Soundtrack of My Life: Top Ten Songs from the Monkees


Where would I be without the Monkees? Quite possibly dead. Throughout my life, the Monkees have been a source of comfort and laughter even in the darkest of moments. I cringe at the racist and sexist plot points, but there is an anarchy in the humour I appreciate, and the music remains absolutely perfect fifty … More Soundtrack of My Life: Top Ten Songs from the Monkees

“Take chances, make mistakes. That’s how you grow. Pain nourishes your courage. You have to fail in order to practice being brave.”


I watched The Mary Tyler Moore Show long after it had left the air ( the show ended two months before I was born). It was at my maternal grandparents house over one summer. They had Nick At Nite on their cable package. I also watched some of The Dick Van Dyke show while I was there, … More “Take chances, make mistakes. That’s how you grow. Pain nourishes your courage. You have to fail in order to practice being brave.”

Soundtrack of my Life: “The Unicorn” by the Irish Rovers


My Irish side is hidden by my very Danish name. It’s the side of melancholy, lamb stew, and whisky. It’s also the side of black humour, sarcasm, and avoidance. But the Irish side of me is what probably fuels my love of music, as the very first music I remember, aside form what I heard … More Soundtrack of my Life: “The Unicorn” by the Irish Rovers

“I do twenty minutes every time the refrigerator door opens and the light comes on.”


This one really hurts. I can remember the first time I saw Debbie Reynolds. I was five. I was supposed to be in bed, but I had sneaked into my parents bedroom to watch TV while they were in the basement watching their own show. I didn’t know what was on, I didn’t care. I … More “I do twenty minutes every time the refrigerator door opens and the light comes on.”

Soundtrack of my Life: “Hallelujah” by Leonard Cohen… and John Cale… and Jeff Buckley… And Rufus Wainwright… and k.d. lang…


The world is bleak. There has been little of the past few years of my life that has lent itself to hope and optimism, and the one thing I had hope and optimism about backfired spectacularly. This reinforced what I had always been told about myself, both by actual people and what my unending internal … More Soundtrack of my Life: “Hallelujah” by Leonard Cohen… and John Cale… and Jeff Buckley… And Rufus Wainwright… and k.d. lang…

“No Dress Rehearsal. This Is Our Life.”


It’s odd being a Canadian who writes about music. The narrative is completely different from what it would be if I had grown up in the American midwest or in East Anglia. Australians might understand it. Another English-speaking land with its own cultural touchstones, musically. I once heard someone try to explain Powderfinger to an … More “No Dress Rehearsal. This Is Our Life.”

David Bowie -“I’m always amazed that people take what I say seriously. I don’t even take what I am seriously.”


I’m still walking around stunned by the news of David Bowie’s death. I haven’t been able to fully process it.  I’ve tried to write something for days, as shock and sadness propelled me into a bout of insomnia. Words left me. I couldn’t even attempt to put a sentence together. Denial is beginning to turn … More David Bowie -“I’m always amazed that people take what I say seriously. I don’t even take what I am seriously.”

Soundtrack of my Life: “The Ballad of El Goodo” by Big Star/ “Mona With the Children” by Doug Cameron; or The Search for the Absolute Favourite


I get asked time and time again about what my actual all-time favourite song is. This is an impossible question- the answer changes every hour, depending on mood, what I’m listening to, what I’m tired of, what I can remember from day-to-day, who I’m talking to. “In The Midnight Hour”. “Find The River”. “Dancing Queen”. … More Soundtrack of my Life: “The Ballad of El Goodo” by Big Star/ “Mona With the Children” by Doug Cameron; or The Search for the Absolute Favourite

Soundtrack of my Life: “Cornflake Girl” by Tori Amos


1991 was when Tori Amos unleashed Little Earthquakes on to an unsuspecting public. A fiery red-head who could play the piano like it was her bitch, spawned from Debussy and Rachmaninoff and inspired by Zeppelin and Bowie, she unleashed a torrent of feelings on the universe. I will be speaking about songs from Little Earthquakes later- it is … More Soundtrack of my Life: “Cornflake Girl” by Tori Amos

