As each year passes, more events happen that have had such significance in my life that I deem it fit to dedicate a playlist in their memory. From general holiday occasions to very personal affairs, each song in every playlist has been picked specifically in relation to the playlist it is habituated in. Music is such an important part of my life, and I was not aware of its true impact until I listened to these playlists which allowed me to relive memories and feelings I didn’t realise I’d forgotten.
Having been creating these for the past three or four years, it is interesting to see how much my music taste has grown and evolved up until now. The playlists essentially play out the story of my life and its events since 2016, so sharing the meanings behind why each one of my playlists were created felt important to me. Documenting the reasons behind them will secure the memories forever, in case a time comes when I listen to a particular song and forget what it means to me.
1. If I Could Turn Back Time
Having had a nostalgic blast from the past when an old song was put on the radio, I made the mental note to collect my favourite throwback tracks and put them all in one place to access at once. Rewinding from the 00s onwards, it’s impossible not to sing along to those of Spice Girls, Destiny’s Child, S Club 7, ABBA and so many other throwback hits from my childhood.
2. Jingle All The Way
Inspired after a tradition was created with friends to come together a few days before Christmas Day to exchange gifts, eat food, drink and play games together, all whilst belting Christmas music in the background throughout the festive day’s events.
3. Wish Upon A Star
One cinema screening of Moana later and I was immediately put in the mood for a Disney soundtrack sing-a-long in the car home. Disney was always a huge part of my life growing up, and listening to this playlist allows me to reminisce about that part of my childhood without putting aside hours of time (which I don’t have to spare now that I’m a university student) to watch the films.
4. Wind In My Hair
After a late night car ride through winding country roads screaming at the top of our lungs to Rule the World by Take That (all whilst drunk and in fancy dress costumes), this playlist was deemed necessary to make. Filled with songs made for a road trip where every person knows every lyric, not one passenger will be left out of the fun.
5. Lonely Hearts Club
Sunbathing on the sunny beaches of Bulgaria, I turned onto my stomach and buried my face into my towel, discreetly attempting to wipe the tears from my eyes before anyone else had seen I had been crying. Making a playlist dedicated to heartbreak was the only thing that helped me to release at least a little pent up emotion; enough to enjoy the rest of the holiday anyways.
6. Sticky Wooden Floors
For the nights of drinking and nothing less. Turning this playlist on midway through a game of “Ring of Fire” usually makes this part of the evening better than the actual night out itself.
7. Inhale, Exhale
Made after one night of excessive overthinking. Sad love songs were too sad, everything else was too upbeat; this was the perfect in-between. Everything becomes a little easier, even if it’s just for a little while.
8. Grl Pwr
A playlist that has changed in meaning over time for me. From being created as a sign to show that I’ve “moved on” from something I was still hurting from, to now fully embracing these powerful songs sang by powerful women in order to feel empowered as a young woman myself, is extremely inspiring to me. Not only has the playlist evolved, but so has the individual who made it.
9. Sweater Weather
Seasonal music has the largest impact memory-wise for me. Remembering not only the songs I associate with the autumn weather, but the feeling of the heat from the wood burning stove warming my face as I sit underneath a blanket with my laptop watching the leaves outside dance in the air as they fall from the trees, inspiring me to make this playlist.
10. Mind Games
Mental illness is a daily, miserable struggle for me and is something that I have openly discussed with just three close people in my life, so using this playlist as musical therapy is a personal and private coping mechanism for me in times when my episodes are distressing. It’s useful to remind myself and now others too that like songs, pain is temporary and will only last a short while.
11. Winter Wonderland
Seasons come and go, and once the leaves had fallen, snow had made its entrance. Waking up last winter in the morning to see a blinding blanket of white outside for the first time in years was magical. This playlist whisks me away to a time of sledding, snowflakes and post dog walk hot chocolates.
