By Hannah Landers, Muse Editor
I could say that it was hard to narrow my life down to just 20 songs, that I struggled and debated and agonized over every track. But when I really sat down and thought, when I really contemplated which songs have had real impact and given my life real substance, it was easy to knock off the ones I simply replayed for weeks on end and then forgot about.
In the end, my playlist is surprisingly centered about my family. I have vivid memories of singing Van Morrison’s “Brown Eyed Girl” with my father, erroneously insisting that Morrison said “Casper” at one point in the song, in reference to my favorite children’s movie featuring a friendly ghost. And I was first introduced to the weird mind of David Byrne through my mother. Whenever “Psycho Killer” comes on the radio, we take turns yelling the “fa fa fa’s” and “aye-aye-aye-aye’s” at one another.
My younger brother, a rich wellspring of music with an iTunes library that would take a couple months to get through, has expanded my music tastes more than anyone. He took the sunny indie music preferences of my teenage years and gave me a healthy dose of grunge in the form of noisy surf punk like Wavves and the kings of grunge themselves, Nirvana.
My younger sister, a staunch Directioner, has been far less influential. Still, I couldn’t help smiling to myself hearing her sing along to the Arctic Monkeys’ “R U Mine?” over winter break. It’s nice to know I have some kind of effect on the person she’s becoming, regardless of how inconsequential it may be.
Bright Eyes’ “Lua” belongs to my cousin and I, who spent so many of my early years with me that people used to mistake us for twins. As we grow apart, physically and figuratively, Bright Eyes will be one of the things that will always link us together.
“Aaron’s Party (Come Get It)” reminds me of my hometown friends, who aren’t technically my family but may as well be. Take it from me, there’s no better soundtrack than Aaron Carter for cruising around suburban Pennsylvania on a humid, cloudless night with the people you’ve known since kindergarten. The Killers’ “All These Things That I’ve Done” and Discovery’s “Swing Tree” were tracks on Sharpie-covered blank CDs given to me by crushes and ex-boyfriends — need I say more?
But most important are the songs that I discovered for myself. Band of Horses’ “Dilly,” Tokyo Police Club’s “Your English Is Good” and Andrew Bird’s “Fake Palindromes” are songs I can play on repeat endlessly from artists or bands that I happened to stumble upon for one reason or another. And it’s these songs, the ones that start out as a sort of special secret between the artist and you, which are most important to cherish.