It all started with the Doors just today morning. And it’s funny because I don’t listen to the Doors much. I mean except for humming the Jack Black version of “Touch me baby…” from “School of Rock” and the simply beautiful prelude to “Light my Fire” from time to time, I don’t think I know many of their songs. Classic rock aficionados would roll their eyes at me I know, but there, there… if it helps I pledge my loyalty to the Guns and Roses. Forever and for always. But coming back to The Doors, so, today morning, during those amazingly relaxed fifteen minutes just before I have to go out to sit for an exam, (when I know it’s too late to learn anything new anyway, and hence am decidedly thrilled to have a valid reason to close my books) I realized I’ll simply plop and die if I don’t listen to Jack Johnson’s “Banana Pancakes” (R, snigger if you have to….!) that very moment. I’d been singing it inside my head since yesterday night! And just as I was browsing through my music folder I happened to come across the Doors folder (had passed my notice, somehow….a problem of plenty, tsk tsk tsk!) and more specifically the song “Love Her Madly”. And that’s how it all started.
Now I know I keep talking about good smells to the point it becomes annoying. Till the other person says “I know…oh god, I know…!” And if there’s anything more annoying I do, that’s keep talking about music. I mean I can’t count the number of times I have stopped a sentence mid-word because I have the singular desire to belt out a random song, or absent-mindedly kept listening to what the other person is saying before suddenly blurting out “Have you heard this song?” And this blessed song made the whole blank canvas of my mind (before an exam that’s how it is anyway) burst into sparkling colors with the thought of writing about my two favorite things in the world. Good smells and music. However, before I move on, I should say yet again that I’m no perfume expert or anything. I just have a passion for good smells and have some idea as to what they make me feel. And same goes for music. Been called a human jukebox at times, I do admit that my music anthology would make an ideal case study of chaos.
And in case you are still wondering (or you haven’t read my previous post on my perfumes) “Love Her Madly” from Revlon is the perfume I relate to and identify myself with the most.
The first thing that my mind started screaming was “Beatles and Vanilla! Beatles and Vanilla!” And yeah, although vanilla does not fall in the category of traditional smells (the concept of gourmand essences is fairly modern) for me it is always a classic. Just like the Beatles. Or maybe it has to do with the fact that I have “Here comes the sun” as the ringtone in my phone for my parents. And home and vanilla somehow go together. Happiness in sync. I don’t know a single Beatles song which doesn’t take me to some faraway happy land…where I imagine a bright yellow kitchen with sunflowers on a vase on the table, and warm vanilla scent wafting in the air. I get the same feeling when I listen to Billy Joel, too. Except that some of his songs like “Piano Man” and “New York State of Mind” remind me of a crackling fireplace in the same kitchen with the same vanilla scent now kind of mellowed down to being just a humble reminder of the afternoon’s freshly baked cookies. And although in no way a contemporary, Jack Johnson’s music has the same effect on me. Maybe a little more potent, since I get hints of melting slightly burning chocolate along with vanilla when I hear his music. Or maybe it’s the whole dessert I can smell….like strawberries in cream, when I hear songs like “Belle” (simply love the way it opens….!) and “Do you Remember” and lemon tarts when I hear “Dreams be Dreams” and “Good people”.
Enough of gourmand smells. Made me hungry, writing this. Moving on to rock, don’t ask me why, but rock reminds me of woody notes. Or maybe a mixture of tobacco, wood and leather. Maybe it has got to do with some weird idea I have of the way people smell after coming back from an all night rock-show (have never been to one, unfortunately). And here, for obvious reasons, I am choosing to ignore the stale booze and smoke aftereffects. So whenever I hear Nirvana’s “Smells like teen spirit” or Guns and Roses’ “Sweet Child of Mine”, its dry wood topped with leather I smell, and when I listen to Coldplay’s “Life in Technicolor” or “Strawberry Swing” it’s some kind of oriental wood (a mixture of sandalwood and patchouli) I smell. And for some reason, Pearl Jam’s “Last kiss” reminds me of mossy wood….the way it smells after its been raining and raining for hours, and the crushed herbs and grass harmonize with the wood to give out a moist pleasant fragrance.