Soundtrack of my Life: “Like A Virgin” by Madonna


This is on the list for one reason and one reason only. Because I used to sing this in the kitchen. My mother found it amusing. My father was horrified. I was seven. Of course, legendary song, it’s Madonna, I’m a girl child from the 1980s. But mostly, it’s because it made my dad crazy. … More Soundtrack of my Life: “Like A Virgin” by Madonna

Soundtrack of my Life: “In Your Eyes” by Peter Gabriel


I remember having a conversation with a guy about Say Anything (my real favourite movie- well, tied with High Fidelity and Love, Actually). He ended up finally ranting and raving ( I don’t remember how it got there), but he finally just exploded. “Fucking Lloyd Dobler ruined everything for us, man. Fucking EVERYTHING!” Well, Lloyd Dobler is sweet and … More Soundtrack of my Life: “In Your Eyes” by Peter Gabriel

Soundtrack of my Life: “Be My Baby” by the Ronettes


Dirty Dancing. That monster hit film with an even bigger soundtrack. For girls my age, it was a somewhat scandalous thing to watch. I mean- PREMARITAL SEX! NAUGHTY ROCK N’ ROLL! ABORTION! It was my parents worse nightmare, and it starred Patrick Swayze, who was one of my first crushes. A guy who could really … More Soundtrack of my Life: “Be My Baby” by the Ronettes

Soundtrack of my Life: “Dedication” by Gowan


I had such a Canadian childhood. Great Dirty World was one of the first albums I really, really, REALLY wanted. I got it for my tenth birthday, this little cassette tape of odd prog rock touches over strong melodies (classically trained pianists unite!). Gowan had a run of success in Canada during the  1980s into … More Soundtrack of my Life: “Dedication” by Gowan

Soundtrack of my Life: “Dancing Queen” by ABBA


“I hate ABBA” was my life’s big lie. I love ABBA. The musician in my soul appreciates just how complex those songs are structurally. Yes, the lyrics are some of the most ridiculous things ever written in the English language, but since English was the bands second (or even third) language, I think maybe we … More Soundtrack of my Life: “Dancing Queen” by ABBA

Soundtrack of my Life: “Two Tribes” by Frankie Goes To Hollywood


I can’t recall much about the show I saw it on – Julian Lennon was playing ” Too Late For Goodbyes”, that I can remember, because I was negotiating with my mother about staying up to watch his performance (full disclosure – I think that Valotte is a great 80s album). But somewhere sometime before that … More Soundtrack of my Life: “Two Tribes” by Frankie Goes To Hollywood

Soundtrack of My Life: “Bullfrogs And Butterflies” by Barry McGuire


I know my music taste is unique, but never anything but totally cool. Yeah, my first album, and the one I played to absolute death, was Bullfrogs and Butterflies. I am sure there are now people out there going “Huh?” Welcome, everyone, to the world of Christian Children’s Music! Before VeggieTales, you had former 60s … More Soundtrack of My Life: “Bullfrogs And Butterflies” by Barry McGuire

Soundtrack of My Life: ” Ticket to Ride” by the Beatles


My mother was twelve in 1963-1964, when Beatlemania was at its height. The Beatles were one of the few bands I remember hearing at all from my parents’ stereo. And this is the first Beatles song I actually remember hearing. The Beatles are of course the be all and end all of music. They bring … More Soundtrack of My Life: ” Ticket to Ride” by the Beatles

Soundtrack of My Life: ” Fun Fun Fun” by the Beach Boys


Another slice of mum’s musical influence on me. The Beach Boys were probably played more often than the Beatles, because I remember the Beach Boy cassettes being brought along on family vacations. Dad would bring the dreaded Johnny Horton. Pet Sounds is a genius piece of art, but the earlier surf tracks hold a charm … More Soundtrack of My Life: ” Fun Fun Fun” by the Beach Boys

Soundtrack of My Life: “Henry The VIII I Am” by Herman’s Hermits


All I am going to say is my late mother would sing this ad nauseam. Herman’s Hermits were a good band. They had some great pop songs. This was not one of them. It’s an irritating mess of childish sing along nonsense. But when I hear it, I can recall standing by my mother in … More Soundtrack of My Life: “Henry The VIII I Am” by Herman’s Hermits

