I spend a lot of my free time — more than I should — listening to music. It’s gotten to the point where I can no longer do my daily activities without it. I refuse to walk to campus or even a friend’s house without my earbuds. If I forget them, which is unfortunately a common occurrence, I walk all the way back home to grab them even when it makes me late to class. Because every second of my day revolves around music, I have discovered hundreds of songs that I’ve become strongly attached to. My friends have grown tired of me talking about them, so I’ve turned to writing about the songs — what they make me think of and how they make me feel. My explanations of the songs and their respective emotions, feelings and meanings are all subjective and are based on my opinions of them, which only makes them mean more to me. So here are seven songs I love and think you should add to your playlist, if they aren’t already there.
“Baby Baby” – Sports
I found this song while scrolling through my Spotify recommendations, and I instantly fell in love. I adored the vocals and how raspy yet smooth the voice of Cale Chronister’s, one of the two members sounded. I obsessed over the production beats and how well they fit, matching to the changes in the tone of Chronister’s voice. The song feels like going on a date and realizing how much I really like that person as the night goes on, slowly noticing how attached I am. When I get home, I start to replay the events over and over in my head, analyzing the things he said and did, smiling into my pillow. It’s the song that I’d want to make as ‘our song’ with the person I went out with, listening to it in the car with them. What I would imagine my first kiss to be like with this person, even when the kiss ends up as awkward. The lyrics, “I guess I don’t know how to try / So tell me that you’ll be alright / And tell me that I’m what you need,” highlight codependency issues. It focuses on trying to comfort the person you care about but being unable to do so due to your own issues. It analyzes the impact of simultaneously being codependent while also being emotionally distant and working to break through that. The song teaches me to be vulnerable with the people I care for despite my own personal baggage.
“Stay With Me” – Demo – Liquid Zoo
When I hear this song, I think of needing closure while also coming to terms with a relationship ending. The lyrics “Wasn’t I good enough you chose him over me… / So won’t you stay with me / I’ll stay with you” perfectly displays the meaning of the entire song. Not understanding why they didn’t choose you but desperately trying to accept it — yet, failing miserably. Knowing that if they ever changed their mind and came back to you, you would drop everything and stay. This feeling becomes so constant that it becomes regular and part of your routine. This is a song I would find myself listening to while trying to enjoy time with friends, only to think about the pain of wanting that person back the entire time. The upbeat and flowy melody of the song emphasizes the contrast between the more upsetting and deeper meaning of the lyrics with its light-hearted production. When I ignore the lyrics, the music comforts me. This only fits the meaning of the song more. It emphasizes how this feeling of wanting someone back, while also still being hurt because of them, can become so familiar.
“Hearts in Halves” – Cub Sport
This song reminds me of the phase in between being friends and being in a relationship. When you’re dating, but without the label. When you know you want the label, but at the same time don’t want anything to change. The idea of still being young and free to live life however you want, but also wanting to be with that person regardless. The song reminds me of being in the moment with this person, dancing around for hours, while thinking about what this situationship is and where this might go. Hoping it will last and being excited at the thought of a relationship with them, but at the same time, fearing it. You’re scared of what this is and where this might go. Scared that you’ll mess it up, or get heartbroken. Scared of them seeing you in your most raw form, stripped of all the barriers and guards that took you years to build up. The higher-pitched vocals in the chorus and rest of the song give off a lighter feeling, one that engulfs you into a trance of thinking about them. The lyrics and instrumentals slightly contrast each other; the instrumentals are more relaxed and filled with clarity, while the lyrics are wrought with moments of confusion and true vulnerability.
“Mixed Signals” – The Night Café
This is the song I’d listen to while dancing around in my room or cleaning up with my wired headphones in. It’s the song I’m listening to as I write this piece, bopping my head as it plays through my earbuds while the rest of my apartment and roommates are silent from the exhaustion of last night’s adventures. But it’s also a song about realizing how much you needed that special person now that they’re gone and how confusing and devastating that realization is. Acknowledging they deserved more than what you gave, but also wishing that you could get a second chance to give them that. Like most of the songs in this list, the music strongly contrasts the meaning of the words. The lyrics “Times change, now you’re moving on / While I sit smoking lonely cigarette / In an empty room with the lights off,” as well as the lyrics in the rest of the song are filled with regret, longing and self-inflicted pain. But the instrumentals urge me to get up and dance, causing my foot to unintentionally tap when I try to sit still and listen to the song.
“Sunshine Girl” – Demo – Jakob
As the weather turns from chilly to blistering cold, I can’t help but think back to the summer. Or at least the warm feeling the summer brings. This song brings back the warmth I’ve been craving while walking in the cold. It’s a song about going out with someone and realizing that it’s more than attachment: it’s love. Wanting to spend every moment you have with them. This song epitomizes the honeymoon phase, a time filled with sunshine and nothing but happiness. I think about how I often listened to this song during my drive to the park by my house. Where I’d simply sit in my car in the parking lot alone, listening to music and relaxing. The sun beats down through the window, balancing out the chill air coming from my car’s air conditioning. It’s a song filled with nothing but warmth. The vocals are higher, which immediately builds a content feeling and the instrumentals match it perfectly. The song is flowy and I can’t help but think about everything that is joyful. As the music flows through me, I can’t help but daydream about laying next to that special someone with a huge smile on my face. That feeling is enough to keep me warm through the winter.
“Time Will Tell” – Blood Orange
The first time I heard this song was through the TV show “We Are Who We Are.” It sent me into a deepdive of listening to only Blood Orange for a month straight. Every time I hear this song, it takes me back to when I first watched the show this past summer, sitting in my room under the covers while my sheer curtains let in all the light from outside. I’d play through each episode without a single break, taking my laptop downstairs with me when I had to eat and bringing it back upstairs to continue. When I finished the show, I’d still lay under the covers, only now this song would remain echoing through my head. The few times I left my house that week, I’d take my bike for a quick ride to the park by my house or through the subdivision since I had no interest in going anywhere else. I’d play the song, just thinking about the show and my quick but strong attachment to it. The song itself focuses on letting it all out in the moment, ignoring our worries since time will take care of them.
“LOL” – Juto
This song reminds me of the car ride back home with your friends after a party or hanging out with people. Where everyone’s tired and silent but in a happy way, like they’re at peace with everything and content with how the day went. When your eyes are fluttering closed while a cheesy smile is plastered on your face. Windows slightly open letting the fresh, warm but damp air into the car, but not open enough
to blow your hair into knots. The song itself is about the realization that you are doing so much better without them. The lyrics suggest that Juto’s ex moved onto someone else fast, but the person treats them poorly compared to Juto. While Juto’s ex is stuck in something unhappy, Juto is living life freely and to its fullest. While the song focuses heavily on the unhappiness of one’s ex, I think of it more as being happy with where you are in life, regardless of an ex. Like most of the songs on the list, the instrumentals are mellow and the vocals fit nicely into them, except with the contrast of Juto’s narration a few times.
I created a playlist with these seven songs and a few other songs I hope you enjoy, and will continue to add to it as I write more pieces. These songs have all had lasting impacts on me, whether that be through the memories I’ve made while listening to them or the feelings they gave me. I hope they do the same for you.
MiC Columnist Roshni Mohan can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.