Never Going Back Again-Fleetwood Mack, and I’m spinning around the hardwood floors of dutcher street with my mother and sister and aunt and then I’m on the bus on the way home from a track meet calming down, and then I’m running away or pretending too, 9 miles away maybe and he is on my mind and I think it’s right this time even though it surely won’t be, it’s getting home and the relieving ice cold water down my throat when I finish and deciding what to eat for dinner and the house smells like soup and he is going to pick me up after and I’m pretty sure it will always be like this, this safe and comfortable, and I’m so wrong, it’s funny how wrong I am, but a magical world of bliss nonetheless, and it’s very early fall and its rainy and it feels like forever and it feels like home and it’s neither, but I believed both with all of my heart, I believed so strongly that it was almost true.
Kiss with a Fist-Florence and the Machine is jumping into a pool. It’s getting into yoga and discovering tumblr and this is so random, but it smells like this body spray called “pure seduction” by victorias secrete, and also like fresh snow. It is photo shoots in Amanda’s bathroom and basically living in her house over winter break. It is researching mental disorders and thinking I might want to be a psychologist some day, when really my fascination just stemmed from me having a few issues myself. This one is pink and minimal responsibility and being dramatic and drinking 10 cups of tea in a day. It’s the sound when you have a temper tantrum on the inside since you are too old to have a temper tantrum on the outside. This one is the end of a long run that was supposed to be slow and easy but you just have a lot on your mind maybe or just feel like getting home and so your sprint the last mile as fast as you can and almost get sick and you start to wish you could play music during races. This one is getting angry and fiery and more than a hint of angst and sitting in the last row of every class and not going anywhere without headphones blasting pop punk music and feeling just a little bit badass even though you are the furthest thing from it…or at least you didn’t use to be. The person I was when this was playing would be impressed and terrified of the person I am now. This is what it sounds like to be braver than you think you are.
Banana Pancakes-Jack Johnson, obviously is the sound of rain. It’s so many rainy Sunday mornings. It is literally waking up and making banana pancakes and laughing about how much sense is it makes and singing along. It’s cuddling up for an extra 5 minutes and it’s driving around in that red Oldsmobile that we hated and loved and it’s not just a boy at all, it’s my family too and friends. These mornings have happened so many times in my life and I am the luckiest person in the world to be able to say that. This played when everyone woke up on the big comfy couch after a night of strawberittas in my unfinished basement, and we decided to go hiking. I played this and made home fries and we sat on the back deck and we had nothing to worry about at all and it wasn’t raining that day actually so we packed lunches and went to purgatory and sat on a bolder and you know how people worry about who they will end up waking up next to later in life? Like for good? That’s so silly and pointless if you have friends like mine. I can wake up with four of my best friends and make home fries and climb a mountain and that will never stop being enough and anything else will be extra. Another time more recently, I woke up with another friend, just one, in college, but the two of us face timed my home friend (who was there for the home fries and hiking a year and a half before) and then we heard this and we made banana pancakes too. He dropped out of school and I don’t see him much any more, and I can’t recall the last time I had a sleepover with a boy platonically or with my friends from home all together in my house, but this one sounds like something that we all know will happen again, I’ll be waking up when I’m 90 years old some rainy morning and I’ll ask my buddy down the hall with a walker if he wants to pretend like it’s the weekend and make banana pancakes, I know that for almost a fact.
Stubborn love-The Lumineers. That’s a big one. I wish it didn’t sound like him I really do, but it does. It’s driving away from school first period directed study and disgusting PDA in Mrs. Urmstons room and it’s Tandy’s basement and a very specific summer and the first annual “Fall Day”. It’s jumping in a lake with all of my clothes on and a yellow basement and a hand written love letter a day. It’s spilling vanilla ice cream all over Kiara’s car and getting thrown into Erin’s pool. It’s trying “one more time” and being so fucking stubborn about making it work. How fitting. It’s so much coffee and being scared of his mom and writing my first poem and pretty much all of senior year, of slacking off and stressing out in the library or at track meets, every single meet, some practices too, and the last week of living in a dream-like fantasy land, before we all had to leave for college and everything changed. It was not wanting to go and hating it and wanting to leave and it’s what I heard when I was homesick and when I was wishing we both agreed to go to UVM together and it’s all I played that last December with him that I knew was the last of it, but pretended it wasn’t anyways and it’s what I hear sometimes now when I’m holding on to things I should let go of.
