Stop the Train, and Listen to Some Tunes

“Music expresses that which cannot be put into words and that which cannot remain silent.”

-Victor Hugo


In desperate need of a study break this afternoon, I closed my Linguistics book and opened my computer. Ah, Netflix. The utopian website we students use to escape our studies, turn off our minds, and enjoy hours of mindless entertainment. But today as I was watching my go-to show –Say Yes to the Dress, obviously –my mind kept drifting back to my studies. I watched the bride say, “I want a gown with ruching,” but what I heard was, “The first step of language standardization is selection.” I needed to take a mental break, and Netflix just wasn’t doing it for me. So I said no to the show, and grabbed my iPod.

I’m always searching for new artists and styles to discover. Unfortunately my wallet can’t keep up with my discoveries, so I rarely purchase new music. I have a very technical, precise music-finding process: I peruse YouTube and Pandora, hear a new song, fall in love with it, look up the artist on Google, briefly cyber-stalk him or her, listen to his or her music (and nothing else) for two weeks, and consequently get tired of it. And the cycle repeats.

But today was different. I took a pass on Pandora and opted for my outdated iPod. Not knowing where to start, I hit Shuffle. Since I haven’t updated the song library in so long, I was hit with some serious throwbacks. We’re talking Mariah Carey’s “The Emancipation of Mimi” circa 2005. I realized while skipping through the tracks how so many of them still hold meaning in my life today, but in a different way than when I first heard them. I thought I’d share the first three songs that played.

“Unwritten” by Natasha Bedingfield. This took me right back to my family’s living room watching The Hills with my big sister when I was a little kid in high school who liked to read and write, and knew exactly what she wanted to be when she grew up. Fast forward to today, I have no clue what I want to be when I grow up. But the song gives me hope that something good is out there for me, and I don’t have to change who I am to get it.

“I’m Only Me When I’m With You” by Taylor Swift. Maybe I should be embarrassed by how much T. Swizzle I have on my iPod, but it’s a good tune. When this song came out, I would always think of my best friend from elementary school. That was eight years ago. She and I will be living together (for the second time) next semester at college.

“Stop This Train” by John Mayer. I would be lying if I said I didn’t get misty-eyed when this song came on. Midterms suck. Everyone’s stressed, and we find ourselves wishing that college could just be over already so we didn’t have to deal with the stress of classes. This song gave me a helpful reminder that even through the tough times, we need to embrace these years, because they’ll be gone before we know it.

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