In recent years I’ve become really particular about who I devote a lot of emotional energy to because I’ve had to learn the hard way that a lot of times people aren’t interested in friendship being a two-way thing. I’m very fortunate that I can use today’s pick to describe the majority of the loved ones in my life that are closest to me. “Call If You Need Me” from electronic duo Galantis’ debut full-length Pharmacy accurately demonstrates the kind of encouragement and support that I find my best friend giving me almost on a daily basis. It’s hard to reprogram yourself after years of allowing your self-doubt to be your reality, but when you’ve got the right support system cheering you along every step of the way, it certainly makes you want to work harder to reflect what they see in you. It’s also a priceless thing to have someone who will make time for you when you’ve found yourself in the midst of a meltdown, regardless of how well founded it is or not.
Initially I had something really dancey and fun for this, but in the last second I decided not to sell myself short or pass on an opportunity to go for a bit more depth. If you know me, especially IRL, you’ll know that I’m constantly curious and doing my best to live in a constant state of gratitude.
When I first got into The Streets in college, I didn’t anticipate the longstanding impact that Mike Skinner would leave on my life. I’ve always loved how approachable he is in terms of his songwriting. You don’t have to spend a ton of time attempting to read between the lines to determine the breadth of his expression. It’s in his level of directness that connecting to any of his songs always feels like connecting with a close friend that you haven’t caught up with in a minute.
The title track off his 2008 album, Everything Is Borrowed, feels a lot like the inside of my brain the majority of the time: I’m observing how quickly things are constantly changing around me, I’m questioning the intention behind everything that comes into my line of sight, and I’m always trying to remind myself that regardless of what happens that as long as I’m coming from a place rooted in love that it’s cool when things come and go. I think that sort of grounding allows the rest of my personality and all of its fun quirks to shine through.
I kind of struggled a bit with this one only because I, of course, got really in my head about making sure it was SUPER PERFECT to the prompt. These were my thoughts as I went about selecting a song for this:
“Do enough of my friends even know this song? I’m pretty sure the right ones do. Wait, what does that even mean? lol”
"Well wait what about this one? No that one lyric would throw off the whole narrative I’m sure. Do other people think this hard when they send songs to other people?”
”Okay wow yeah I don’t think any of my friends look at me that way. Also why do *I* look at me that way? Gonna have to come back to that later, sheesh!"
”Wait does everyone just default at literally any Beck song being their go-to for me? What if they all just would pick ‘Loser’!?!?!'“
Yeah DEF did the Kibbe thing and made myself a little crazy for a sec, but I eventually landed on “Fembot” from Robyn’s 2010 album Bodytalk. Given my love for robots to the point that I’m borderline annoying about it and my tendency to talk about all of my feels a lot, it feels like a solid choice. Also the song is flirty in a nerdy sort of way. Lots of tech references that could (and probably do) have sexual connotations to them. I have about a billion runner ups to this, but for now I’m sticking with this one.
The opposite of my most painful memories, the places when I felt the least like myself, are back when I effortlessly floated about life feeling the most like myself as a teenager growing up in central Florida. It’s funny because when I was growing up in Orlando I always knew I wanted to end up in New York City, but even now 13 years into living here I still savor every second of the quirky scene kid I was back then. Back before going to school to study music business. Back before learning how deeply corrupted the industry was. I was just some bright eyed kid making Geocities pages ranting about the Central Florida music scene (sound familiar?), driving all over the state trying to see bands for as many dates as she could afford, and secretly going to Kinkos to make more flyers for shows she was planning on attending to distribute on her side of Orlando without telling either the bands or promoters involved.
I’ve discussed at great length how much I’ve treasured Lakeland legends Copeland glow-up as we’ve collectively grown into full-blown adults. I will always be mentally transported back into the 16 year old version of myself when “Coffee” from their 2003 debut album Beneath Medicine Tree hits my ears. Strutting around downtown Orlando to go to a show like I owned the place, rocking out, and then hitting up a Denny’s/Steak n Shake/IHOP afterwards with a bunch of friends. The sheer joy of communing with people who are delighted to support musicians at any and all levels. I remember folks wearing merch they had just bought (myself included) to the after show hang because the clothes they wore to the show were soaked in sweat from being packed in the smaller venues. I treasure those memories a lot and the way this song always stirs up the residual feelings from said memories.