For Emma-Bon Iver– the not so normal soundtrack to high school. This is when I was “book girl” and I didn’t have a lot of friends and I had been hurt a lot. This is what I heard when I wasn’t eating enough and was running too much and this was what played in the background of my stress fracture. It played again at college when I realized everyone pronounced Bon Iver wrong and didn’t know who Justin Vernon was. It’s the sound I heard when I thought I had given it all I had, all my effort, all my love, and lost. It was fall turning into winter and the breakup and being so sure that it would always end the same and honestly I think I played this song the next time I got my heart broken too, and the next, because they are all so different, I know, but don’t they all sort of sound the same? This is the album I show people when they ask for my favorite, because it collectively is always relevant in some way. It’s special and it’s a sad and I can’t lie and say I have never got wine drunk alone and cried to this before or that I haven’t tweeted “go find another lover, to bring a-to string a long” out of spite. It looks like the pages of wuthering heights and it feels cold and anxious, and it’s lonely, but it also feels like getting through it all.
Open-Rhye is what happened next; the start and end of an era. It was being completely idiotic and reckless and taking a taxi to a house of a boy I had never met and it felt like pepper spray in my hand that I knew I wouldn’t need to use. It was vanilla Martinis and House Hunters Treehouse Addition and the opposite of real life. It was dim lights and feeling way too comfortable sitting on his kitchen counter and a dizzy, blurry, beautiful buzz. It was a scene from a movie and the type of butterflies you’ve only ever read about in books. It’s a bedroom with a puffy white comforter and peach walls and an end table with a bowl and lighter on it that your cell phone never quite made it onto. It’s texting your roommate in the morning while he’s still asleep so she knows you’re alive and you can hear the waves crashing from his front porch. And then it’s sitting on the floor, the infamous blue $600 shag rug of my freshman dorm to be exact, with the same roommate I was texting before and it’s crying to the same song while downing water bottles of blue raspberry rubinoff and not knowing exactly why we are crying and it’s me swearing I’ll never see him again and then him becoming a pretty special person in my life. It’s him still sometimes, every time he texts me out of the blue about something stupid, even though we are friends now I think and even though those vanilla martinis and peach walls were merely a fantasy for us both. I still play it when it’s foggy out like that night and often he doesn’t even come to my mind at all when I do, but I still feel a movie-like buzz, and the urge to slow dance around the kitchen, and to wander around Westerly Rhode Island, and to text my roommate that I’m still alive somehow, and then to pinch myself to make sure that’s even true.
No Interruption-Hoodie Allen. Sounds like my first college friends, my first party. It’s what I heard at Salve the night we met Patrick and “Hot Nick” that night I got a black eye at that frat house and what played during our group homework gatherings and it tastes like vodka lemonade and I’m pretty sure Joe Zonfrilli and Stretch who lived across the hall told us to turn it down, and that it was on the playlist we left playing while we hopped in a car to go smoke blunts on the beach and then got written up. I am almost positive I have rapped “3 square meals homie gotta have breakfast” in Butterfield Dining hall more than once. I’m also almost positive it’s the last thing we heard before those first college friends were perched on their lofted beds while we sat on the floor and they decided they didn’t want to be our friends anymore. It tastes like cream cheese bagels and strawberries and it looks like sundress and feels like the first warm breeze of spring and the freshman 15 but also of winging every aspect of my life and being a disaster and getting drunk on weeknights while miraculously maintaining my GPA and simultaneously loosing and finding myself. This is what it sounded like when I decided I had to “live a little” and decided not to let perfect be the enemy of the good.
Honeymoon Avenue-Arianna Grande, the sound of getting ready in the morning. The sound of him being gone and everyone being gone and me being ok with it. It’s belting at the top of my lungs with my little sister and dressing up in skirts and curling my hair and putting on makeup every single day and purposely not going anywhere and just looking good solely for myself and deciding I missed running. It’s when I discovered lipstick and missed the housing application and woke up every day, every single day I am not kidding, with a smile and a hunger to just be great and do great and to succeed in every facet of my life even if it killed me, but I knew it wouldn’t kill me. It was working hard and trying and appearing effortless and it was getting what I wanted and what I deserved. It was everything working out in my favor as if the universe was conspiring to make me happy. It was drinking every night and sleeping until the afternoon and still making it to class on time without skipping breakfast. It was deciding I was enough. Deciding I didn’t need anyone else to tell me that. This is the song that played the day I decided to love myself and to do amazing things. This was when my nails were always painted and I drank a lot of macchiatos. I was so happy that everyone called me a Hippy and I wore a flower crown to class one day because I couldn’t care less about what anyone thought of it. I played this and I felt like a queen, and invincible and I have been thankfully, playing it much more these days.
