Has a song ever changed your life? Did you ever wonder why?
Is it a song from your teenage years that blew your mind? A song that helped you discover yourself and your truth perhaps? Or a song that just that just makes you want to dance?
These questions and more are explored in Kieron Gillen and Jamie McKelvie graphic novel Phonogram. Over three story arcs (Rue Britannia, The Singles Club and The Immaterial Girl), Gillen and McKelvie explore how music interacts with our lives as we interact with our friends, our memories and ourselves.
Phonogram explores the impact of genres past, and the memories and people attached to those genres (Rue Britannia), the impact of seeking meaning and emotion in songs that vary wildly between people (The Singles Club), as well as the songs and genres we’ve long since buried, determined to not let them impact the people that we are now (The Immaterial Girl).
The protagonists in Phonogram are dubbed ‘Phonomancers’ – those who can conduct magic based on the music they play for themselves and for others.
We each have songs attached to memories, situations and people that bring us joy, sadness, jubilation or frustration, and sometimes all at once. This itself is Phonomancy – the magical power of music to create emotion and invoke memories. In essence, we are all Phonomancers in our own lives.
As I move closer to 30, I’m finding the need to re-evaluate my life and the choices I’ve made, hoping to find the best future for me and my family.
And so, I’ve decided to try and write a bit of magic with some amateur Phonomancy to try and discover through music my attitudes towards life, the universe and everything.
Over the coming weeks I’ll be creating the ‘Phonogram EP’ – a series of articles detailing some of the most magical songs in my life and how they shape how I see the world.
The tracklisting for the Phonogram EP will be:
Track 1: A Song That Blew My Mind
A track symbolises my headfirst dive into loving music.
Track 2: A Song That Takes You Back In Time
A track that transports me back in time to a key memory.
Track 3: A Curse Song
A track that brings up sad or bad memories.
Track 4: A Song that Show Who I Was/A Song that Shows Who I Became (Medley)
A medley of tracks that show the evolution of my music tastes as I age.
Track 5: A Song That You Heard Long Ago, But Now Makes Sense
A track that you may have liked or heard in the past, that now resonates with renewed vigor.
Track 6: A Song that Makes You Dance for You
A track that makes you want to dance like no one is watching.
Track 7: A Song That Makes You Dance with Others
A track that makes you want to throw your arms around your friends and dance together.
I’ll create a Spotify playlist to keep each track in the same place, and you can see all pieces by following the ‘Phonomancer EP’ tag on this website.
It would be remiss of me not to add a track to set the tone, so I’ll leave it to the characters from Phonogram to help me out. This track is mentioned by nearly every character in the comic, with various levels of meaning being drawn from it when played.
What does this little piece of magic do for you?