Sugar, We're Going Down - Fall Out Boy
If it weren't for this song, I wouldn't be sitting here writing this today. I know it sounds dumb but this song and this band sparked my love of music outside what I'd grown up with and what the Top 40 threw at me. It prompted me to seek out and discover new bands and sounds that made me feel the way this made me feel. Without it, I'd have never made certain friends and would certainly not have developed the same love for music and probably wouldn't have pursued a career in entertainment journalism. Go figure.
Royals - Lorde
The first time I heard this song I was driving around Hamilton and had to pull over to google who it was, because I'd never heard anything quite like it. From then I was hooked. Pure Heroine soundtracked my big OE and connected me to home like nothing else, it also marked a special period of my life with some amazing friends. Plus, I've never felt anything like what I felt when I stood in a field at Coachella - a world away from Hamilton - surrounded by thousands of strangers singing the songs that felt like home.
Ridin' Low - L.A.D. feat. Darvy Traylor
This song was, weirdly, my first introduction to rap and hip-hop, which is kind of a big deal. It's not like it's Tupac or Biggie, I know - but when you're a kid and your super-cool, super-grown-up older cousin likes a song and can rap all the words, you kind of make it your mission in life to learn it too. We spent far too much time practising this rap in Nana's shed - without a clue what we were saying - and once we got it, it was on to the next and suddenly I was learning Eminem (cringe!) and Jay-Z (who I came to via Mariah Carey). Cut to 2020, and hip-hop is one of my favourite genres - second only to pop.
Something to Talk About - Bonnie Raitt
Little-known fact about me: I actually love country music. We grew up on a steady musical diet of "whatever Mum was listening to" and it seeped into my soul. This song was one of the first songs I knew in which a woman was taking control of her sexuality and her narrative and basically giving a giant middle finger to anyone talking s*** about her. That message had power for the raging feminist inside me just waiting to get out. Also - a jam to sing along to.
Wannabe - Spice Girls
Listen, I was a young girl in the 90s. Of course this song is on the list. Catchy-as-hell pop songs + easy-to-learn dance routines + magical music videos + girl power = one hell of a music product and my first fandom. We watched, listened to, bought and recreated every aspect of the Spice Girls we could manage. Weekends were spent dressing up as Spice Girls (I was Sporty, even though I definitely was not) and quoting Spice World: The Movie and my whole life was spent in the pursuit of the perfect platform boot. Oh, the good old days.
Storms Never Last - Dr Hook
This one is special. It's kind of a family song, if that's a thing (it is now). It's one of those songs about going through hard times and it kind of became the way that Mum would tell my sister and I that things would be okay: "Your hand in mine stills the thunder / and you make the sun want to shine." We sing it together whenever we're all home. It was one of the first songs I learned on the guitar and Mum, my brother-in-law and I all played it at my sister's wedding. Cheesy? Maybe. But it's everything.
Good As Hell - Lizzo
Ooh, sis, you know I was never going to make this list without adding Lizzo to it. While all my other songs are hella nostalgic, this one is pretty recent but just as life-changing. Anyone who knows me knows Lizzo is my queen, hero, lord and saviour. Good as Hell was the first song of hers I heard in 2017-ish and since then I've remained two clicks away from proposing marriage to her at all times. Not only is she an amazing singer, she can rap, she can dance, her fashion sense is fire, she's hilarious, she can play the flute, and she's the queen of self-love, body positivity and being your own soulmate. I approach everything in life with the WWLD (What Would Lizzo Do) mindset.