Love Letter To A Record: Hen On The Corrs’ ‘Forgiven, Not Forgotten’

Many of us can link a certain album to pivotal moments in our lives. Whether it’s the first record you bought with your own money, the chord you first learnt to play on guitar, the song that soundtracked your first kiss, the album that got you those awkward and painful pubescent years or the one that set off light bulbs in your brain and inspired you to take a big leap of faith into the unknown – music is often the catalyst for change in our lives and can even help shape who we become.

In this series, Music Feeds asks artists to reflect on their relationship with music and share with us stories about the effect music has had on their lives.

Here are their love letters to records that forever changed their lives.

Hen To The Corrs’ Forgiven, Not Forgotten

Dear Forgiven, Not Forgotten,

I saw you in the local petrol station. You were sitting on the counter, your dusty cassette case and $2 price tag hiding the truth of your worth. I was 14 and you were 11 but we became fast friends. My birthday present, a flashy CD and tape player was your constant home for a year. Every morning we would repeat our routine, I would wake up and set you playing straight away so that my hour long morning routine could include the entirety of your 49 minute run time before I had to leave for school. I’d sing along in front of the mirror, learning your harmonies and pretending

I understood the complexities of love you seemed to explain so well. Some mornings I would play only your instrumental tracks, dancing frantically to the celtic melodies and fashioning myself as some kind of fantastic Irish dancer (I was not). Other mornings I played only your most pop-driven tracks, acting out the emotions behind your words like I was about to win an Oscar for best actress in a music video (I don’t think that’s a real category). My hairbrush did very little hair brushing and worked its magic much more often as a proxy microphone. I loved your soaring vocal lines, your upbeat drums which seemed sometimes at odds with your sombre lyrics but somehow just added to the feeling of it all.

I want you to know how special our friendship was to me. Before you, I never really listened to albums in their entirety, preferring to jump from single to single at the whim of my ears. But with you, I wanted to stay and listen, to hear every melody, every lyric. Even after we parted ways, my cassette player busted and my ears dancing to a different kind of sound, it was very rare for me to choose to listen to a whole album, let alone every single day for a year. I can think of only one other; Leonard Cohen’s Live in London.

As a teen girl, you got me out of bed even on the hard days, just knowing that tearing those sheets off meant that I got to be in your world again was enough. As an adult, I found myself coming back to your songs when I needed them. Your cryptic words becoming less and less cryptic to me as I grew and experienced love and loss for myself. I fell in love and ‘Runaway’ suddenly soared for me in a way it never had before, I learned of heartache and the complexities of unrequited love and ‘Love To Love You’ took on new meaning.

I know it’s long overdue but thank you, Forgiven, Not Forgotten, for being a true friend to a young girl who didn’t have many, a confidant to a young woman just learning about the world and a teacher to a young songwriter who learned from your lessons on form, arrangement and harmonies. You certainly don’t need any forgiving but you’ll never be forgotten.

— Hen

Hen’s new single ‘Raincoats’ is out now.

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