Now Incubus reminds me of musk. I love the mind-blowing acoustics, and the way they make me feel energized each time I need an instant pick me up. “Consequences”, “1984 or Talk shows on mute” and “Oil and Water”….all of them fill my heart with strong superbly male smells, and somehow instead of making me think of a man they make me feel liberated. System of a Down takes it a notch higher. Put in all of the above, tobacco, leather, musk and loads and loads of thick smoke from burning ounces of sandalwood, and that’s what SOAD reminds me of. My all time anger buster. “Hypnotize” and “Toxicity” on repeat is the key to a calmer me each time I get hysterical about anything at all.
If rock reminds me of woody notes, then rap and hip-hop would be a peculiar blend of aquatic and woody notes, blended with a little citrus. That’s Black Eyed Peas for you. Or Jay-Z’s “Hova Song” and “Big Pimpin”. Or Will Smith’s “Switch”, or “Party Starter” (with Ludacris). Or maybe Justin Timberlake’s “What goes around…comes around”. Oh well you get the point. These are songs which make me exceptionally happy within no time, and the sudden bursts of eclectic enthusiasm I feel is like crisp aquatic notes laced with citrus being infused in my whole system. The woody notes obviously come from the heavy bass and the “boom-boom” that I feel in my heart along with these awesome beats.
I now venture into softer and more soothing terrain, both for the ears and the nose. And here I’ll club in Brad Paisley (absolute chocolate to the ears….sigh!), Michael Buble, Damien Rice, James Morrison, Colin Hay and (latest addition) Paolo Nutini. Now when these people croon in my ears, the first thing that comes to my mind is coffee….freshly crushed coffee beans along with cinnamon. Or at times sweet crushed berries… All I know is when I hear them I can’t help but let out a sigh…and surrender. Same goes for the lady counterparts, Alison Krauss, Amy Winehouse, Tracy Chapman and (latest addition again) Adele. Their music reminds me of old lavender and crushed roses….with a hint of “green” notes like cucumber and green leaf and cut grass. Specially Amy Winehouse’s “Love is a losing game” is just so lavender and green at the same time. Duffy would also get mention here, except that “Warwick Avenue” is the only song that makes me feel like this.
And how I can help being a typical “girl” girl here too…. When I think pink, when I think floral, and when I think fruit, all that comes to my mind are Dido and Shania Twain and the Corrs (went through that long phase once upon a time) and off late Taylor Swift and Sara Bareilles. If Dido’s music would have to a perfume I think it would be a single floral note, dominated by scent from a single flower. Not to be tampered with by mixing anything else. Maybe that’s the reason all her songs make me feel the same way, be it “Here With Me”, or “This Land is Mine” or “Closer”, or the latest “For one day”. And Shania Twain and the Corrs would be floral bouquets, with an explosion of cheery notes coming to my mind each time they start singing…. Taylor Swift and Sara Bareilles remind me of a blend of fruity and floral notes, like a concoction of pineapples, mangoes along with crushed petals of roses and sometimes a hint of jasmine as well. Weird, I know. But it’s the kind of music that I can’t keep listening to for long. For the while that I do, I am all cheery and chirpy, much like the happy blend of harmonious notes, but after a while it gets sickly sweet.
Am actually slightly getting tired of this exhausting list by now, but I have to mention here some music that reminds me of synthetic perfumes…which are good, at times outright mind-blowing, but well, not exactly natural. And maybe no matter how much they make you feel good, you always know that they have this “plastic”y feel to them. I am talking about Owl City and Goldfrapp and the Yeah Yeah Yeah’s and KT Tunstall here. Or the whole Top UK 40 singles fortnightly compilation that I dedicatedly download every month. Its not even like Goldfrapp and Yeah Yeah Yeah’s use too much techno music (unlike Owl City), and yet somehow, I can’t really relate to them that way. They remind me of smells that are made by burning chemicals, instantaneous. The ones which don’t have to go through the whole patient process of extraction and distillation.
And lastly for reasons even I don’t know, I would consider U2 to be a whole new perfume in itself. This now would be a perfume that would have my favorite smells, blended to give that one perfect fragrance that is totally me. So I don’t care if they smell good together, but I would put in peach, and some aqua notes, and a little bit of coffee, some hint of roses and also splashes of musk. Because that’s what U2 does to me. I don’t know why each time I hear “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For” all I can say is “Wow….this is so me”. And maybe when I think of myself too, all I can think of is a blend of notes which might not really go together, but still are in sync. And happy too.