The Time of His Life

10 November 2016 Doug Wallen

The Time of His Life

When I met my wife 11 years ago, we were surrounded by music: I was DJing at a Halloween party in Philadelphia, in between a stack of friends’ bands. Kate and I liked a lot of the same music – especially bookish indie stuff like M Ward and The Go-Betweens – but there were inevitable differences, as she had grown up in rural Australia and I had come of age in suburban America. But we soon discovered two particular albums we both loved that seemed like fateful flukes.

One is the soundtrack to Dirty Dancing (1987), home to such earnest soft-rock as Eric Carmen’s ‘Hungry Eyes’ and the late actor Patrick Swayze’s ‘She’s Like the Wind’. And of course there’s Bill Medley and Jennifer Warnes’ soaring duet ‘(I’ve Had) The Time of My Life’, freshly repurposed as a meme after the second US presidential debate. But it’s also full of vintage soul like Otis Redding, The Ronettes and The Shirelles, all of whom get a lot of play in our house today.

The other is Twice Removed (1994), the fan-favourite second LP by Canadian quartet Sloan. Gorgeously bridging the gap between noisy alt-rock and sunny classic pop, the album bewitched my wife and I individually during our late teens.

I still have my original cassette copy, which we can play in the car while running our two kids to school or kinder. Sloan are still going strong today – and so are Kate and I. It must be the music.

Doug Wallen is music editor of The Big Issue.