa
Die Sehnsucht erfüllt nur tapfer ihre Pflicht
Halt mich – mein Leben – halt mich!
2010 was both a fantastic and terrible year for me. I rocked two Bachelor’s Degrees, traveled abroad to concerts and festivals, and I was the healthiest I had ever been. But then, everything fell apart. My mental illnesses took over and I lost everything I had built up for myself. I can not express the pain I have felt, and still feel, for having lost what I had always wanted. Things were reasonably stable for me, I had a safe partner, I had friends, I felt good about myself.
But that late summer and autumn were absolutely dreadful and it all ended with being admitted to the psychiatric unit at a hospital. I remember one moment from this year specifically. One of my best friend, J from Germany, had suddenly died. She was only 29, had two little kids, and had also finally turned her life around. I had just been in a call with her a few days prior, and we had been talking about the next year, and how we would be meeting up at the Wave Gotik Treffen again.
So I had just gotten the news a few hours earlier, and I was in the living room and I was all by myself, And this one song played. It is the song Halt Mich by LaCrimosa, a Swiss gothrock band. I was standing in my living room, trying to remember what I was about to do. And the song played, and just started crying and screaming. I was so filled with grief and pain. I fell down on my knees, held my head between my hands, and I screamed and cried and I just couldn’t do it anymore. A few days later I got admitted to the hospital.
Early 2010s – Holding On to the Old
Caressing bent up to the jug again
With sheaths and pills
Invading all those stills
In a hovel of a bed
I will scream in vain“Dark Entries” – Bauhaus
Oh please miss Lane
Leave me with some pain
Went walking through this city’s neon lights
The next few years were pretty terrible. My whole life changed again and this time I was so deep in the mud, I didn’t see a way out. Many suicide attempts, dozens of times in the hospital. I lost my friends because I was unable to stay in touch and those that reached out, I pushed away. I felt unable to reconnect with who I was and who I had been. Everything was gone.
I tried so hard to get back on my feet, but I failed over and over. I took some more university classes, I worked on my Master’s degree but eventually had to put all that on ice. Basically, I lost years of my life to nothingness. But there was still music. Well, and my cats. But music was one of those things that distracted me and that could still make me feel good.
During those years, I lost who I was. But every now and then, I still managed to do the things that I loved, like going to concerts. And one of those concerts was with Peter Murphy, the singer of Bauhaus. So I want to pick a Bauhaus song for this period of my life, because it was one of the few things I still held onto, and that gave me hope and joy. The song is Dark Entries.
Mid 2010s – Changes
Alone in a room I’ve been in once before
Shapes in the hall, I barricade the door
I’m out on the edge, but I’m not defeated yet
I hear my name above everything else
Mark! Mark! Above everything else
Don’t fall“Don’t Fall” – The Chameleons
We are still in the nothingness period here, but I was doing things that felt meaningful. I lived my life mostly online, because everything in the real world was too much to handle. I got divorced. My very best friend, A, died. I had no one. But I was working as an ambassador in a huge mental health organisation and was helping thousands of people. It stagnated my own growth and I didn’t take care of myself. I was stuck in one room for years, living with my angry ex-husband. I was definitely not doing well, and I got diagnosed with a lot of things, both mental health and physical health wise.
But changes were happening. I started dating and began my kink journey. I met my Master and eventually, in the end of 2018, moved in with him. My life looked up a bit because I was trying harder to function and to focus on the positive. And a lot of positives were happening too. I went to concerts, I went to events, I made new friends. I got married. But I was still struggling, badly.
I listened to many artists and bands that I learnt to love through the years. My highlight was to finally see one of my favourite bands live, The Chameleons (UK). It was fantastic, and I want that sort of lovely feeling of good things still happening to stand for those years, so Don’t Fall by the Chameleons is my pick.
Now – Starting Anew
Forget the image you design
Ignore the colour outside the lines
The doors are closed the lights are off
Locked from the inside
Your head is full like it’s always been
Waiting for the fear to die
It feels like
Feed the fire save your soul“Face Meets Glass” – ACTORS
Burn the liars rake the coals
I am still waiting to get my residency status in Canada. But I feel at home here. I have my Master. I love the city we are living in. 2020 is a pretty shit year for most people, and I can’t say that it is the best year of my life. I am struggling with both my mental and physical health. And I can’t do the things that bring me joy, like going to concerts. But I am also lucky enough to be with someone who tries his best to take care of me. If we get through this pandemic alright, then there might be some tiny possibilities to improve my quality of life.
Music-wise, I am still constantly adding new bands and artists to the list of music that I love. One of those bands is ACTORS, a Canadian postpunk/darkwave band. They shall stand for new beginnings and a new era in my life. Listen to their song Face Meets Glass.
So here you have it, the soundtrack of my life. I could have added many more songs, but I didn’t want to overwhelm you all. And I am sure that Jae Lynn has some awesome prompts coming up that will allow me to share more of the music that has shaped me and that I want the world to know about. If you are interested in the awesome music meme with biweekly prompts, click the banner below!