Zombie - The Cranberries
I remember going to the Warringah Mall, I must have been 12 or 13, at a time when CD stores were huge. They used to have the top 20 CDs next to each other. I went in not knowing very much about popular music and I just wanted to get the number one CD. I didn't know who The Cranberries were and I didn't know what kind of music I was buying, but I wanted that CD.
I got home and listened to it, and I wasn't sure of it but because it was my first CD I kept listening to it and ended up loving the record. Dolores O'Riordan [vocalist] was an incredible artist. It wasn't until years later until I understood what the video was about. It was just a pop song to me. And I thought it was about actual zombies.
re: Stacks - Bon Iver
I had been through what I would consider as my deepest breakup. It was somebody who I had a very strong bond with. We were never really destined to work out but it really hurt when it ended.
When it happened, I had been listening to Bon Iver and I remember going to see him perform in LA, and just crying through the whole show. That particular song gets me every time. When you go through a breakup, it's very cathartic, you want to hear the song that makes you cry, you want to feel the pain. It's a way to grieve the loss of this person who sustained you.
I've long since recovered from that loss, but I still feel it. Music is so visceral; it takes you there.
Don't stop Me Now - Queen
My parents renovated the house - one of those renovations that went through our whole childhood - and I remember in my parents' living room upstairs all we had in there was a piano. The living room was huge and for years we had no carpet, just the building floor, with the light fixtures hanging out.
There was a little boom box next to the piano that dad would use when we were learning songs. I remember dad had a Queen's Greatest Hits record in his collection and I had this huge space to dance, it was like having my own dance studio. I would put that song on and just go for it. I loved Queen when I was a kid.
Master and Everyone - Bonnie 'Prince' Billy
I had a friendship with someone, we toured together, and it was one of these friendships that was immediate. On tour, it's really exciting when you find a really close friend because that's your home and your life. He was in the support band. I got really close with him really quickly. A lot of sharing of books and music and it was really beautiful. We'd go on road trips, when we were falling asleep we'd read each other poems.
And sometimes, as is the case with friendships between people who have the potential to be attracted to each other, it ended in a way that wasn't nice.
I always just thought of it as a friendship, and after a year or so he revealed that wasn't how he saw things. And, unfortunately, he made the decision that it was not something he wanted to be around. But one of the records he'd given me just before our friendship broke up was Bonnie 'Prince' Billy's Master and Everyone.
Fortunately, we reformed our friendship eight years later - but those years and that record, it hit me hard every time I thought about the specialness of this person and how not alone in the world I had felt when they were with me.
Moondance- Van Morrison
My dad is in a covers band that plays at weddings and parties, so I grew up with Dad rehearsing at the house. I was probably 9 or 10 when my dad said, why don't you jump up and sing a song with us? And to sing a song with them was really a big deal. Dad helped me choose Moondance.
We rehearsed in the garage and they were all very cute and supportive. Mum took me back to the mall to pick out an outfit for the big performance. I wore the most horrendous outfit. I chose a maroon vest with matching maroon culottes and almost like the Seinfeld "pirate shirt" - so it wasn't great, but I thought it looked great because I'd seen it on a mannequin. I didn't have any shoes to wear, so I wore my school shoes with this tragic outfit. All my friends came to watch me perform. It was the first experience of nervousness and I got up and sang in my tiny high-pitched voice. And I just kept doing it, getting up on stage and performing.
* As told to Juliette Sivertsen. Julia Stone's first solo album in eight years, Sixty Summers, is out this Friday.