In a crucial part of Greta Gerwig’s directorial debut Lady Bird (2017), the titular character (played to perfection by Saoirse Ronan), after having a big fight with her friend Julie (Beanie Feldstein), decides to rekindle the friendship after hearing the song Crash Into Me by Dave Matthews Band on the radio. Crash Into Me was a song that was earlier demonstrated to be important to both characters, and it is this song that reminds Lady Bird of the importance of her friend and that relationship to her.
Songs that evoke strong memories and feelings are often bound by the personal experiences and tastes of those who listen to them, and each piece of music has the potential to be that special song to someone. For me, that didn't occur until I listened to the Weezer song Heart Songs. Heart Songs is about the music that Weezer lead singer Rivers Cuomo holds dear to him, most notably the work of Bruce Springsteen and Nirvana. The concept of heart songs grew on me, so I decided to create my own list of Heart Songs: the tracks that mean something special to me, whether because of their influence on my personal musical taste or for more personal reasons. In this article, I’m going to talk about three heart songs of my own and why they are on my list.
Black Hole Sun
Soundgarden — Superunknown (1994)
This is the song that very much kicked off my musical development. Superunknown was the very first album I purchased, and Black Hole Sun was one of the first songs that made me appreciate what music could evoke. As a nerdy, awkward teenager who had just turned 14, drumming was a major aspect of my life, and when my drum teacher turned me onto the band (along with the much more popular Nirvana), my mind was blown. Black Hole Sun was atmospheric grunge at its finest, and Chris Cornell’s vocals still evoke something from me every time I listen to the track. Needless to say, when Cornell passed last year it left quite a mark on me, as his (and by extension, the band’s) work inspired me to give music a red hot go, which developed into the huge love I have for it today.
Hold Your Breath
Morning Runner — Wilderness Is Paradise Now (2006)
Skip forward four years: I have moved onto university, a three-hour drive from where my family lived at the time. Almost by pure luck, this song would come on in a specific place every time I undertook that long drive to and from the family home. This relaxing, cruising tune would burst through my speakers every time I went along the road from Mount Victoria to Oberon, a long winding stretch of road that weaves in and out of hills, with some breathtaking views. To me, Hold Your Breath is that experience of cruising down those roads, windows down and singing into the wind, feeling like my life is a cheap indie movie and that everything will be alright in the end.
Radical Face — The Family Tree: The Branches (2013)
The Mute, from Radical Face’s second album in the Family Tree Saga, is from the perspective of a child who is mute. His parents don't know how to relate to him or meet his needs, which becomes a strain on their marriage. He leaves home to give his parents "a new life of their own", but also to find someone who will better understand him.
This song has resonated with me strongly since I first heard it in my first year of university. It was at a time where I was often on my own, and learning to live with the issues I have with anxiety and speaking to people for fear of irritating them or thinking they would not understand what I am on about. It’s an issue I still have not gotten past almost five years later, and this song is a welcome, if not depressing, reminder that the experience of social anxiety is one shared by many.
So what songs would be on your list of heart songs? Let us know in the comments, or tweet @CalBehrendt
For my full list of Heart Songs, check out the Spotify playlist below.