Miss K-Deer Tick, was played to me for the first time on guitar, a solo show just for me in a tiny dorm at BC. He was shy and a dork and I picked him out of everyone else around because drunk Casey has a major thing for glasses, plus he was about to go smoke weed out of an apple. This one was a little awkward, getting comfortable with being uncomfortable. It was a Pre med student from Florida who had too many extra tooth brushes to know what to do with and he was definitely a virgin, not that that matters, and he was so nervous and I wasn’t at all and I teased him about the mystery books on his desk even though I liked them and It was eating noodles and ignoring calls from my dad. It was dumb jokes and I know this song isn’t pop punk but this is when I rediscovered pop punk, also when I decided I needed to learn how to play an instrument so that I didn’t have to depend on dorky boys to play them for me, even if they are cute dorky boys. This sounds like not having enough pillow space to sleep well and like nicknames and long drawn out phone calls on speaker phone while sitting in a blanket fort at the end of my hall. It was craving intelligence out of myself and other people more than anything else, it was deciding that knowing things was sexy and it was being determined to only kiss people who read…that didn’t work out too well, but I still think that was a great idea. Imagine a world where the more books you read, the more people would want to kiss you. That idea sounded like this.
Ride-SoMo is sexy right? Strange because it doesn’t sound that way to me usually. It sounds like someone who use to be my best friend who happened to be a little bit in love with me. It’s cheesecake factory and staying up until 4am showing each other music and it’s having someone to drive an hour to you when you are alone and can’t stop crying. It sounds like the night we slept in a car because I accidently locked us out of my dorm and my grandma was coming to visit the next day, and like second guessing myself and someone alwasys reassuring me. It’s strutting through campus with him and Miguel and sara with 2 bottles of Sangria and a 12 back of platinum’s and not caring who saw. This one is the beach at night and a spontaneity that seemed normal at the time but it wasn’t it was special and I can’t help but miss it and look for it. It’s falling off a bed and so many movies and so many restaurants and I never had to drive anywhere and he wouldn’t let me pay for anything and I was only ever his friend and this is what being treated way better than you deserve sounds like and this is not having any idea how lucky you are and this is when I played ultimate Frisbee with URI alumni and saw the best sunset of my life with him and my brother and right about when I started singing in the car again.
Feeling This-Blink 182, you might call this one foreshadowing. This one is the end of the best semester I had had so far. It’s spring and mud and summer is coming and I think this is all I listened to for at least a month. This one is all the long boarders whizzing around campus, and if one of them crashed into me, or even if the RIPTA crashed into me I wouldn’t have cared, I would have died happy and carefree and would have eternily frozen a very special period of time. This is when he (the one who was hardly real, from the room with peach walls and the puffy white comforter) went to yoga with me and took me to crazy burger for the first time and this is the sound of smirnoff nips in the parking lot and him telling me I “enchanted him” and not wanting to leave. This is sun showers and rainbows and life feeling like a 90’s sitcom. This one stuck with me for a while, so much so that it resulted in a stick and poke tattoo, and it was a totally different time and it wasn’t quite a 90’s sitcom and I wasn’t half as carefree but everyone there loved blink for all different reasons and we were all in the same tiny room and all remembering very different memories without even realizing we were creating a new one together and this song was playing on repeat for an hour while it happened and so now a little part of me will always be pop punk springtime and parking lot nips and Kenzi stabbing me with a needle while eating a tub of jello shots and not leaving til I wanna.
Mardy Bum-Arctic Monkeys. This one is red wine no doubt. It is airports and airplanes and cobblestone alleys and pubs. It’s red double decker busses and flirting with twin bartenders in Oxford England with my mom. This one is nighttime in England and chatting with some Scottish men for hours after the bar closed in the hotel lobby, about the price of education and about women’s rights, and about arctic monkeys and the kooks and we all liked this song, even my mom pretended to. This is very young people in very old buildings and public transportation and it is all the wine stained notebooks that followed for the remainder of the summer, and it is being positive that life will be better when I can stroll along from bar to bar talking about things that matter, rather than shouting dumb things over rap music at a house party. It sounds like wanting to grow up too fast and feeling more sophisticated and older than I was and it was wondering if I could ever live in Europe and I think I probably could, or at least in the way that they live over there. It sounds like this, it’s more honest and raw and human and it’s ok to be drunk and lose your hotel key and say too much and to be running late. This one sounds like slower living and saying what needs to be said. This is when I started to fill up notebooks, go to coffee shops just to people watch, and found out I don’t have to live in the way I’m expected to.