Soundtrack of My Life: “Go Your Own Way” by Fleetwood Mac


Rumours was the number one album the week I was born. I’ve often wondered is that was the reason I loved this therapy session of an album, with its heart-break and  accusations and drug references. But no. I love it for the same reason everyone else does. It’s simply a fantastic album top to bottom. … More Soundtrack of My Life: “Go Your Own Way” by Fleetwood Mac

Soundtrack of My Life: “All I Have To Do Is Dream” by the Everly Brothers


  There is a thing about harmonies. The word alone lends itself to a feeling of communion and joy. After all, we all want to live in harmony.  But the vocal harmonies of a sibling act are a special thing.  The Everly Brothers created some of the finest harmonies in the history of music, their … More Soundtrack of My Life: “All I Have To Do Is Dream” by the Everly Brothers

Soundtrack of My Life: “Never Gonna Dance” by Fred Astaire


This has a two-fold meaning. The top is the dance sequence from the 1936 Astaire-Rogers film Swing Time. To be perfectly blunt- I love every single thing Astaire and Rogers did together, even The Story of Vernon and Irene Castle and Barkleys of Broadway. But Swing Time remains my favourite of their films, if only because … More Soundtrack of My Life: “Never Gonna Dance” by Fred Astaire

Soundtrack of My Life: “The Ballad Of Davy Crockett” by Fess Parker


My dad was (and is) obsessed with the Disney Davy Crockett TV series/butchered films. As a result, I am all too familiar with this song. It’s here to remind me that not all music speaks to your heart. Sometimes you just want to hit the television or stereo with a baseball bat to stop the horror. I’m … More Soundtrack of My Life: “The Ballad Of Davy Crockett” by Fess Parker

Soundtrack of My Life: “An American In Paris” by George Gershwin


My mother loved An American in Paris, the classic Gene Kelly musical with the Gershwin score. My parents’ record collection was heavy on the standards, so the work of Gershwin to this piano player was in the same vaunted highs as the Bach and Mendelssohn I was also required to know. Add the film’s gorgeous Technicolor images … More Soundtrack of My Life: “An American In Paris” by George Gershwin

Lou Reed: 1942-2013


Lou Reed was a notorious asshole. I mean, music writers all have legendary tales about trying to interview Lou Reed. Most of these stories end up with Lou storming off or insulting said writer to the point the writer leaves.  He was a cantankerous bastard. But his being an asshole to music writers was seriously … More Lou Reed: 1942-2013

The Album List: # 196 The Violent Femmes “The Violent Femmes”


The Violent Femmes are another early 1980s band who seemed destined for greatness, and their die-hard fans would claim they succeeded. I, however, felt they would struggle greatly on later records to match their first’s sense of humour and lyrical honestly.  The Violent Femmes are a great band, but nothing they have ever done has … More The Album List: # 196 The Violent Femmes “The Violent Femmes”

ALBUM REVIEW: My Bloody Valentine “mbv”


My Bloody Valentine’s 1991 seminal master work Loveless  is one of my all time favourite albums. The ultimate album of a new genre, the apex of the shoegaze scene, MBV’s second album was exciting and fresh, ground breaking and fearless, even if it was rumoured to almost bankrupt the Creation label. We fans of the British … More ALBUM REVIEW: My Bloody Valentine “mbv”

This Could Be the Saddest Dusk I’ve Ever Seen


It is completely irrational.  They’re only a band. Many other bands I love have broken up. Many of those bands have gotten back together for reunion tours. I didn’t even cry when the Smiths disbanded, when I was a child and more prone to overreaction. But when the news of R.E.M.’s break-up came over my … More This Could Be the Saddest Dusk I’ve Ever Seen


It was just on the edges of town, this plot of land with a white house, surrounded by dense trees. There was a gravel drive, and the cars all parked in a mini parking lot, up against the fence. We kids would run all over, hiding in the trees. Not one inch of that land was … More

Childhood Revisited: Sweet Valley High. Or, I’m an Elizabeth.


There seems to be a Sweet Valley High renaissance going on in the world right now. It all started with the news Diablo Cody would be writing the script for a feature film version, which thrills me to no end. This little nugget of info exploded my world so significantly that I began looking up … More Childhood Revisited: Sweet Valley High. Or, I’m an Elizabeth.