Album: Saturdays, 2001
Justification: My ex-wife never knew this, but this was her song.
It was what was going through my head when I proposed to her, it was the song I’d hum under my breath when we went to sleep, and I slipped a reference to “all the suns and shooting stars could never shine as bright as us” into my beautifully sincere, incredibly hilarious and largely extemporised wedding speech a couple of years later. And given that her default expression could be described as “pensive” or “thoughtful” (or, towards the end, “broadly indifferent”), it did seem like a supernova was born each time she smiled – assuming that you, like myself and evidently songwriter David Challinor, had a tendency to describe things in terms of stellar metaphors.
And that’s understandable. We all think our emotions are of universe-spanning importance, and it makes perfect sense to feel that there is a great cosmic unity from the gravitational dance of vast swirling galaxies through to the similarly-intricate love between two people in perfect synch. We all long for significance, and I know for my part there’s no feeling more precious than being at the centre of someone’s universe.
And every line works: she and I had our own split and reconciliation in the year before I heard this song by the Sydney-based band, giving weight to the brilliant “got some itchy feeling, so we should start from scratch again”. Throw in the big shoegazey chords, the Beach Boys style falsetto and that out-of-nowhere coda, and this song becomes a perfect musical distillation of what made our relationship so right and perfect.
Unfortunately, as it happens, I was woefully mistaken. Our marriage was to crumble a few years down the track, and I was to subsequently have relationships with other extraordinary women and discover that there were songs that perfectly captured my feelings about them as well; and those songs turned out to have similarly little impact on whether we dissolved into a soft-focus future together, stellar metaphors or not.
And to an extent, when I hear this I remember a much younger version of myself, very much in love and with some very, very hard lessons to come. But mainly it reminds me of the supernovae born each time she smiled.
SONG YOU SHOULD HAVE REDISCOVERED THIS TIME IN 2011: Tori Amos was briefly owning the mainstream with ‘Cornflake Girl’.
AND HERE’S THE LAST FIVE…