On 11 February 2019 I set myself the challenge of reading 1001 Songs You Must Hear Before You Die by Robert Dimery (ed.) and following the book’s advice to the letter. I’ve previously read 1001 Films… and started 1001 Albums… but felt 1001 Songs… would be a sensible place to start for what I have in mind here.
My challenge is to read about one song per day and listen to it (YouTube and Spotify, I need you tonight!) before sharing my own thoughts. Some songs I will love, others I’ll hate, and I’m sure there will be those that leave me perplexed but listen to them I shall.
I’ll also try, and most likely fail, to pinpoint the best song from the 1001 on offer but I’m nothing if not foolhardy. Instead of one song, I’m predicting I’ll have about 100 favourites by the end and may have to resort to a Top 10 so far to maintain any semblance of sanity.
So long as I post every day (including Christmas) then this challenge should come to an end on Wednesday 8 November 2021. Staying with the Barney Stinson theme I am hoping that the whole experience will prove to be… legendary!
Talk Talk – It’s My Life (1984)
We’re back in the UK today, dear reader, and find ourselves in London. Formed in 1981 Talk Talk were another synth pop band that thrived in the early 1980s but the latter half of the decade was not as kind to them, not that they seemed to mind all that much. When we join the group in 1984 Talk Talk have released their second album entitled – It’s My Life – and 1001 Songs have continued to go with tradition by choosing the title track for our consideration.
It’s My Life sees vocalist Mark Hollis take on a narrator who is in a relationship with a woman but things are not going very well. It sounds like this woman might be seeing someone else and our narrator is beside themselves with this betrayal. On the one hand he thinks about walking away but on the other he continues to work on the relationship, now telling his lover that “it’s my life” and that this current predicament they find themselves in can not continue. He deserves better than this. You wonder if his lover will offer a resolution to make things better but the omens do not seem great.
A classic synth pop track from the 1980s, It’s My Life is one of those songs I have heard hundreds of times but I often forget who the artist is. In the past I have been mixed up with Talking Heads Once in a Lifetime with both bands and song titles being similar, even though the tracks themselves sound completely different. It’s My Life would mark the peak of Talk Talk’s popularity but afterwards they became less commercial and more experimental, much to the chagrin of their record label. By 1991 the group had disbanded with Mark Hollis returning briefly with a solo album in 1998 before retiring from the music business entirely. He died in 2019 at the age of 64 following an illness.
Favourite songs so far:
The Animals – House of the Rising Sun (1964)
Simon & Garfunkel – The Sounds of Silence (1965)
The Doors – The End (1967)
The Beatles – A Day in the Life (1967)
Pink Floyd – Wish You Were Here (1975)
Meat Loaf – Bat Out of Hell (1977)
Queen – Don’t Stop Me Now (1978)
The Police – Message in a Bottle (1979)
Joy Division – Love Will Tear Us Apart (1980)
Ultravox – Vienna (1980)