I just Do-Dear and the Headlights is the September before last. It’s a forced triple and no air conditioning and feeling scared and frustrated. It’s a roommate with mono and it’s waking up soaked with sweat in the middle of the night and not having anyone to vent to about any of it. It’s being surrounded by more strangers than friends and not being sure if I wanted any of them to even be my friends at all. This was sitting up at the “Gardens” at night with all the theater kids and not being able to tell who liked me and who was only acting. This was playing Kings, hiding from cops, and sneaking into the FAC after hours to dance around on the stage. This was hot pavement while dragging myself to statistics and this is the first song on the soundtrack of the Sophomore Slump. This one was a boring boy who was bad at kissing but very good at talking about my multi-dimension theories and dark matter (because was a physics major) and buying me coffees and when I decided that was no longer satisfying and that I wasn’t lonely anymore, he was very good at writing aggressive poetry about me. I didn’t really like this time very much, or the song, so I put both away for a while, but then this summer when I was walking to a different place I didn’t want to be walking to, I knew exactly what to play. I put on the album that got my feet in front of the each other from heathman to statistics to the gardens to turi’s awful dorm, and then it got me to and from the pizza place all summer too. I wouldn’t want to play this one on repeat and relive it like a lot of the others, but this one sounds like something that had to happen, it’s the sound of not knowing what would come next but knowing that it would be better than this, it is the sound of the mundane things that have to happen before the magic can come back, and it’s just as important.
Meadows-Wild child, (the gondola session) is what Heathman hall sounded like when all of our doors were opened and Sara wasn’t sick anymore. This was when we all finally realized that missing the housing application or transferring or whatever it was that brought us here wasn’t an accident. This is when we found out we all needed each other and that we were about to become a family for the next 6 months or so. This is the sound of 10 people in a tiny room and it’s what it sounds like when everyone has work they should be doing but we talk about the girl Riley is crushing on, or take 8 buzzfeed quizzes in a row, or catch Joe watching Tarzan with the sound off alone. This is what was playing when Riley and I would wake up for Zahries 8am yoga class two days a week and it’s Fredrick coming in to check on us and it is candle lit meditation and handstands on the beach. This is making 8 cups of hot chocolate at once and Marc or Ami or whoever completely taking over my bed and nobody leaving until 2 or 3 in the morning, sometimes later, and we all half hated it and half loved it but this is what it sounded like when we all loved it at once and it was one of the better accidents that happened to any of us and I don’t think I’ll ever live with another 10 collectively beautiful people at once again, but even if I did it wouldn’t be the same, wouldn’t sound the same.
12 ft. Deep-The Front Bottoms was on my angst playlist. This is the sound of failing 2 exams in a week and of falling asleep on the floor and being severely hungover on a Wednesday. This is skipping classes and not feeling sorry about it and not knowing what to do with my life. This is what it sounded like when everything was hard and nothing made any sense and I died my hair bright red and smoked a cigarette and liked it. This is so many shower beers, and diet coke, and spiking diet coke with jack daniels in the bathroom at rhody market after missing dinner. This is wasting all of our money on alcohol and curling my hair for a party and squeezing 10 people in a car at a time. This is living recklessly and we all thought we were having so much fun at the time but really this was what it sounded like when we were a complete mess and this is walking home from anatomy lab at 9pm and this was the sound of something missing but I didn’t know what it was, and this is wanting more. This is when we realized we all had a love for pop punk and weren’t ready to give up being angsty teenagers yet, it was realizing I never had a fucked up, rebellious, angsty, teenager stage at all and that I must be getting it out of my system now. Everybody needs a few months to rebel against everything and drink too much and get angry at the world and kiss their lab partner and jam to the front bottoms about it all I think.
Nine in the Afternoon-Panic! At the Disco and I am immediately in Sara’s little white car and I’m turning the volume up full blast. This is her birthday and we let Chris drive and we are drinking mimosas on the beach even though it’s freezing and November. I was high every second of that specific November. This was what being with Chris sounded like, and never talking about anything important, and fish bowling the bathroom, and sharing a shower every morning. This was our nightly routine of me packing a bowl while my roommate made 3 mugs of tea and then it was all of us cuddling up and melting into our beds and passing the bowl back and forth and putting something dumb on Netflix. This is dabs and my legs feeling like elastic bands and being dizzy and not being able to formulate words and skipping Philosophy. This was an alternate universe and deciding to get a tattoo and Epic Bucket List day and bubble tea and we ordered a lot of Chinese food late at night and this is what fucking up your GPA sounds like but it also sounds like pure simplistic bliss and it sounds hysterical laughter and it sounds fucking fun, it was fucking fun.
