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puzzle pieces

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the right vibes for the right times

Have you ever heard a song for the first time and thought, “Whoa, this is the perfect song for ______”? The perfect song for walking on the beach when the waves are violent, dark, and frothy; for watching the sunrise on a rooftop that you’re not allowed to be on; for when you’re in the car with your friends, windows down, lights streaking past in a neon blur.

Certain moments fit so perfectly with certain songs that they leave you feeling some sort of existential synchronicity with the present. What I love is that this differs from person to person. We’re each a collection of different human experiences and predispositions. If our lives are motion pictures, then we each have a different soundtrack.

I find it interesting to listen to a song that someone considers “sipping coffee on a breezy afternoon” music.  I might vibe well with the image that they assign to it, or I might think that the song has more of a “walking through an empty museum, lights dimmed for closing hours” feel. Regardless of my reaction, I can momentarily dive into that scenic sensation and glimpse a reflection of that individual.

The following songs are glimpses into how I perceive some moments that I have encountered or have yet to encounter. I’ll admit that my music isn’t for everyone, but feel free to share the moment with me or get inspired to make your own soundtrack. It’s an intriguing, almost intimate, way to get to know someone or to have others get to know you.

The playlist I put together has definite nostalgic undertones, which are manifested in moments that range from the mundane to the remarkable––both of which are equally important to our human experiences. If you do choose to engage in the following moments, try listening to the song once without my commentary. Then, you can compare your interpretation to what I wrote and see the similarities and differences.

“Space Song” –– Beach House

{ Exultation }

For a night where you hike to a vantage point that your friend heard about in some questionable area. There’s a little bit of fear and a little bit of excitement, and then your breath is taken away when you see the blanket of glittering street lights beneath you, stretching for miles and miles. You’re standing shoulder to shoulder with your friends, and you feel how fragile and real the present is.

“Affection” –– Cigarettes After Sex

{ Intimacy }

For when you’re fighting with the one you love and you’re sitting together in a tense silence. The air is heavy and suffocating. But then they look over at you with those familiar eyes, and something electric and amazing happens. That anger melts away into a begrudging, inevitable feeling of affection.

“Rawnald Gregory Erickson the Second” –– STRFKR

{ Optimism }

For those clear bright mornings when everything feels possible and you’ve got a confident feeling in your chest. You walk down the street, and things somehow seem clearer and more interesting than they did yesterday. You feel like skipping down the streets and randomly bursting into song, like Joseph Gordon-Levitt does in “500 Days of Summer” after a night with the girl of his dreams.

“Hear The Noise That Moves So Soft and Slow” –– James Vincent McMorrow

{ Peace }

For when you’re inside a cafe and the snow begins falling gently outside and everything seems more hushed as you observe and appreciate this little act of nature. You take a sip of your hot chocolate, burn your tongue a little, and turn back to the earthy smell of your library book.

“Daibutsu” –– Sunbeam Sound Machine

{ Relaxation }

For when you’re lying outside on the grass and the sun peeks through the leaves of the tree that you’re under. A warm breeze glides over you, carrying the smell of spring and indiscernible conversational noise. The moment is dreamy, and the song blends perfectly into the background ambience as you watch the indifferent clouds drift past.

“Director” –– The Antlers

{ Despondency }

For when you’re trapped in an existential crisis and you only have the energy for lying paralyzed on top of your covers, earphones in. You’re looking up at your ceiling with unfocused eyes, and the melancholy drone of the singer and the instrumentals wash over you. It’s a self-inflicted spiral into hopelessness, but you indulge in that feeling anyway.

“Puzzle Pieces” –– Saint Motel

{ Anticipation }

For when you’re on a roadtrip to the beach and you finally arrive at the sandy parking lot. You swing the car door open and let in a gust of refreshingly briny sea wind. Everyone piles out and stretches, grabbing towels and beach umbrellas; a general buzz of excitement and anticipation permeates the air. The sand is hot and coarse on your bare feet as you take your first steps, so you grab your friend’s hand and run all the way to the cool relief of the shore.

These are the feelings and vibes that I get when I listen to these songs. I’m a mild person with a mild music taste, so I acknowledge that this specific soundtrack isn’t relatable to everyone. But isn’t that the whole point? Each person has a unique soundtrack, and that’s a beautiful concept.

Find the full soundtrack here.