“What’s your favorite song? The same one as ever?” It seems impossible to give an answer to that question. And it probably is, since we are constantly changing, and our tastes change according to the journey we are on. But there are songs that, for one reason or another, mean more than any other. It’s that way with everybody, and the Light House team, the publisher responsible for the production of Vogue and GQ in Portugal, is no exception to the rule. This is the playlist that you’ll find engraved in our hearts.
Ana Murcho, Features Editor
To think about the song of my life forces me to think about my life, to be aware of it, of everything that has been left behind. That might be – and it is, no shadow of a doubt – a painful, hard exercise, above all because, today, now, I am not the same person that used to hear to Harvest Moon, by Neil Young, Strangers in the Night, by Frank Sinatra, or Absolute Beginners, by David Bowie, in the innocence that those songs had been written for me. I’m writing this and I am no longer that girl, young adult, who would listen on a loop, to La Valse à Mille Temps, by Jacques Brel, Tonight We Fly, by The Divine Comedy, Where The Streets Have No Name, by U2, or Light Years, by Pearl Jam. I am a 39-year-old woman who still has musical preferences she can’t quite specify, because they highly depend on feelings, reflections, sounds, that awake things in me I can’t really explain. Sometimes I wonder: “What soundtrack would I want my funeral to have?” It sounds morbid, I know, but it is a very serious matter. Answer: “I have no idea.” I have repeated the discography of The Beatles until the limit of the impossible, I have abused the melancholy of Portishead while struggling with my existential crisis, I took ownership of Tom Waits booze voice to drown my own dismay and sorrow, I have lost myself in the poetry of Bob Dylan – Make You Feel My Love has to be a part of this non-list, otherwise I would be dishonoring my own heart – and I have found peace with Charles Mingus. Moanin’ is not the song of my life, however, it is the perfect blank compass for this moment between the past and the near future. Until then, I will unwaveringly return to Fistful of Love, by Anthony and the Johnsons, and to Lost Cause, by Beck, as if I was listening to them for the first time. In a parallel universe, maybe I am.
Larissa Marinho, Fashion Editor
I recall many songs that have touched me, and I believe they all did so not necessarily because they were bound to some particular moment in my life, but because, to this day, every time I hear them, they produce in me the same reactions and effects they did when I listened to them for the first time. I believe music should and has the power to provoke deep emotion and touching us in a way that, perhaps, no other type of art is capable of. Music is catharsis to those who make it, play it, or listen to it. And I can say that there are at least four songs that touch my soul. The first one is Postcards From Italy, by Beirut, the second one is Adagietto – 5, from Mahler’s Sinfonia, the third is Drão, by Gilberto Gil, and the forth is Is This Love, by Bob Marley.
Diego Arnés, Features Editor, GQ
A friend of mine, who is a musician, has this very curious expression: “The record of my life of this week” – very curious and very right. One can love music, listen to it since forever, grow up with it, and wake up one day and say: “Ok, look, this is it: this is the record of my life.” Unless they’re a psychopath incapable of having neither feelings nor memory. I am sure that there are studies out there that state that the little producers of feelings and emotions inside our head do their job to the sound of what we listen to, with variable moods depending on what we hear. And someone’s life is not a linear, unchangeable thing, we all have our nuances – not to mention evolutions and regressions. Ultimately, the record of my life has been Kiwanuka, by Michael Kiwanuka. Untitled (Black Is), by SAULT, has also been one of my life’s favorites. When in doubt, I put on Funeral, by Arcade Fire, or one of the first albums by Fleet Foxes. Or something else that will take me back to a past that left its fingerprints all over me. To listen to one of those records is like smelling an old perfume that makes us travel in time. The song of my life is my entire soundtrack all together.
João Oliveira, Art Director
December 1996, four friends, one Opel Corsa, a few tapes on the glovebox, and a huge feeling of excitement over the first trip outside of Portugal. Our Route 66 was set: 550 km until Cádiz, Spain. On the day we left, a very cold and foggy dawn, a few minutes before sunrise, the car packed with suitcases and map in hand, in what looked like a cinematographic scenario, all that was missing was a very important thing, the choice for a song to kickstart that journey. Amongst many bands, such as Nirvana, Pearl Jam, The Smashing Pumpkins, Portished, Tindersticks, we decided the chosen one should be Portuguese. The winner was a mixtape with songs by Sérgio Godinho, and we had never thought that when we put it on the radio, it would never leave, because the lyrics and melody were perfect. We couldn’t stop singing. It became the soundtrack for that unforgettable trip.
Leonor Centeno, Diretor of Special Projects, LightHouse
One of the songs of my life is MMMBop, by Hanson, and the one used in the main theme of Baywatch. My teenage cousins, me and my siblings, absolute babies, would all spend our summer holidays together. My cousins would turn on MTV on the living room where we were playing, and Hanson’s music videos would show up. We grew up with those songs. I remember jumping up and down in my crib listening to MMMBop, without even knowing how to correctly speak Portuguese. On a random summer in the beginning of the 90s, my sister got hurt and was bleeding from her nose. She wouldn’t stop crying, until the first chords of MMMBop came along, and suddenly, she was laughing. Every time I listen to that song, I go back to those amazing summers we spent together and to that time someone asked us if we belonged to a cult because we were all wearing Hanson t-shirts. That was a time when Baywatch was on TV, and me and my siblings, still kids, would watch the episodes. I couldn’t keep up with the subtitles, but I loved the song. More recently, when I went to live alone to Figueira da Foz, the soundtrack that accompanied me was A Casinha e Semente, by Armandinho. Those were very happy, chill years, very much on that reggae vibe. Another song that was part of that time was Chuva, by Mariza, one of the songs I tried to learn on the guitar, and that no matter how hard I tried, nothing came out of it, but it is still one that transports me to those incredibly happy times. When I lived in Angola, the music I would listen to on a loop was Home, by Michael Bublé, while I would draw planes landing in Portugal and counting the days until I could go back. In Madrid, El Anillo, by Jennifer Lopez, Madre Tierra (Oye), by Chayanne, Robarte un Beso, by Carlos Vives and Sebastián Yatra, were songs that me and my housemates would blast while dressing up and doing our makeup before going out. I can’t choose just one song because each life I live has its own soundtrack, and my playlist is a mix of all those moments.