Cigarette Daydreams-Cage The Elephant is “the 8 sober days” following the Weird Night and the sorry cakes. This is going to walmart at least once a week for things we didn’t really need and beating ourselves up and Emma being over all the time. This smells like coke with rum and this certain febreeze spray called frosted cranberry or something? And one time I sprayed that all over myself instead of perfume for a party, the infamous ugly sweater party. And this is Kenzi’s boyfriend buying me a calzone and it’s finals week and everyone chanting in this basement. It was awkward chris and Sara pounding on the door this is the sound of all us going to brunch in the morning and drinking coffee all day and signing up to take an art class with Ami. This is big sweaters and fuzzy socks and going to Newport for Sara’s therapy appointments with her. This is telling Tandy every crazy thing that’s happened and him hardly believing any of it. This is all my friends at home thinking I was a complete disaster but letting me do my thing and me knowing I was a mess but being happy regardless. This one feels like harsh wind and eating raw cookie dough and stomping on bubble wrap and waking everyone up and it’s when Chris stopped coming over without any explanation and it was a lot of visits to Alijahs puppy and I wore a beanie every single day and let Sara cut my hair and it was never sunny and the days got shorter and I feel like I bought mixers and lighters in Rhody Market almost every day and what a strange time this was.
Migraine-21 Pilots is what it sounded like when Marc stopped being exiled. It’s him saying “it is what it is” and arguing and when we all slapped each other in the face because of that silly youtube video. It’s shoveling everyone’s cars out of planes lot, and ab workouts in the middle of the hall, and platonic cuddles. This is what it sounded like when we all started going to the gym more and it got so cold and fuck boy moved in. This is him speaking Chinese and Justin bugging us to buy him alcohol and it’s Marc coming to our door everyday to complain about “some bitch” and 4 of us staying up until 5am to write Sara’s paper, and sending emails for each other, and trading responsibilities. This is when our RA came over all fucked up and we made him mac and cheese and he slept over and it was the sound of the strangest night ever and all of us being so beyond ready for Christmas break but not ready to leave each other and then Jerel got fired and we had no RA at all and this is what our hallway sounded like when we all drank and smoked and ate soup on the floor, playing cards against humanity or with the stolen nerf gun on snow days. This is getting home from a night out and all of us circling up in a sort of haphazard after party to discuss all of our different drunken nights like a sort of fucked up family, and it’s the giant bucket of popcorn and cool joe rolling around in it in his underwear and having to vacuum the mess in the morning and I remember getting to St. Thomas after chistmas and playing this and missing this and wishing I was back there instead of on a beautiful island, because none of that sounds half as beautiful but I swear it was.
No type-Rae Sremmurd is New Years Eve and hopping on a train last minute and peeing in a parking lot. This was Amanda balcking out and sneaking into the back door of a bar and drinks being brought to us and chanting this on repeat with our feet up on the pool table. This is us all sleeping over at the hockey house and It’s “Balding Canadian Mathew” and it’s waking up confused but with a beautiful view on the third floor and going down and sara giggling uncontrollably and Amanda not remembering us even getting there. It’s missing a train half on purpose and champaign in the morning and some terrible crepes and the weirdest and best start to a year…It’s deciding 2015 was going to be fucking weird, and being right. It was getting back to Heathman and Kenzi getting home from work at midnight on Tuesdays and us being awake still, ready to get drunk and rant about our days and it’s when I started to miss Josh a bit because he liked this song too but lived in a new house with a new girlfriend now. This sounded like prosecco and a month long party and always finding something to celebrate.