5 years ago I got out of a relationship that had almost completely hollowed me out as a person. As I do with everything and everyone I love, I had really poured as much of myself as possible into that relationship . In return I would come to realize that I had been emotionally abused and gaslit into such a state that I could barely recognize the person looking back at me in the mirror. I think one of the hardest parts of recovering from that relationship was watching my ex happily run off with the woman he had started a relationship with before ours ended with seemingly little to no recourse for the way he hurt me. He even reached out a handful of times thinking that at some point we would be able to be friends. I remember being in the thick of it in therapy, working to uncover how much emotional abuse I had endured during that relationship when mAsis’ “Virginia Wolf” came into my life. I had finally come to understand how little I had actually been respected and how much I had been manipulated in my relationship. As tiny emotional triggers would surface during my day to day activities, most were fairly easy to recognize and work past. The ones where I would essentially just shut down amidst the de-programming process, I would hear the almost whimper/wail-like hook from this song, “please let me go”. The whole song really encapsulated exactly how I was feeling at the time if I’m being honest. I was so desperate to get past all the harm that he’d done, but unfortunately I’ve come to learn that healing/personal growth isn’t always linear. It’s certainly been a process and I’d like to say all the work is done, but every now and then something small will occasionally come up that I’m forced to examine.
I was really surprised when I saw that someone on Twitter who posted their pick for this already said that they weren’t sure how to interpret this prompt because most of the time when I’m listening to music my body has some sort of response to whatever I’m listening to.
The second I decided this was going to be a prompt I already knew what song I was going to pick because I live for the way my ears perk up and my heart subsequently races every time I hear this one super fun detail in “S4” off of defunct British experimental indie rock outfit Breton’s sophomore album War Room Stories.
I NEED YOU TO SETTLE DOWN AND LISTEN CLOSELY TO THIS ONE OKAY. THIS IS LITERALLY ONE OF MY FAVORITE THINGS IN THE WORLD.
Ever the band to push their limits, the fellas decided that for this track that they were going to make some recordings to sample and slice…..literally. The samples incorporated in this song include the sound of deadbolts being locked and random knives being gently scraped against pavement. It’s one of those things that doesn’t really sink in that it’s what you’re hearing until someone points it out, and then it makes you SO EXCITED to notice every single time after that.
i’m definitely one of those people who lives to hear random details like a vocalist trying to catch their breath while they’re singing, being able to hear someone sliding their fingers up some guitar strings, etc. so this kind of really cool detail makes my heart race every time I hear it. It’s Obviously one of the many reasons why Breton has a special place in my heart.
I’m sure there are longer songs in my arsenal of music, but I love the story about how deadmau5’ 2013 track, “The Veldt” came into existence. Being the creature of the internet that we have all grown to mostly love, the night that deadmau5(born Joel Zimmerman) was livestreaming himself working on music for 22 hours and ended up collaborating with a complete stranger. As the story goes, aspiring singer Chris James was watching the livestream and decided to shoot his shot by sending through some vocals to Joel that he thought might work on the song. As luck would have it, Joel was pleasantly surprised at how solid the vocal was and quickly starting working to assemble what would eventually become, “The Veldt”. There are a bunch of shorter edits of it, but the original 11+ minute mix is my favorite.
I bless the day that Fyfe’s “Gold” came into my life at least once a week but it’s usually more than that. It’s one of those songs that has come to mean a great deal to me in a very short time. It came into my life in a time where I was really frustrated with how battered and bruised things I felt. It has come to my attention that I’m way more of a perfectionist than I thought I was. I’m not always good at giving myself grace when life doesn’t go as planned. From the full context of the song I know that this song was written less for a close friend and more for a lover, but I feel like everyone could use having someone very gently and directly place this song in their hands and be like, “Hey. I love all of you even the shit you think people don’t like.”
I’m not surprised to learn that the song is inspired by the Kintsugi, which is the style of Japanese pottery that will repair broken pottery by reassembling the pieces with gold as a substitute for any sort of glue. I’m slowly beginning to embrace how imperfections are crucial for shaping all of us and whenever I can I make sure that this song helps other people learn to love that part about themselves too.