Unsurprising, then, that on the eve of my 25th birthday I sit here with a self-compiled playlist of 25 songs – a symbolic and sentimental snapshot of my years on earth so far:
What can we learn from this collection? Mostly that I have a penchant for the upbeat, harbour a streak of ancestral nationalism, view life through a rather romantic lens, and have a weakness for retro classics. These are the tunes that were on heavy rotation throughout my childhood, adolescence and indeed, have followed me into my twenties.
These are the songs I sang to myself to clear my head and encourage my heart; the songs others sang to me, to remind me that I am loved; the tracks that have me on the dance floor in a flash, or running to my instruments to attempt my own version of their genius. This is the music that lets me time travel to the one-year-old bouncing to Bananarama, the two-year-old flailing to Gypsy Kings, the seven-year-old enthralled by Roy Orbison.
This always seems to come on when I’m driving and cannot do my dance moves justice (or injustice? The judgement is perhaps not mine to make). But on the upside, red lights are now a beacon of freedom for my ready-to-flail limbs.
Helen Shanahan – I Only Hide
This slow-burning piece of country folk is the kind of song I had to listen to five times in a row. Its steady groove and haunting vocals wrestle with the anxiety of performance in the spotlight…a place Shanahan is going to have to get comfortable with if she keeps creating stunners like this one.