Musical memories

You know that feeling when you rediscover an album that you haven’t listened to for years, and not only do you remember how much you love it but also where you were when you loved it the last time? It’s a great feeling, and one I had today when I rediscovered Otra Realidad by Beth.

It’s a Spanish album, which I listened to for the first time when I was living in Madrid. Beth was a contestant on the Spanish version of Pop Idol, called Operación Triunfo. She was the ‘cool’ one; she had dreadlocks and piercings and a slightly husky voice, and she did well but not quite well enough to win. My friend and I used to watch OT with my landlady, who was lovely but generally had no idea what was going on and used to talk incessantly through everything. The show was on Tuesday night, I think, and it used to last hours because Spanish TV had half-hour ad breaks for no reason we could ever figure out.

After the show finished, my friend bought me a copy of Beth’s album – I think partly as a joke, but partly because we both agreed she’d been the best act on the show. And I was surprised at how much I enjoyed it. It’s quite a laid back album (apart from Dime – Tell Me – which was the Spanish Eurovision entry that year. Need I say more?) and she’s got quite a unique, soulful voice. On first listen, I think my favourite track is probably Estás (You are), but that might change after I listen a few more times.

I’m not trying to sell you the album. For one thing, it’s in Spanish, so if you don’t speak that language, it probably won’t mean much to you. The point I’m making is, I have no idea if this is really a good album or if I just love it because of the memories associated with it. When I think of it, I think about living in another country, speaking another language, doing things I never would have dreamed I could do. And that makes me happy 🙂

It always amazes me how music can take you back to a time and place you haven’t thought about for ages, whether that’s a good or a bad thing. I avoided listening to one of the early Elbow albums for a long time, because it reminded me of someone I’d rather forget. On the other hand, Let’s Get Ready to Rhumble by the legends that were PJ & Duncan always makes me smile, not because it was a good song(!) but because it reminds me of being a teenager, and it makes me think of dancing at my friend Cheryl’s wedding a couple of years ago.

So here’s your challenge – dig out an old CD (or cassette tape if you’re as old as me and can find something to play it on!). Have a listen. And enjoy 🙂


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