We are the crafters of our life’s own soundtrack. It’s an art we’ve been familiar with since we learned how to bootleg radio music in the 80s. As John Cusack says in High Fidelity, “you’re using someone else’s poetry to express how you feel”. However often, the act of putting together a playlist is for others and rarely for ourselves.
When it comes down to your funeral, wake or party, who’s in charge of your life story’s music? The final tune needn’t be sombre nor emotional, neither one of strings and piano. In New Orleans, a jazz funeral procession takes place to celebrate the life of the deceased. Music is a big part of who we are, periods that influenced and shaped us – so why not craft a soundtrack of your life? It’ll be the soundtrack to which you are remembered, so it’s only right you help choose the songs.
Here’s a few things to help you:
1. It’s an autobiography Remember that song you dedicated to your wife on the second date – the one that eventually became your wedding song? Or the time you went camping and Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believing’” just happened to play on the radio and stuck through the rest of your friendship years. Songs hold memories for others and much as they do for yourself. A musical biography of your life’s most crucial moments. John Mayer may have advised you much about relationships through your teen years as much as the Bee Gees may have been the zeitgeist for your dad’s time.
2. It doesn’t need to be musically-chronological While it makes sense that if you were born in the 60s, your life’s soundtrack may be populated from that era onwards – it doesn’t necessarily mean that you may have not picked up some Neil Armstrong from decades’ past that hold something dear to you. Musical imprints make the most sense during the time you forged a bond to it. Tell the story as it happens.
3. How would you like to be remembered? While a personal playlist is about you, sharing it with your loved ones also means it’s also subject to their personal tastes. Your brother has never understood why you’re a Foo Fighters fan but doesn’t mean you both couldn’t have a proper intellectual debate about it. It’s important to remember that this playlist will be played at your funeral – so negotiating with yourself about the songs that make it to the final cut can go a long way.
4. Thinking about your loved ones Playlists needn’t be only about you. We are also defined by our relationships with those closest to us. You wouldn’t be where you were if your cousin Ben had not given you all that support you needed years ago – so why not choose a song for him? A song each for people who mean something to you and those you know will miss you most. Their song, from you.
5. And when all else fails… Why not have others make you a playlist? When we present a playlist to others, it’s their reflection of us (see above). Think of it as a poetic epitaph. A collective effort of those who loved you, putting together a compilation that chronicles your life story through their eyes. The end result can be rewarding, amusing and equally touching. Create a music draft plan on huunuu and ask people to contribute to it offering their suggestions and stories. You never know what you might learn!