Our next Life Is Like a Box of Records comes from the new electronica collective DYVR.
They recently released their stunning debut single ‘Half Awake’ via Veta Records and now lead singer Adam Cleaver tells us about his most memorable tracks:
‘Ready Or Not’ – The Fugees
I think I must have been about 8 or 9 years old and a group of us were playing murder in the dark at my friend’s house. My buddy’s older sister was up to do the ‘murdering’ and as she walked into the room she sang this song. It’s the earliest memory I have of being utterly transfixed by music. Something in that melody grabbed me and has never let go because every time I hear it I’m back there in the darkness of my friend’s living room, too scared to breathe in case I got found.
‘Lady Midnight’ – Leonard Cohen
Songs From A Room was the first album I ever bought for myself on vinyl. It was second hand and it was pretty beaten up. I’d always liked Cohen, but when I listened to ‘Lady Midnight’ on that scratchy old vinyl I took music more seriously than I ever had before.
‘Nude’ – Radiohead
I was at college in Richmond and we had a movement session one afternoon. I had been quite obsessed with physical theatre and how music affected even the most basic of movements. There was a part of the session when we were doing some group work to ‘Nude’, and watching the whole room sink into the atmosphere of this song was seriously overwhelming. In Rainbows remains my favourite Radiohead album, and seeing how this song moved a group of people all at once has a lot to do with it.
‘Jolene’ – Ray LaMontagne
I was on a plane from Boston in the US to London and had downloaded a couple of albums for the journey. It was on a friend’s recommendation that I was listening to Ray Lamontagne. About half way through ‘Jolene’ I was in tears and the guy sat next to me put his hand on my shoulder and asked me if I was ok. You should have seen his face when I told him that it was just the song I was listening to!
‘Turn On Me’ – The Shins
The Shins are one of those bands that I never grow tired of and it’s because of songs like this. How so much pain and bitterness can be distilled into beauty, comedy and joy is exactly what makes great pop music. This song was everything that teenage me needed and more.
‘The Way I Feel Inside’ – The Zombies
This one has a bit of a spoiler for anyone who hasn’t seen The Life Aquatic. I remember responding to the moment where Owen Wilson’s character Ned dies so emotionally, and a huge amount of that is to do with this song. The fact that the opening lyrics are about whether or not he should hide his feelings, and literally all you hear is his voice with no instrumentation – nothing there to hide behind – makes this one of most beautiful songs that hits even harder within the context of a brilliant film.
‘Modern Love’ – David Bowie
Where many of these songs are to do with my personal understanding of them, this song is all about a shared experience. It came on at a house party once when I first moved to South London, and the room just erupted. It is now a staple in any playlist that I put together, with good reason.
‘I Just Wasn’t Made For These Times’ – The Beach Boys
So, a lot of people have strong memories of their first listen to Pet Sounds and I am no different. In particular, though, it’s this song. I first listened to Pet Sounds when I left home at 16 or so, under quite difficult circumstances. Hearing this song was like having someone calmly and candidly explain how I felt in a way that I was not equipped to verbalise by myself.
‘After Laughter’ – Wendy Rene
This song was the first one to teach me that not only can a song be affecting enough to move your emotions, it can simultaneously move your body as well. This is one of the most powerful songs I’ve ever heard for both of those reasons.
‘Silver Springs’ – Fleetwood Mac
So, a bit of a heads up is necessary here – I’m kind of riding on the coattails of someone else’s feelings. But every time I listen to this song I experience it vicariously through someone who I know very well, and who loves this song in such a way that I could listen to it as though it were through their ears. That’s powerful stuff, and it has stuck with me.