Inspired by and dedicated to my best friend and her undeniable love for house music. I’m easily influenced by the people around me and her music taste is one of the things that has left an impact. Although not a regular listen, it is one to play when drinking games become more wild and the night is in full swing.
13. The Power Of Vine
Devastated at the shutdown of Vine in 2015, relief was sought in the funny, upbeat, 4:20 minute vlogs created by David Dobrik on YouTube. This playlist is dedicated to the songs chosen by the creator himself edited into the end credits of his vlogs, as well as iconic songs used in vine edits that remind me of the app and the joy that those 6 second videos gave me.
14. Broadway, Baby
My love for theatre has only grown since first watching Elphaba belting “Defying Gravity” in the performance of Wicked on the West End eight years ago. Just like the Disney playlist, musicals also bring out the imagination in me, to escape to a more interesting, magical and sonically beautiful place .
15. True Colours
One emotional screening of Love, Simon later, it felt like the right time to create a playlist spreading all things love. It’s comforting to know that there is a handful of music to put my mind at ease when I become confused or get lost trying to figure out who I am. As promoted in the movie and now in this playlist too, everyone deserves a great love story, no matter your age, sexuality, race or anything else.
16. Stomach Butterflies
The fluttering feeling in my stomach had returned, and like every new crush, the plan remains the same; avoid fronting my feelings and instead listen to romantic love songs and fantasize about the day that I finally muster the courage to say how I feel.
17. Concrete Jungle
As the coach pulled up outside of the airport mid-afternoon, reality kicked in; I was really going to New York for the second time. I could not wait for the oncoming memories I would be making with my friends in the city that never sleeps……and the only thing stopping me from it was the connecting eight hour flight. Packed with NYC-style songs, the journey there and back consisted of listening to this playlist whilst dreaming of the upcoming days in the famous city of New York.
18. Drop It Like A Squat
This playlist may need some dusting, as despite it being jam-packed full of motivating dancing songs, its’ association with the gym has led to the avoidance of both working out and listening to this playlist overall. Until the day of returning to the gym once more comes, this one is sorely kept for the memories rather than for its original purpose of motivating me to get into shape.
19. Stolen Aux
Inspired by and dedicated to a good friend of mine and his unquestionable love for all music rap, hip hop and trap. After a night of dancing to unknown songs of this genre all whilst being teasingly mocked for knowing zero lyrics, I aimed to take more interest in this type of music. Although still not a massive fan, a few seemed to have taken my fancy to which I am now grateful for being introduced to in hindsight; at least when I go to house parties and clubs now I’m not completely oblivious to the songs being played.
20. To Do List
A different alternative to “Netflix and chill”. Enough said.
21. Breaking Free
One night of karaoke musical singing later and this playlist was birthed. Being a massive fan of High School Musical and its soundtracks, it made sense to go ahead and birth this playlist to upcoming solitary nights of bedroom singing and dancing; my eight year old self wishes I made this sooner.
22. Everyone’s Got An Act
The Greatest Showman happens to tie with my love for High School Musical and are two of the soundtracks I listen to the most. Dedicating a playlist to this movie also deemed sensible, mixing both the original and reimagined versions together.
23. Sunny Side Up
Nine in the morning, Easter break. Early starts were in motion to make room for enough studying during the day but finding the motivation to get out of bed proved to be so much more difficult than expected. Making this playlist last year helped to make my mornings seem that little bit more easy.
24. Grass Stains
One driving licence later and I finally had my own car to drive around. It was the beginning of summer, so a summer playlist was of course the way to go. Driving in the sun with shades on, the sunroof open and my friends and I singing along to summer hits allowed us to forget about upcoming exams and university stress, going wherever the road took us whilst our worries floated effortlessly away.
25. One Way Ticket
Taking a seat on the train as my friends and I anticipated the train journey to our next interrailing destination in the summer last year, a playlist for the endless travel was made to pass the time.