Work REMIX-A$ap ferg (content not appropriate for the internet but if you ask me about it I will not hesitate to tell you)
Blank Space-Taylor Swift, is realizing I’m not “above” listening to Taylor Swift, realizing I’m not too “cool” or “hipster” and the day you realize you are not above listening to pop music is a great day, let me tell you. This is blasting the radio with all the windows down and dancing around campus and using a wine bottle as a microphone. This is girl power rushing through my veins and wanting to say “fuck you” to every guy who heart my heart in the last year and deciding I am cooler than all of them. This is pure sass and not putting up with shitty people and this was on full blast every other day on the elliptical and this is when Josh asked to see me and even though I missed him so much it hurt I said no. This was regaining the confidence and power I hadn’t had since “honeymoon avenue” and it’s so me. This is when everyone got mad at me for playing only Taylor Swift for 2 weeks straight and me not stopping or feeling bad about it. This is the song I told everyone was essentially about me because “I’ve got a long list of ex lovers who will tell you I’m insane” and this is when I felt like maybe I am the Taylor Swift of the writing world, just instead of songs I have all of these 2 page long “things” and a few poems. This is when I pulled the lipsticks back out and bought my dr. matins and a lot of dresses and didn’t feel like kissing anyone and drank a lot of boxed wine and Sara started to get irritated with me, I’m so thankful I didn’t stop playing this song when she got sick of it and I’m so glad I didn’t let myself become any less awesome just because anyone else didn’t think so.
Jungle-Drake is when him and T-Swfit came out with new albums in the same week, it was arguably one of the best weeks ever. The day I started listening to drake was almost as great a day as when I decided I was no longer above girly pop music. This sounds like pregaming and rides to parties and tastes like gold shalgger. This is when I wrote a lot and was extra emotional and wanted to go out to bars and I couldn’t, so I rediscovered Rebel IPA and drank 6 packs in bed while catching up with B3. This is what we all played before formal and it was the bus ride passing the flask and letting myself go a bit and dancing. This is what the last of the good nights that year sounded like. We would play drake and sit on tumblr and call it a night because when we did go out my best friend kissed the boy I wanted to and so I locked her out of the room for the night and also slammed her figure in the bathroom door because she wouldn’t leave me alone. I cried a lot here and couldn’t find a summer job and had no money and I gave in and did go to see Josh when he asked me to on Cinco de Mayo and played this while waiting for my bus in the incredibly sketchy Kennedy Plaza the next morning. When I hear this now l am mostly glad all of those things are behind me because those made up one of the hardest times of my life and I learned more then about myself that I might have any other time even though my grades were the worst they have ever been but I passed orgo lab and became vegan and this was the sound of Space Africa and packing whilst hungover the next day and leaving all of that and having no idea what was coming next and when I hear this now, now that I know what happened next, it sounds so different.
Mr. Grieves-PIXIES is my dads back deck with Selena and Amanda and we are pregaming Boston calling and I can still taste the cheap white wine and we were hoping they played this song and then it’s rushing over to government center and missing almost every other band who was playing. This is day drinking and sunset and it’s a sundress and asking strangers to take pictures for us. This is getting stuck in a crowd of dads and it’s all dads and us and we are all dancing, have you ever seen about 200 dads dancing at once? Quite a sight, and we stuck out but we were dancing the same way and this is screaming every word and knowing I’d be hungover the next day and it’s 2 encores in a row and nobody being quick to leave and walking home barefoot and feeling bad about dancing with a guy after getting separated from my friends and waking up with post concert depression and a stomach ache and horribly filmed videos on your snap story and smiling anyways and not regretting anything but deciding that I’m in need of a change, and buying some hair dye and calming down. This is the tail end of the storm and the start of the calm (or as calm as life can be, which is really just less stormy).
Gracious-Ben Howard is talking to Charlie. It’s June and a retrograde and it rained a lot and I wanted to see him. This is what it sounded like when busses to Providence stopped making sense and BYOB boardgames and floor beds and beers on the back deck became much more logical. This is forth of July and we didn’t bother watching fireworks and he stayed for three-four days and acted like my boyfriend even though we had just met and inspired a lot of my best written words and this is what Connecticut sounded like too. This is coffee that you don’t finish because you have too much to talk about and it ends up getting cold before it’s time to go and it’s so many smiles and being so insanely excited and happy and pretending it all isn’t doomed (but it is). His parents liked Ben Howard too and I met them and we talked about this personality quiz and his dad mentioned the “next time I would be there” and I never went back and will probably never be there again, and then we got drunk on a bus (Charlie and I, not his parents) and I realized how all of this, all of the best things I had ever felt, weren’t going to be here forever, would be lucky if they even lasted the summer and I cried and he is much braver or smarter than me because he held it together and he didn’t let himself fall as far, but this was the sound of me falling and I heard this at the very beginning and at the very end and I heard it before him and I will hear it after him because it’s not all about him. It’s about pretending fleeting things are forever and being determined to stop attaching songs to people and to stop crushing on people who are too far away to touch. It still sounds nice though, it sounds like handholding and kisses and a drive up to a mountain and a tiny infinity that could have never been any more than that, but should have been.
