By Marco den Ouden
There are a lot of nuances to the subject of starting over. It means different things to different people, depending on their personal circumstances. It can mean escaping from a boring life, a dead end town, an abusive relationship, or drug addiction. But we'll start with a common theme - the idea of spiritual rebirth. This is often symbolised by baptism and evocatively depicted both visually and vocally by the twin sisters known as Ibeyi as they immerse themselves in the River. Haunting. But those born again often are a lively bunch. Gospel music revels in rebirth as a joyous occasion. Lavern Baker shouts to the rafters about how she is Saved. I love the way she rattles off her former sins.
But what if you're not a sinner? What if you've been a goodie two shoes all your life? That might prompt you to rebel against the straight-laced and perhaps stultifying lifestyle you've led. Maybe starting over means sowing your wild oats, shunning conformism and saying What the Hell? As Avril Lavigne does.
Let's look at starting over as an escape from misery. Linkin Park sings of Breaking the Habit. But he is confused. "I don't know what's worth fighting for or why I have to scream." Recent studies show drug addiction is often related to alienation and loneliness. It may be harder to kick than he realises. Shania Twain does’t mince a word. She leaves an abusive relationship vowing she'd "rather die standing than live on my knees begging please". Those Black Eyes, Blue Tears "will never find me now".
A common desire for starting over is just to get away from the drudgery of a dead end job, a dead-end relationship or a dead-end town. Bruce Springsteen sings "Man I ain't getting nowhere living in a dump like this. I wanna change my clothes, my hair, my face. I'll shake this world off my shoulders." But is he just Dancing in the Dark? Camera Obscura sing Let's Get Out of This Country. "Let's hit the road dear friend of mine, wave goodbye to our thankless jobs."
Sometimes starting over needs a little help from friends. Evanescence sings a plea for help. "Call my name and save me from the dark. Save me from the nothing I've become. I've been living a lie. Bring Me to Life." Indeed, the biggest spark of a change, a new beginning to your life, is falling in love. You'll find that sentiment in country, R'n'B and rock. For Bright Eyes, finding his true love makes it the First Day of My Life. For Johnnie Taylor finding true love is a religious experience. I've Been Born Again, he tells his friends. And Jan and Dean sing "I lived a life of misery but things are different now. I Found a Girl."
We'll finish our odyssey of new beginnings with a couple of classy acts from the past. In a spoken word gem that has only one line of singing - at the very end - Sophie Tucker gives a monologue on why Life Begins at Forty. "In the twenties and the thirties you're just an amateur. But after you reach forty, that's when you become a connoisseur. Then it isn't grab and get it and a straight line for the door. You're not hasty, you're tasty, you enjoy things so much more. Life begins at forty and I'm just living all over again."
We leave the last word to ole blue eyes himself. Starting over for Frank Sinatra is just a question of rolling with the punches. Resilience. When life knocks him down, "I just pick myself up and get back in the race." That's Life!
1. River - Ibeyi
2. Saved - Lavern Baker
3. What the Hell - Avril Lavigne
4. Breaking the Habit - Linkin Park
5. Black Eyes, Blue Tears - Shania Twain
6. Dancing in the dark - Bruce Springsteen
7. Let's Get Out of This Country - Camera Obscura
8. Bring Me to Life - Evanescence
9. First day of My Life - Bright Eyes
10. I've Been Born Again - Johnnie Taylor
11. I Found a Girl - Jan and Dean
12. Life Begins at Forty - Sophie Tucker
13. That's Life - Frank Sinatra
1. Brand New Start – Alter Bridge
2. Solsbury Hill – Peter Gabriel
3. Feeling Good – Nina Simone
4. I Can See Clearly Now - Johnny Nash
5. Starting All Over Again – Mel & Tim
6. Pick Yourself Up – Nat King Cole
7. New York, New York – Frank Sinatra
8. Unzip Your Skin – Stranger Cat
9. Let Me Go – Erik Turffaz ft Sophie Hunger
10. Dancing In the Dark – Amy MacDonald
11. Don't Think Twice, It's Alright – Bob Dylan
12. Start Again – Two Door Cinema Club
13. No More Trouble – Sandra Nkake
14. Doctorin' The Tardis – Timelords
15. Going Back To My Roots – Odyssey
16. The Way – Fastball
17. Worthless Lie – Beautiful South
18. Everybody's Talking – Nilsson
19. Every Second Counts – Peter & The Test Tube Babies
20. Too Old To Rock'n'Roll, Too Young To Die – Jethro Tull
21. Beginner – AKB48
Guru's Pick: Lost Boy by Ruth B
Ruth B started out by posting six second covers of song snippets on Vine. One day in November 2014 she posted an original line she wrote. It got immediate positive response with 84,000 likes in a week. She turned it into a full length song, Lost Boy, about an orphan who escapes loneliness and starts a new life with Peter Pan. It got a lot of play on Youtube and led to a record deal. It is getting a lot of airplay in Canada. A haunting and beautiful piece.
These playlists were inspired by readers' song nominations from last week's topic: Share: songs about curves and spheres. The next topic will launch on Thursday at 1pm UK time.
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Fancy a turn behind the pumps at The Song Bar? Care to choose a playlist from songs nominated and write something about it? Then feel free to contact The Song Bar here, or try the usual email address.