Each week, we ask music lovers to recount seven songs that have shaped their lives. This week, it's departing TimeOut writer George Fenwick.
Not Gonna Kill You – Angel Olsen
Angel Olsen is my favourite artist and this is the greatest f***ing song of all time. There's an insane, exhilarating energy in the way Angel sings it – it's like she's throwing everything she's got at a lover, a friend, or her future; she wants every emotion to fill her up entirely, no matter the pain that could come with it. At the end, she yells "Baby!" at the top of her voice and it's one of the most extraordinary moments I've heard in a song. It makes me feel so alive; I always feel like I could sprint 100m or do a flip after listening to it.
Nerve and Consequences – Stellar
I've loved Stellar's Mix for as long as I can remember. I remember being 5 and asking Mum to replay songs from it on the CD player we had in the kitchen; being 12 and this being the only album I had on my first MP3 player; travelling at 20 and listening to this album to feel a sense of home. Nerve and Consequences is the most beautiful song on the record. Whenever Boh Runga sings that main hook – "I will get over it, I will get over it" – I can almost feel my troubles slipping away.
Lights – M.I.A.
M.I.A. is the first artist I discovered for myself, separate to recommendations from friends, siblings or parents, and was a formative part of discovering my own music taste. She's the coolest person in the world and her music is so boundary-breaking and unapologetically bold. Matangi is an imperfect album but this track, which is hiding towards the end, is incredible – it's a strangely peaceful palate cleanser after the really bonkers stuff at the start. The beat is gentle but groovy and there's something so magical about the whole thing, particularly the opening lyric: "Lights they bend and jump and always move really fast."
Pink and White – Frank Ocean
2016 was a ridiculously good year for music and it was also one of the best of my life. I was in my final year of university, I was living in a perfect flat with my friends on Mount Eden Rd, and I met a bunch of beautiful new people. I had also just discovered dating apps and would fall in love with every second boy I met. Blonde encapsulates my feelings that year; when I listen I'm reminded of the ridiculous freedom, youth and energy I had. I also think it's hilarious that Beyonce is on this song, uncredited, and she literally says "Take it easy" and sings backing vocals. Like, only Frank could do that.
The Be All and End All - Bic Runga
New Zealand is so lucky to have Bic Runga. She's another artist I always heard around the house growing up but rediscovered as an adult. It's impossible to deny how genius Beautiful Collision is – every single song is amazing. I have a new favourite every second week but it's currently The Be All and End All, which is a gorgeous song about the timid period at the beginning of a relationship – and how if it comes to nothing, it's okay; you'll be all right.
Perfume Genius - Queen
This song represents two things for me. First, 95bFM, where I volunteered for three years. I first heard this song playing on the airwaves in the office there and it always reminds me of the incredible people that make that station thrive. Secondly, this song taught me so much about learning to love being queer. When you grow up gay, society tells you you're an uncomfortable, almost monstrous anomaly. This song is a battle cry against that; it turns hate into power and celebrates queerness as a force of dazzling, unimaginable beauty. It's perfect.
All That – Carly Rae Jepsen
I listened to pop music until I was about 15, when I ran away from it in fear of being seen as too girly. Since finishing high school, I slowly let myself back in and Carly Rae Jepsen's Emotion was a huge part of that. It allowed me to understand just how euphoric pop music can be and how, in particular, it offers queer men a place where beautiful, feminine joy is free from the constraints of masculinity. This song just feels so good – why would anyone want to deprive themselves of that?