Valerie-Amy Winehouse is running errands alone and this is one Charlie’s really liked and I think I only saw him sing it once but he made this certain face when he did but so do I and now I think of it as one of my favorite songs before I think of it being his. This is August and there are only a few weeks left until my days serving pizza are over and I stop stressing out about it and the Sunshine House is coming and things with Charlie are about to change or end or something but I’m oblivious to that and send him videos of me singing this. This is the morning, yes morning, that Kiara and Evan came over and we mixed fireball with our coffees and it was so fucking hot and sunny and I didn’t have work until the next afternoon and pretended work wasn’t a thing at all. This is hoping on a boat, and our hair blowing in our faces on the top deck and hiking on a harbor island and my phone being too dead to answer anyones texts and we just sat on the grassy hill on the top for a little bit and talked about how happy we all were and it wasn’t happiness, this song isn’t happiness, because happiness comes from the word happentense which means you are happy because good things are happening, because of the circumstances, but this song is joy. This is being happy for no reason in particular, for the sake of being joyful and nothing else, its so much more rare and so much more special and now this is a joy ride and it’s sitting in Bari’s bed on a school night and nothing particularly great is happening but we have so much joy and we are just singing and taking silly videos and maybe now we don’t even have anyone to send them to and maybe that is more than ok.
Blessings-Big Sean is living in a beach house and the neighbors across the street having a party every weekend and it’s finally getting your license and being able to drive to anything and away from anything you want. This is every night out being an adventure and it’s dancing, so much dancing, and it’s running, it’s getting back into shape after 2 years of bumming around. This is pulling yourself together and going to class and getting the best GPA of your life. This is letting go of toxic people and finding people who want to celebrate my success with me and motivate each other to do better rather than pout in jealousy and take each other down. This is moving on and moving up and moving to bigger and better things. This is taking control back over your life and this is getting what I want. This is what it sounded like the day I woke up and decided instead if sitting around and wanting things to happen to me, I was going to start happening to things. This is when I stopped wasting my time and started holding myself to higher standards and this is when things started making infinitely more sense. This is being lucky and knowing it and this is the best decision of my life so far.
Sam Smith-I’m Not the Only One is singing so loud. It’s driving around the block an extra time to finish the song. This one is so many different car rides with so many different people. It’s driving to school in the morning and driving home from the gym at night and it is nearly always relevant. This is especially Bari and I on a Friday night after killing our workouts and buying a bunch of food and dancing around the kitchen blasting this while we cook dinner still in our workout gear and brainstorm what our night will hold and it’s facetiming her mom to show her how great our meal came out and having a glass of wine with it and picking out outfits for later. It’s every Monday night this whole fall too. It’s coming home and ignoring all negativity and singing over it all and not letting any of it get to us. It’s lighting candles and powering through our work in out dining room/make shift library and it’s getting it all done in time to watch the Voice and Blindspot and then it’s all of us being up too late on a school night and making each other feel better about that exam coming up, that boy who wont text back, that bill we haven’t paid and figuring it all out and sleeping soundly. This sounds like solutions and sunshiney Saturdays and a very warm October and then November…global warming in full effect. It sounds like things are supposed to sound, and like we are doing something right.
When it Rains it Pours-Twiddle is all owed to James, my jazz history buddy. This is what making new friends sounds like and what it sounds like when you realize everything is going to keep on being ok, and its shaking off the stress. It’s only having one class two days a week and writing all morning and it’s jogging along a woodsy path that boarders the ocean. This is the first weed I’d smoked since the summer in Judy’s pristine kitchen and it’s deciding to live with three boys next year and it’s house hunting. This sounds like the 20 minute walk from Spanish to Biochem when I only have 10 minutes to get there and still refusing to rush. This sounds like studying for finals and it sounds like passing them. It’s my manifestation note cards and positivity and keeping up with it all and not worrying about things that aren’t worth my worries. It is everything being so different and everything being so much better and it’s what I imagine things will be like for at least a while.
Sure Thing-Miguel is homecoming, Jeff whites house, and driving to point Judith Lighthouse to see the sunset. This is the entire semester in a song and it’s really funny because it’s about a relationship and this was probably the semester I had the least to do with guys, at least romantically, and the least to do with a relationship. I dated myself and I dated my friends and I don’t think any other relationship in my life has left me more fulfilled. This sounds to me like being alone and being so fucking happy about it and not needing anyone and not being dependent on anything. This sounds like cleaning the kitchen and the shower and writing checks and grocery shopping and playing house, playing grown up. This is what was playing when I started wearing these killer heals and kept my hair dark and short and when I stopped second guessing myself. This is feeling confused and putting on the acoustic spotify session of this song, with commentary, and all of a sudden knowing what my next move should be without excessive alcohol and without asking a guy who didn’t care enough for his opinion. This is the sound, not of everything being right in the world, but of being happy regardless, about getting fired up when things got hard instead of getting down, this is the sound of smiling through it all and of karma working out in my favor. This is what I hear when I’m incredibly sure of myself and this is the song I still couldnt stop playing for a while.
