When listing the most stressful situations a person can go through, near the top of the list you’ll always find “moving house” and surprisingly, “going on holiday”. This seems counter-intuitive, moving to a new home or going travelling are both pleasant things that are usually signs that life is going well. But they do have one thing in common- packing. For whatever reason we just hate putting things in boxes. Still don’t believe me? When were your best Christmases? They were during your childhood weren’t they? And what did you send childhood Christmases doing? Taking things out of boxes.
But all is not lost. Any task, no matter how tough, can be made easy with the application of the right soundtrack. So without further ado, here are five songs that you absolutely need to have on your packing playlist.
Picked primarily for the pun on the word “move” (the lyrics are referring to the way “you” move your body in an attractive fashion, but for our purposes we will assume it is a song about moving house).
However this is a great one to start off with, with a nice slow start that builds into prop fist pumping, jumping the air victory dancing. Moving in time to this could pack half a dozen suitcases and a wall of cardboard boxes before the song has even finished.
Picked primarily because a playlist that doesn’t have some Springsteen in has clearly gone horribly wrong, but this is also a great tune for whether you’re heading away on holiday or to a brand new house. Bruce Springsteen wrote this song as his last ditch attempt to hit the big time, and you really feel that with lyrics like: “Will you walk with me out on the wire, cause baby I’m just a scared and lonely rider… We gotta get out while we’re young, ’cause tramps like us, baby we were born to run.’”
It’s just as evocative whether you’re a young, working class couple trying to get out of a dead-end impoverished town looking for a better life, a singer song writer taking one last shot at making his dreams come true, or just moving to a semi-detached house that’s a little closer to the town centre.
As you get to the later stages of the packing process things are going to get fraught. All the easy stuff, the books, the clothes, the DVDs etc. will already be in their carefully marked boxes, and you’re down to the miscellany, the “Other”, the bits and pieces, and it feels like it’s never going to be finished.
This song is perfect for that point in the packing process, a nice cathartic burst of desperation as you contemplate whether you’d kill a man if it would let you avoid wrapping one more glass in old newspaper.
When it comes to packing there is really only one song you absolutely must of on our playlist, however. If it comes to trying to cram things in a box so that there aren’t any gaps, feeling frustrated that the objects you have to fit into the space allowed, there’s a single tune that will make it all better. That tune is the Korobeiniki, here sung by the Red Army Choir. It is a 19th century Russian folk song, that you may before familiar with as the theme tune to popular Gameboy game, Tetris, where instead of a massive socialist choir, the song is performed by the beepy noises in a handheld game device, making it roughly 1,000 times more catchy.
This then went on the become the 1992 hit single “Tetris” from one-hit-wonder Doctor Spin- otherwise known as Andrew Lloyd Webber. Yes, the guy who sits in the throne during all those musical-theatre based BBC talent shows. My personal favourite version has to be this version from The Pig With The Face of A Boy which tells the entire history of the Soviet Union to the melody of Tetris.
Of course the problem with this is whether you’re packing for an Ibiza holiday, a move to a Cornish semi-detached, or putting it all in Basingstoke self storage, as soon as you get your boxes in a row they’ll disappear…
Sam Wright is a freelance writer who now has the theme tune to Tetris stuck in his head for the rest of the day.