Ismael de Jesus, Video Director
Dropkick Murphys, Kiss Me, I’m Shitfaced. My most listened to song of all time. It came out around the time I bought my first motorcycle and it coincided with when I started going out at night. There was this bar we would go to every night to have a drink and where I met a lot of new people. Fun fact: the bar closed down the day me and most people I met there came to Lisbon to study.
Mariana Matos, Graphic Designer
I’ll start my story with a little confession. I am embarrassed. I went through all my memories, at least the ones I still have in this fish’s brain of mine, to find a song that had touched me without falling into the mundane clichés of juvenile romances. Mission status: failed. Therefore, let’s just stick to the facts here: 2009, high school and Broken-Hearted Girl, by Beyoncé. What more can you ask for… “You're the only one I wish I could forget / The only one I love to not forgive / And though you break my heart / You're the only one”. Now, in retrospective, I realize I might have dealt with a little drama queen situation of my own, but the truth is that for a teenager who was dealing with her first case of a broken heart… coff coff… shattered heart, and singing this song to the top of her lungs while crying a river of tears seemed pretty cathartic to me. If it healed my heart’s wounds? Hmm… maybe. If the following ten years I couldn’t listen to the said song because it reminded me of the past? Surely so.
Marta Castro, Advertisement and Events Manager
I love music and argue that it has the power to influence our life and determine our state of mind. However, I don’t think I have a song or album of my life. At least, not for now. Although they are not my favorite artists, I love to hear Bryan Adams or Bon Jovi, because they always take me back to the car rides I used to take with my grandmother, or the trips from and back to school, singing it all with our full lungs – me and my cousins – Summer of 69, for example, since those were the only tapes that we had on the car. On the opposite extreme, I must confess that Ao Limite Eu Vou, by Nonstop, still makes me want to dance to this day, and perform the whole choreography me and my friends from school would do every day – yes, we took a radio and CD’s to school, every day, and danced during every break!
Paula Bento, Editorial Assistant
We were in 1991, it was my discovery year… I took my driver’s license, I got into the Instituto Superior de Línguas e Amnistração in Lisbon, I started working part-time and… I fell in love, for the first time! There were no cellphones not internet back then, as we have them today… It was a love that fed on letters (we could say “the old-fashioned way”), but also on cinema dates, going to the beach, boat rides to the other side of the river while listening to a whole lot of music from the 80s and 90s. At the time, The Cure were in the peak of their career and the song Love Song surely marked what would become the anthem for that first love. Still today, whenever I hear Love Song, it feels like I’m back in the wonderful 90s.
Rui Matos, Journalist
I can’t recall the last time I was asked to share something this personal. Although today people share everything and anything, to say loud and clear what the song of our life is, is by far, the most personal thing one can share – at least on my case. But since I am willing to give in when it comes to vulnerability, here goes nothing. I took a week to think what the song of my life would be. I reached no conclusion whatsoever. However, I was left between two songs, out of the 147 that I have saved as “favorites” on my Spotify account. The first one is I Want You To Love Me, by the inimitable Fiona Apple. It’s recent, it is little over a year old, but it is, without doubt, the song I have listened to the most these past few months. “And when I go / All my particles disband and disperse / And I’ll be back in the pulse”, Fiona claims assertively. These lines in particular, are a true poetic declaration, where the singer admits she is not afraid of death itself. Just like the north American singer, I too believe that when life here on Earth comes to an end, we will become part of another world, once our molecules come back to nature to constitute other beings. The second one, on the opposite point of this Apple-induced esoterism, there is Madrugada Sem Sono, by Gisela João, a song filled with sadness, sorrow and suffering. In other words, a fado traditionally Portuguese, with guitar solos that send chills down my spine. “Andei dum corpo a outro corpo / Só p’ra me esquecer de ti” and “De madrugada sem sono / Sem luz, nem amor, nem lei / Mordi os brancos lençóis / Tive saudades, chorei.” These lines are the clearest representation of a young 25 years, this kind of boring half-time filled with questions that seem to never end, with failed love affairs that can leave a dent in us, with ginormous idealizations. When I thought about the end of innocence, I thought it would be something like “Santa Claus is not real”, but it’s even more terrifying, it’s intense and not pretty. I left out songs that I hear time and time again in a compulsive loop, but these two, today, are the songs of my life. Tomorrow, that’s another story.
Sara Andrade, Director of New Editorial Projects, LightHouse
I would hardly ever be able, if I ever could, reduce my life to one song, especially because one live encapsulates many lives and all of them have different soundtracks. Mine certainly does. But we can musically label a defining moment: in this case, the first time I ever heard Drive, by Incubus – I caught the music video on MTC (at the time, MTV was still a music channel) -, was a turning point for me in terms of musical taste, style, interests. It might have also been the coincidence of turning 18, but the truth is that this song is still on rotation on my playlists. In fact, this album by the band still plays non-stop on my CD player – that vintage device – on my car. Is there bigger validation than to keep listening to it, more than 20 years later?
Translated from the original, as part of Vogue Portugal's Music Issue, published in june 2021.