||“Til I Am Myself Again”
Artist: Blue Rodeo
Poignant Lyric: “But the half-finished bottles of inspiration / Lie like ghosts in my room.”
Scene Use: The quintessential — existential — crisis song where one sits, contemplating where they went wrong.
||“The Importance of Being Idle”
Poignant Lyric: “If you give me a minute, a man’s got a limit / I can’t get a life if my heart’s not in it.”
Scene Use: A tune that would go well with post-university discovery. I was trying to get out of a retail job and enter some sort of noble profession.
Artist: the Beatles
Poignant Lyric: “His son is working for the Daily Mail / It’s a steady job, / But he wants to be a paperback writer.”
Scene Use: As a kid, I had notebooks filled with short stories. From my early allegorical tales to the modern day ghosts stories that my haunted mind conjures.
||“Mr. E’s Beautiful Blues”
Artist: the Eels
Poignant Lyric: “The elephant won’t forget / What it’s like inside its cage.”
Scene Use: Much like the film this flick was used in, life in university was a mix-bag. I didn’t know why I was there, but I was. Then there were the hijinks.
||“Broken, Beat and Scarred”
Poignant Lyric: “The dawn, the death, the fight to the final breath / What don’t kill you make you more strong.”
Scene Use: With all my health issues, I’ve grown too calloused.Plus, when this song was out, my aplastic anemia reached it’s worst point.
||“Beg, Steal or Borrow”
Artist: Ray Lamontagne and the Pariah Dogs
Poignant Lyric: “But one of these days it’s gonna be right soon / You’ll find your legs and go and stay gone.”
Scene Use: Perfect for that Lester Bangs moment in Almost Famous, “You’ll meet them all again on their long journey to the middle.”
||“Take It Easy”
Artist: The Eagles
Poignant Lyric: “Lighten up while you still can / Don’t even try to understand / Just find a place to make your stand, and take it easy.”
Scene Use: There are plenty of things that make me agitated or anxious, but for the most part I do take it easy while in public, or in the workplace. Mostly …
Poignant Lyric: “Slip away / To clear your mind / When asked / Who made it show (who made it show) / The truth / He gives into most.”
Scene Use: Much like anyone else, if I let all of my rage out on there would a lot of problems for me. I learned to keep my anger suppressed in my youth.
Artist: Sam Roberts
Poignant Lyric: “Someone else telling you what you’re living for / Been knocking you down, now you’re looking for more.”
Scene Use: I’ve moved a lot to the left when it comes to labour. Still, I dream of doing my own thing and sustaining my family with it.
||“300 MPH Torrential Outpour Blues”
Artist: The White Stripes
Poignant Lyric: “ I’m bringing back ghosts / That are no longer there.”
Scene Use: The questions I had for myself during my vocational pursuits kept haunting me while I worked for the female equivalent of J. Jonah Jameson.
Artist: Modest Mouse
Poignant Lyric: “Bad news comes, don’t you worry even when it lands / Good news will work its way into all them plans.”
Scene Use: The working-in-retail song. I was hawking books at a Chapters in Oshawa back in 2004 when this song had its day.
Artist: Jack Johnson
Poignant Lyric: “Our dreams and they are made out of real things / Like a shoebox of photographs / With sepia-toned loving.”
Scene Use: It’s the first song I dance to with my new wife. Nothing more is needed.
||“A Good Heart”
Artist: Feargal Sharkey
Poignant Lyric: “As I reflect on all my childhood dreams / My ideas of love weren’t as foolish as they seemed.”
Scene Use: I was the nice guy. Throughout high school and university, I was on the receiving end of, “You’re a nice guy, Brian, but I only like you as a friend …”
||“Consoler of the Lonely”
Artist: The Raconteurs
Poignant Lyric: “Light bulbs are getting dim / My interests are starting to wane / I’m told it’s everything a man could want / And I shouldn’t complain.”
Scene Use: People like to whip the creativity out of you. They make comments like, “You’re too creative” and you fight back with more creativity.
||“Mr. Self Destruct”
Artist: Nine Inch Nails
Poignant Lyric: “I am the truth from which you run (and I control you)”
Scene Use: To err is human. To admit you’re wrong is meta. In a world that refuses to admit its wrong, it’s always good to step up rather than aside.
Artist: Lynyrd Skynyrd
Poignant Lyric: “Forget your lust for the rich man’s gold / All that you need is in your soul / And you can do this, oh baby, if you try / All that I want for you, my son, is to be satisfied.”
Scene Use: A reflective moment where I rue the amount of greed that’s in the world and how it keeps others down.
Artist: Butch Walker and the Black Widows
Poignant Lyric: “Once, once in your life / Won’t you do what feels right / Instead of waiting for the next big compromise.”
Scene Use: All you need is a little bit of music. A huge, cathartic release. And a damn good party. Forget about the horseshit and “shake it out tonight”.
Artist: Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers
Poignant Lyric: “Well yeah I might have chased a couple of women around / All it ever got me was down.”
Scene Use: Career. Relationships. They all get you down. But a little bit of patience goes a long way. Break the fourth wall by staring directly in the camera, and slide on the headphones a la John Cusack.
Artist: Nine Inch Nails
Poignant Lyric: “Less concerned / About fitting into the world / Your world, that is / ’cause it doesn’t really matter / Anymore.”
Scene Use: If I could give my blues a theme song, this would probably be it. I’ve been in dark trenches and this seems to encapsulate the feeling. The rage. The apathy.
Artist: Don Henley
Poignant Lyric: “We can do ‘The Innuendo’ / We can dance and sing / When it’s said and done we haven’t told you a thing.”
Scene Use: Quietly scribbling notes in my book. The imagination at work. Puffins being drawn.
||“Around the World”
Artist: Daft Punk
Poignant Lyric: N/A
Scene Use: Prom, 1998. Frosh Week, 1998. The Joker. Toronto. This song is a transition. Shedding high school and taking on the university student mantle.
Artist: Lenny Kravitz
Poignant Lyric: “I’d fly above the trees … To anywhere I please.”
Scene Use: It’s a requirement that at least one of your favourite songs make it to the soundtrack. Why not one that echoes flight and fancy.
Artist: David Essex
Poignant Lyric: “And where do we go from here? / Which is a way that’s clear.”
Scene Use: Let’s start slow. It’s 1981. We’re in a burgundy Monte Carlo. Set the scene driving out west with my folks. A tuxedo cat beside me. I’m two.
Poignant Lyric: “You can tell by the tears / He’s a warrior who cries.”
Scene Use: I used to say “Rock on, supersonic” a lot in my early 20s. So, the fact that these two songs are back-to-back is only logical.
||“Someone Who’s Cool”
Artist: the Odds
Poignant Lyric: “If sympathy’s the answer / I’ll have temporary cancer / But that’s not what I’ll have you believe.”
Scene Use: Outro. Can-Con.