Life Is Like A Box Of Records today is with Julia Doogan. Musician, artist, all round talented human. Her dry wit and effortless voice has always been a winner for Podcart, she was also the first artist ever to be played on our debut podcast. You can listen to her music including a remix that has had over 1.7 million plays… soundcloud.com/juliaandthedoogans
“If I Was Your Girlfriend” – Prince (Sign O’ The Times)
I don’t think I can put it into words how much I love Prince. I remember when ‘The Most Beautiful Girl In The World’ went to number 1 and being totally mesmerised at 6 years old by this creature on the TV and wondering if he was a girl or a boy. Little did I know, that wasn’t even him at his best. Fast forward to now and Sign O’ The Times (which was released the year I was born) is my favourite of his albums and this song is my favourite off it. I love the angle he takes in the song, looking at the friendships between women compared to being a man in a relationship with a woman.
“Tonight, You Belong To Me” – Steve Martin & Bernadette Peters (The Jerk film 1979)
It’s impossible for me to say I have a favourite song but this is a close contender. The fact that the original was written in 1926 shows that simple little songs are timeless. The Jerk is a bloody great film and I remember watching it for the first time and having to rewind it to watch this song at least five times. As a bit of a romantic deep down, I’m hopeful to find my own Steve Martin one day and we can sing this and I’ll play some trumpet really badly. The Patience and Prudence version is also pretty nice.
“Come Pick Me Up” – Ryan Adams (Heartbreaker)
The artist I own the most music by is Ryan Adams. I find it really difficult to just pick one from him but I think it’s this song. I got into him when I was about 18 and picking up the guitar for the first time and deciding I would be just like him. It never really worked out but he constantly comes out with brilliant albums and I don’t think any artist will take over him in my music collection.
“Asleep” – The Smiths
If you don’t like The Smiths there’s a good chance we can’t be friends. No one writes like Morrissey – even if you hate him, you can’t deny he is a great lyricist and if you do, then we will never be friends. I don’t think I discovered this song until I was about 19 which is pretty shameful but every so often it will come on and it always makes me stop and listen. I think everyone can identify with the lyrics in some way and he manages to capture real feelings in his words.
“Ordinary People” – John Legend
I can’t even say I am a John Legend fan. I have seen footage of him live and know he is a wonderful musician but despite adoring this song, I have never bothered to listen to anything else. This song is all I need. People are always writing about how amazing and wonderful love is but there’s not a lot of songs that seem to capture the reality of love. It’s hard work and I think this song is perfect. I don’t know how a song that’s about being “ordinary” can end up being so beautiful.
“Chicago” – Sufjan Stevens
Another artist I am utterly in love with. I found him when I was in my last year studying music and it was the right time. I was on the cusp of figuring out what kind of music I wanted to do and heard this song. I realised you can use orchestral instruments and they enhance pop music. When I was studying, there was sometimes a sort of “I dont know what to do with you” attitude towards classically trained musicians and I just thought they were wonderful. There was a trumpet player and a flautist on my course and I grabbed them for myself. If it hadn’t been for Sufjan Stevens, I don’t know if I would have had my eyes open to working with orchestral instruments.
“Sound and Vision” – David Bowie
Low is my favourite Bowie album. Bowie is my favourite human being (pre Brit Awards “stay with us, Scotland” faux pas). Apart from being the sexiest man alive, he has written some unbelievable tracks. I was in a club once and although I had had a few pints, the DJ played this and I got emotional. That’s how much I love this song.
“Ex-Factor” – Lauryn Hill
From possibly my favourite album by a female artist, Ex-Factor holds a special place in my heart. Never a fan of the hairbrush microphone in the bedroom, this song was my nightly performance for about a year from age 13 – 14 with the personally favoured deodorant can mic. I have a thing for people who write about love in a real way. Love is not all butterflies and rainbows and this song captures that and it also features my favourite word in the English language: “reciprocity”.
“Volcano” – Damien Rice
O is an album that leaves me speechless every time I listen to it. It sounds just as good now as it did when it came out. I don’t think there is a single weak track on it and although hard to pick a favourite, there is something about this song that stands out. For a start, Lisa Hannigan’s voice is like velvet. I love listening to this song with headphones. It sounds so close, like you’re there in the room with them. The entire song sounds like wood. I don’t know if that makes any sense but it sounds natural, warm and organic. There’s not a lot going on either and it doesn’t miss a thing. It’s perfect. No need for effects or fancy digital instruments. I am a fan of male and female voices together and this, for me, is the ultimate example of acoustic music done right. Plus, there’s a cello.
“Life’s A Bitch” – Nas
I’m not sure any part of what I do musically would ever indicate that I am into Nas but I am. In another life I would love to be a rapper. Not the kind surrounded by cliche women in videos but the kind that writes music like this. There’s not much I can say about this song other than it is cool as fuck and I think Illmatic is a record that anyone into rap should own. Also worth checking out the remix on the 10 year anniversary album.