26. Canadian Strings
Having been a fan of Shawn Mendes’ music for so long, it was such an amazing experience to finally watch him sing live at the Capital Summertime Ball last year. Seeing Shawn light up the stage and hearing the crowd singing along to every single lyric was euphoric, a feeling I don’t feel often at concerts, and to keep that feeling alive this playlist was born.
27. Home Is Where The Heart Is
The last few days leading up to me leaving for university were a blur, what with them being filled with days and nights out with friends I knew I wouldn’t be seeing so often anymore. A playlist about missing home was the first thing that came to mind once settling into university life, a part of me that longs to be at home surrounded again by the people that I love most.
28. To The Moon And Back
I am a sucker for slow love songs, and love nothing more than singing along to these during late night drives in my car with the moon shining. A personal soundtrack of unrequited love, these songs have more meanings to me in comparison to other playlists associated with measly crushes in the past, making it one of the rarer but more special playlists I save and listen to.
29. Soak Opera
For a person who cannot sing, there’s no stopping me when it comes to singing in the shower, and some songs were made for it. There’s nothing better than to start the day with your own private concert to put you in a good mood. You cannot ask for a better sound system either…not one person can say no to a playlist that makes you sound better than you actually are.
With my list of favourite artists that I constantly listen to beginning to grow, creating a playlist tailored specifically to myself and the people whose albums I listen to most made life a lot easier to have all in one place, away from odd songs and one-off tracks that I dedicate to specific playlists.
31. Back To The Water
Receiving my confirmation ticket to Bournemouth, I grew with excitement and anticipated the next couple of weeks before reuniting with old friends and a familiar town. Old memories from past school trips surrounded by close people in my life began to resurface, and dedicating a playlist to those old memories seemed important, as well as focusing on the new people and memories that I would make on my next trip to the seaside.
Having a best friend with whom I can share my own music taste with is a blessing. Having been through so much together, we’ve created a playlist combined of all the songs that we relate to our journeys since the beginning of our blossoming friendship, whether they’re to do with us specifically or other events in our lives that we have shared and grown from together.
33. Mother Like Daughter
A bond between a daughter and a mother is unlike any other. My mum means a lot to me and her musical influence has been impacting my life since the day I was born. Growing up with her taste in music I was never too far from the likes of George Michael, The Spice Girls, Mariah Carey and more and so having the opportunity to drive her around now instead of vice versa means I like her to have the most comfortable journey, including playing some of her favourite songs that she played to me as a child.
34. Two Become One
Since having my own car, karaoke happens almost every single time I drive. Although i have zero shame in harmonising both parts in carpool duets, having another passenger to sing along with is the dream, for both to know the harmonies, to both sing in perfect sync. It’s the perfect car journey.
35. Good Vibes Only
Created at a time in my life when I was truly happy, a playlist dedicated to music I can feel no other emotion but content to. These songs have not been tainted by negative feelings or associated memories, just pure happiness, which makes this playlist a rarity.
36. Bad Habits
Determined to make a change after one heart to heart with a friend of mine made me realise I have a bad habit for falling for people I shouldn’t. I made it one of my New Years resolutions to snap out of this habit in 2019. It also turned out to be the first resolution of 2019 that I broke. This playlist now only holds memories and songs reminding me how I felt in that time, but also that despite falling back into old patterns, I learnt from and have changed for the better because of it.
Walking down memory lane and reminding myself of the reasons why each playlist was created, I am now aware of how crucial music is to my life and how much I depend on it to not only hold onto past feelings and memories for myself, but to tell my story to others and have them feel the hurt and happiness that I have felt over the past few years too.
I am excited to continue to create more of these as more beautiful music is realised and more events happen in my life so that I can continue to document playlists associated to them and share the music that has helped me get by with others.
“If I were not a physicist, I would probably be a musician. I often think in music. I live my daydreams in music. I see my life in terms of music.” – Albert Einstein
“I think music in itself is healing. It’s an explosive expression of humanity. It’s something we are all touched by. No matter what culture we’re from, everyone loves music.” – Billy Joel