Vanessa Sirois hales from Atlanta, Georgia. Her musical tastes have come in movements throughout middle school, high school, and after. In middle school she was obsessed with Limp Bizkit and Sublime, and collaged her bedroom walls with song lyrics and Billy Idol posters. In high school she started listening to electronic music. Vanessa has reflected on pivotal moments and nostalgia to drive her top five picks.
#1) “Teardrop” Massive Attack
The first time I heard it, it was like a lightning bolt to my head. And then I knew I was obsessed. And then it just opened up a whole door to UK garage music, really underground stuff at the time over there. Then I started going to raves and listening to breakbeats and jungle and eventually happy hardcore.
Did you wear all the rave stuff?
Oh yeah, I had frikken bracelets and UFO skirts and pants and everything. I would tell my mom I was spending the night at my friend’s house and she would put her portable phone in the bushes outside. So we would drive by and I would get the phone and be like “Okay, we’re in for the night.” It’s like nine-thirty or whatever and then we’d go into town. And it worked every time.
Where did you grow up that had all the raves around?
Atlanta. It was like the end of the rave era, this was like in 2000 I guess.
I will always remember that song and that whole album I could listen to a hundred million times.
#2) “Wide Open Spaces” Dixie Chicks
The second one, I’m going to go with “Wide Open Spaces” by the Dixie Chicks, I mean, who can’t relate to that. I remember being obsessed with them in middle school too. My best friend at the time and I would play Mario Kart and we would either watch CMT and watch the music videos or play it on repeat, the whole album, none stop. And we felt like we just really knew what they were saying but we had never been married or all these problems they sing about, but still, it was one of those things were you really feel like you connect to it even though it’s just teenage angst.
It has a lot of literal meaning too, because I did move out west and stuff like that eventually. But yeah, that’s total teenage girl anthem right there for sure.
Would you say your relationship to the song has changed over time?
Oh yeah, it’s weird, in the beginning when you think you connected to it and you really didn’t and you get older and you laugh about it and you’re like “oh yeah I can relate to it” and then even more and more.
#3) “Me and God” The Avett Brothers
It’s about how you can have your own relationship with whatever higher power it is, and the actual lyric is “me and god don’t need a middle man” so it’s kind of rejecting religion, organized religion. But I’ve just always loved that song because of the message and he just talks about other things that are beautiful like there’s god, or whatever it is you want to call it. I can’t remember some of the other lines right now, but it’s about finding beauty in your own life in your own way. It’s a good song. It’s catchy.
Would it be too personal to ask if you feel particularly religious?
No, it’s always pissed me off. Especially when I was younger, and I felt like I needed to be angry about it for no reason, even though it wasn’t doing anything. Also, my ex-boyfriend, he played guitar and learned all the Avett Brothers songs so he’d play that and it meant something to both of us I guess. So I always think of him too, we dated for four and a half years and it was one of those…reminiscent things.
#4) “Rainbow” Oh Land, remix by An-Ten-Nae
This reminds me of a very specific time when I first moved here, when my best friend moved here and we were partying. That day we did the Battle of the Animas with my ex-boyfriend and we were dressed as tourists and we got shitfaced on the river and as we were driving home after that (well, I wasn’t driving) and we were in the back of my ex-boyfriends 4-Runner with the back window down with our legs sticking out, and we had this song on repeat and we were just being drunk, carefree idiots, having the best time, living in the moment. It also reminds me of being in the desert a lot too, just being super carefree.
Sounds like a good memory.
At the time, the song felt and sounded good because we were living in the moment. But it was also the beginning of the end of some of the relationships in my life and so when I hear that song now, it actually sounds sad or a little bittersweet anyway.
#5) “Mtn. Tune” Trails and Ways
They’re like an Indie, folky kind of band but there also bilingual, so a lot of their other stuff is in Spanish, or sort of Spanglish.
So the song is about climbing, which my husband and I do a lot of. The symbolic relationship of a climber and a belayer is all a huge metaphor for a relationship. My husband and I have dated twice. The first time was five years ago, the second time was a few years ago, and obviously now we’re married, but when we first started dating again we got back into climbing together and then I heard this song and thought, “oh my god it’s so perfect.” So, I love that one, makes me think of my husband.