Dearly Departed-Shaky Graves is being home for winter break and getting back in touch with family and friends and apparently my love for folk music. It’s running on the shaky treadmill in the basement and playing that entire shaky graves album on repeat while I powered through 8 miles for the first time in years. It’s driving to jumbo doughnuts with my brother and coffee bean with my sister and not being able to decide which was closer or which had better coffee. It’s what dating your old track coach sounds like and being happy but confused and it’s singing in the car. It’s the sound of searching for the best pink lemonade around at various gas stations and grocery stores and it’s snow. It’s feeling determined and the opposite of burnt out and it’s that feeling you get the day after Christmas is over when you are still so happy but don’t quite know what to do with yourself. It’s having time to yourself to read and it’s sleepy mornings that becomes sleepy afternoons, and then all too quickly it sounded like the drive back to school and the not so shaky treadmills here and like packing and unpacking and not knowing where exactly things will be going. It’s Charlie finally coming to rhode island and watching music videos in bed and this one was his very least favorite and that’s about when the magic of this one faded for me at the time but I will love it forever regardless. And I played it again when all of sara’s home friends were over and they appreciated it and sometimes you need to let go of things even if you love them for a while. And people, this happens with people too, and sometimes when you do that (the letting go) and realize you feel like a weight was lifted instead of feeling all sad and heavy, it will sound like this.
Space Song-Beach House is what my actual beach house sounded like while it was snowing. It’s days off of school and it’s what Charlie actually wanted to hear instead of Dearly Departed and so it’s what I heard while we were cuddling and passing jack daniels and vegan carrot cake back and forth and feeling nostalgic and weird even though I got what I wanted. It’s what it sounds like when someone will never be over their ex and it plays in the background of 15 missed calls and then on a ride along the ocean and it drowns out all the words we aren’t saying out loud and my screaming heart and mind. It’s what it sounds like to get back the thing you missed the most but you feel like you didnt get anything back at all. It doesn’t sound real and that’s because it’s not. It’s a snow day and being high and pretending. It’s all you want to play in the morning for a while, until one day you wake up and you don’t and you crave something so much more real and tangible or at least something true and it fades out and stops snowing and life goes on.
Size of the Moon-Pinegrove is what it sounds like to stop pretending, it’s hearing a song for the first time and knowing it will be your favorite, without a doubt, and it’s something you haven’t heard in a while and didn’t know you were missing. It was providence on Valentines day with Amanda and Kyle and Tom and it’s sitting in their dorm and falling asleep to improve lullabies on acoustic guitar. It’s the sound of driving home alone at 3am and it’s so cold and you can’t feel your hands but it feels right. This is staying awake until 5am and life seeming so complicated and so simple at the same time. This is dancing around and laying in bed and cheap beer becoming a lot more appealing. This is snugs and sharing writing and stories and severe lack of sleep. This is when I started playing music while I showered again and it sounds better than silence and I heard it the morning Amanda and I drove back to Hopedale for the second weekend in a row and we felt terrible but so happy and it was savers the next day. This is the sound of a sunset that looks nothing like any sunset I have seen before and neither of us having a camera so we just had to soak it up while it was there in real life. It wasn’t the sunny orange side of the sunset it was all purple and just above the skyline and you could see the moon and it was a full moon it was so perfect. It’s not just this song it’s every song by this band ever and its singing “SAW YOUR BOYFRIEND AT THE PORT AUTHORITY, SORTA FUCKED UP PLACE” over and over and having a new favorite song to play on repeat every day to get you through. This is a thunderstorm in the middle of february and feeling lucky and it’s the sound of all the road trips I want to go on and kitchens I want to dance around and oceans I want to run and drive around and it’s everything. This one sounds like a compilation of everything I have already said, it just sums it up, and it’s me, I am not just saying that. Someones else actually told me “this band is just you” and “when I hear that line I hear it in your voice” and I’m sure there will be other songs in the near future but this is what it sounds like so far, this is what it sounds like still.