My first impulse was to name Amy Winehouse's Back to Black, because that album has gotten me through some difficult times in my life, but I settled on Edith Piaf's The Voice of the Sparrow for the following reason:
For a time, until I could articulate thoughts beyond "Go up!" and *points to mouth to indicate feeding time*, my dad and I didn't really talk. My mom attended to the child-rearing stuff, my dad did the working stuff, and that was that. One day, when my dad and I were discussing spirituality and death (because I was nothing if not a happy child), my father told me that he believed in reincarnation. I of course asked why, as my head was jumbled with the various teachings with which I had already been presented by church, school, and the world (I once asked a Sunday school teacher where heaven was if astronauts hadn't run into it yet; she did not like that). By the end of that discussion, we concluded that he and I were formerly American journalists who died on assignment in France during WWII, but we got reincarnated as dad and daughter in order to keep enjoying life and traveling the world together.
True or not – it's hard to say – I have childhood memories of my father playing this album on Sundays as he cooked brunch, my brother and I did homework, and my mom read the paper that transcend mere fondness. I certainly hope that hearing Edith's voice during an apocalypse would transport me there.
Copyright Alexandra Lucas 2016