From as long as I can remember, I’ve always been into music. My late parents were musical people, and I guess that’s how I became music-dependent. And I can still remember the tunes that were constantly drilled into my skull – Elvis, Johnny Mathis, Matt Monroe, Paul Anka, Engelbert Humperdinck… And remember as well my late parents’ “get together” song – “Misty” by Mr. Mathis.
Of course as I got older, I developed my own taste and fancies. The 80s was the ultimate decade for me. I remember it started with Men At Work, then Michael Jackson and Prince. And when the British New Wave movement begun, I became an instant convert. Wham! and Duran Duran were my favourites, but I didn’t shy away from the likes of Spandau Ballet, Thompson Twins, Tears For Fears, OMD, and solo artistes like Howard Jones and Nik Kershaw.
Along the way, I also discovered hair metal in a big way. So there was a period of time where I was living between a “diskang” and “Mat Rock” existence. Ratt, Cinderella, Def Leppard, Poison, Motley Crue, GNR and of course, Bon Jovi were just some of my faves. And yes, I’m also one the biggest Search fans you’ll ever find.
The 90s then gave me - gave US - the whole grunge juggernaut. I don’t think I have to name any names here…
Anyway, music has been more than mere entertainment for me. My general existence, my moods, have always been influenced by the music that surrounds me. And all the acts I’ve mentioned above have contributed tons of songs that are tagged to significant memories in this life of mine.
And it’s just awesome how I can press play to a particular tune and the sights and even smells of that moment in time will automatically come back to me. Some examples:
- Aha’s “Take On Me” will take me back to my form 3 class when everyone wore leather wristbands and had the Harket haircut. I can still hear the chatter and chaos by the very first keyboard riff
- “Careless Whisper” by George Michael will remind me of this very specific Penang holiday when I had a crush on a distant cousin (hey, it happens ok?)
- I can remember the exact moment when I first heard Nirvana’s “Smells Like Teen Spirit”. It was in a dorm, and I was sitting on a table and listening to the tune on an old boom box while about 15 other guys were having a quick smoke or/and a quick nap in between classes
- Prince’s “When Doves Cry” would remind me of that day I watched the “Purple Rain” movie on the VHS player, and saw Appolonia’s huhus for a few secs before my late mom asked me to look away
- Anything by Michael Learns To Rock will take me back to those days of being a young magistrate in Miri. And as I learned a couple of years back, MLTR is still the biggest thing there since sliced bread
But for these past three, four years, nothing has really stuck or made a significant impact. Well, save for a couple of songs that I wrote lyrics to that got me to Juara Lagu in consecutive years. Apart from those, I’m struggling to “escape” with a good tune that takes me somewhere I need to be which isn’t the present reality.
Even as I’m buying CDs to load up my iPod, I find myself paying for all-time-favourites rather than the best of the new era. And this was the last CD that I bought…
So yeah, it IS kind of a big deal to me that my current soundtrack sucks. And it’s rather ironic that while the past few years have been filled with some of my biggest accomplishments, career-wise, I can’t put together a mix-tape that’ll cheer me up during those rainy days…