Friday, September 10, 2010

The soundtrack of my life

I had this gigantic mp3 player - one of the first few generations of mp3 players, I proclaim proudly - from iriver. It is one gigantic piece of awesome, orgasm inducing music device, though it looks like a brick since it's essentially a harddisk. Not as sexy and slim as ipod...gosh, it does not even come with colours (it's only black fonts with blue background). I bought it for nearly 700 bucks for 10 Gb of storage and it's mine, so I loved it very much :)

Recently I brought it out of cold storage to listen to the songs I had inside. Usually I listen to songs by albums, put in the exact sequence as laid out in the album. If the artist and album producers decided that there is some magical rituals in putting the song listings in a particular way, who am I to say it's not? But yesterday, I put it to random shuffling, so instead of listening to albums one by one, I listened to my treasury troves, well, randomly.

I've always thought of producing an album known as my personal soundtrack. It's like the movie sound track of LP's life story. There are certain music that define my existence here on earth. When I was in primary school (the defunct Bedok View Primary school), I was quite into Chinese music. 特别的爱给特别的你 by Sky Wu, 蝴蝶飞呀 by Little Tigers and 红尘有你 by Wang Jie are very representative of what I listen to. I was humming my way into PSLE with these songs as the backdrop or playing hopscotch with these soundtrack. As it was my first foray into the vast universe of songs and pop culture, these songs are very very significant to me.

After that, I went into Maris Stella and had a musically unfruitful 2 years of my life. I was busy adjusting to the new pace of life and didn't have much joy to listen to music. It was the 90s and the beginning of funky hairdo, bold makeup and shoulder padded blouses. And Michael Jackson. I love to buy those big compilation cassette taps and CDs, titled suitably as Mega hit X (where X is a set of integers greater or equals to 1). I was trying to find my musical direction, so I sampled all sorts. There's the very lovely It must have been love by Roxette and (Everything I do) I do it for you by Bryan Adams. I love Bryan Adam's husky voice and his unique way of singing. I practically rushed home to listen to this song in certain periods of my secondary school live. I remembered 'ripping' (if you can call copying songs from cassettes to cassettes ripping) songs into my own personal compilation albums, songs like Paint my love by Michael learns to rock, the very long title by Meatloaf - I'd Do Anything For Love (But I Won't Do That), Soul asylum's Runaway Train and a little bit of Chinese songs. I'd changed my taste from chinese to english songs by secondary school but it'll be a sin to forget about Kit Chan's 喜欢你, 心痛 and 伤心. About the only local Chinese artist I like is Kit Chan. Much more than Stephanie or JJ anyway.

And people wonder why I've a melancholy nature. I supposed years of listening to love songs made me as such. There are 3 classes of love songs - the longing for love (She will be loved by Maroon 5), the joys of being in love (I want to hold your hand by Beatles) and the heartbreaking of love (I will survive by Cake). Each can be sub categorized into more subtle differences, but you get my point. Somehow, I always loved the type 3 class of love songs. So am I melancholy because of love songs, or I listen to love songs hence I became melancholy? I lean towards the latter.

I kept a lot a lot of cassette tapes depicting my secondary school life but sadly those didn't survive. A cruel woman in my home threw them away when I went to army. I remembered being devastated for a quite some time when I cope with the sudden loss of that important part of my life, my memories. How can someone throw other people's memories away? I forgive her but will never forget about it.

I went on to Temasek Junior College and was during the 2 short years, I have only 2 groups of artist that interests me most. Faye Wong and Cranberries. Especially cranberries. Most especially cranberries. I was practically listening to the CDs for most of my life in JC and it is definitely my soundtrack during the 2 years of my life there in TJC. It's my first 'heavy' music - Zombie. Ode to my family is very significant to me because I was humming that during my promos and A'lvls. It has that calming effect on me. Who can forget Linger and Dreams too? I loved this kind of enigmatic voices, so on hindsight, I think Faye Wong is the equivalent chinese verson of that obsession with this particular kind of sound. I bought the very expensive Faye Wong album in JC1 that costs me 30+ bucks at that time. I particularly loved the song 其子, which is the soundtrack of one of the TV movies made by SBC/TCS/Mediacorp (whatever name they call themselves these days, I can't keep track). Actually in the past she used the name Huang Jing Wen, as opposed to the more populist name Faye Wong now. I only bought two albums by her, one is the  天空 album and the other is a canto compilation.

There are little pleasant distractions like 愛相隨 by Emil Chau. It was not until very very much later that I discovered what I really like about music in general. As long as there's a guitar strumming, I would love it. I only knew that much much later in university around 2-3 yrs later. It's interesting to look back though, as I explored the wider universe of music. My classmates are all hot about Zhang Xin Zhe (Jeff Chang), though I'm not. I don't really like high octave male voices, haha :)

I think that marks the real end of my Chinese music era. No more Chinese music from there on...just the occasional songs here and there (I call it a one night stand with that artist). Just love and bye kind of thing.

Out of a philosophical thinking that my life cannot be suitably compressed into one blog post, I decided to blog about my soundtrack from army to the present time in another blog articles. If my soundtrack only lasts one post, it'll be a boring and short movie. Neither do I want it to become a long and draggy Lords of the Rings trilogy (seriously, who ever wants to watch the Return of the King twice? It's so draggggyyyyyy...). Yes, yes, 2 posts should be enough.


AK71 said...

Wah, LP, songs quite ancient but you quite advanced in those days. Got gigantic MP3 player. I was one of the stupid ones buying music CDs! Actually hor, I am still buying music CDs today... :(

Patrick T. said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Patrick T. said...


CD or CDA cannot be compared with MP3. Or rather the other way round.

MP3 can never re-create the accuracy of sounds due to the lossy compression type it uses.

Top reason why I retain my CD+jukebox in my car and use the money to upgrade the speakers instead of upgrading to the newer MP3 players. ;)

AK71 said...


So, due to my ignorance, I am enjoying great sound quality? You have made my day! Thanks! :)

la papillion said...

Hi AK,

Nah...not that advanced. I bought my mp3 player only when I started working. In my secondary school days to JC, I don't even have a walkman. It's just a old hi-fi set/radio that I had...definitely not portable at all. Hence the 'rushing' back home to listen scenario, haha :)

la papillion said...

Hi Pat,

How about if we rip the CD with super high quality, like 320kbps or even higher...would the quality still be lost?

I can hear the difference between a lousy quality and a okay quality mp3, but really can't tell the different between a normal mp3 and a CD quality music. Ears not up to scratch, haha :)

Unicorn78 said...

Oh my gawd! Yes, 特别的爱给特别的你, 蝴蝶飞呀 and 红尘有你, these are the classic songs during our times! Hey, how come suddenly so nostalgic?

la papillion said...

Hi uni,

Well, if you must know, reading a book called High Fidelity by John Hornby should be the cause of that :) It's a great book recommended by Patty and it had become my top 5 best books read now.

It's inspirational enough for me to write this post - something that I thought about for some time but thought better of it (it takes too much time and effort to think through your own soundtrack, try it!).

Think about the songs that define your existence here :)

beary said...

and i realised all the songs you listened to in your yesteryears are all the same as mine.

la papillion said...

Hi beary,

Haha, we're the same generation mah, so of course your songs are also my songs :) We're the silly generation who squat by the longkang at primary school to brush teeth, who chew on the tablet that gives our teeth this red colouring to see plaque, who watches He-man and know what's SBC :)