The Melodies of High School // Playlists + Memories


Hi, friends! Music plays a big role in my life—it’s one of the best ways for me to distinctly remember certain memories, such as how burnt hot dogs and “Sunday Morning,” by Maroon 5 brings back memories of ice skating with the advanced levels on early Saturdays. Like my musical tastes, it’s interesting to see how much I changed!

So, in this bittersweet celebration of almost nearing the end of high school, I wallowed through old Spotify playlists and YouTube histories to pluck out some of the songs which were on repeat at each of my four years and with it, I’ve pulled together a string of memories each. I can’t say there has been an exact evolution or any definitive style I find myself into, as I still listen to the genres I’ve delved in—pop, musical theatre, indie, and some songs from television shows—but I hope you take a listen!


“Top of the World”—Greek Fire // My friend and I arrive at the pizza restaurant where our cast part is held, with many of our friends pushing to greet us hello. I grab my phone and begin to record photos of the event, with my camera forgotten at home after realizing I could watch Big Hero 6. The song resonates in my mind, and continues to resonate in my head when I travel to Disney World for the first time, sitting on the concrete with my Minnie ears and waiting for the fireworks show to commence.

“Prologue: Into the Woods”Company, Into the Woods (Motion Picture) // Picture my freshman self, wearing my infamous purple winter jacket as I stare out the window, and load the fifteen minute video onto my phone. My parents warn us about not overusing the data, but how could I keep away from the narrative present in the song? The harmonies, the jumpy syncopated beat all infected my mind, and I couldn’t help but keep tapping away.

“Shut Up and Dance”—WALK THE MOON // “Come on, Abby. Just two more push ups…” Sprinting held custody of the work out room, and our coaches wanted us to develop our muscles to help with starts off the block. I pull the earplugs out of my ears and gaze at the yellow album cover, reading “Talking is Hard.” Perhaps if I could pace each push up to the beat, I could complete another two sets...






“To the Top”Twin Shadows // I sit near the windows on the sides of the sixth floor, where the publishing company offices are located. It is almost five o’clock in Manila, and the streets are beginning to flood with traffic as many drive to return home. In one hour, I will clock out of my shift and meet my mother as we travel more than five suburbs. On the MRT, we are not allowed to reveal we are from America, yet I will disregard this as I get squished between a band of passengers and remark how I wish I could swear, but I won’t. For now, I’ll just watch the people pass down below, with the light diminishing every second, and just enjoy it.

“Forget About the Boy”—Sutton Foster, Anne L. Nathan, Thoroughly Modern Millie Ensemble // I run backstage to grab more bobby pins. After the photo call, the director presented an hour of free time to chat and eat pizza providing, of course, we had jackets to protect our costumes. Inside the dressing rooms, bulbs start to heat up, and I see the stage manager practice our choreography from one of my favorite songs from the show. Flaunting on chairs-- what more could anyone ask for? As I finally lay my eyes on what I needed to grab, I overhear the stage manager say, "Like, wow. This song is therapeutic. Especially when I put some of my crushes behind that anger."

“Ends of the Earth”—Lord Huron // My sophomore language arts teacher decides to give our class a land ethics paper written by Aldo Leopold. The room is still jarring even after spending weeks in the classroom decorated with surrealist decorated literature ceiling tiles and paintings dangled all over the classroom. I’m sitting facing the parking lot window, with the tables and football field perpendicular. I swing my legs back and forth. The sun’s getting lower now, and as I’m struggling to understand Leopold’s language does Lord Huron’s raspy voice swoon the room, and for once, I feel calm.






“Anna Sun”—WALK THE MOON // The second two last day of the 2016 Summer Olympics and summer, alongside the forecasted rain, dampens my brother and I's moods as we drop off the spanakopita and rush off to McDonalds, since my brother said his rewards coupon was expiring and it would be a pity to waste it. The sky begins to draw in more. In my pocket, a speaker courtesy of the bank blares "Anna Sun." Maybe running to the beat of the song would overpower my fatigue.

"Crash and Burn"— Thomas Rhett // The sound of country music trills my eardrums. In other public areas, this would be the time to plug in my headphones, but I've grown an appreciation this particular album amidst the morning backdrop of L'Hopital's and integration by parts. As my class evolved to seniors and we slip away into deeper math topics, it's clear in everyone's mind: no one can truly do calculus without Thomas Rhett. (How I'm going to survive college calculus without it is another story.)

"Mighty" — Lord Huron // I remember sitting around in the choir room during the dead time between the large group competition and the end-of-the-year graduation rehearsals, browsing through songs by numerous indie artists. Lord Huron is such an underrated band, and the build up towards one of the happiest choruses in the entire world just makes you start tapping your feet.





Just Breathe (Rise Cast Version) — Rise Cast // "Yes I understand, that every life must end, uh-huh. As we sit alone, I know someday we must go, uh-huh." The moment I draw the window blinds and hear the opening harmonies of the song, I stop tying strings to clump up the curtains and just sat. Despite not understanding its meaning, I just stop everything for the first time in weeks and just listen.

“White Winter Hymnal”—Fleetwood Foxes // I browse through the playlists on Amazon Music and stumble across the Pentatonix version. The harmonies are simple, but despite the pleasant sounds, the lyrics were dark. I continued to peruse through other covers of the song—Birdy’s, Dodie Clark’s, the list continues—until I stumble across the original and sit in my room, laying on my yoga mat, and just pondered what the meaning of the lyrics were, if any.



Did you like some of the songs? What are some of your favorite songs from past years you have an associated memory with?

24 comments:

  1. I'm drowning in nostalgia and these are not even my memories. Also what a cool idea! Making playlists by high school year, I wish I had thought of this earlier, music helps you remember unlike no other thing really. Feelings you forget but when the music comes back on you feel the exact way you did that day long long ago in some distant reality. Gorgeous post Abby! <3

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    1. You should try doing this, Anna! Even if you haven't done this in past year, you've got such a long time to try making playlists for each year. Sometimes it's funny-- when I listen to music from my past I swear I can feel the temperature and the smells of that time period.

      xoxo Abigail Lennah

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  2. This was such a cool idea!! and oh my stars all the nostalgic feels. <333
    This has to be one of my favorite posts EVER!
    Thank you Abigail!
    xx
    Mira

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    1. Nostalgic feels are all the best. <3 I'm kind of shocked / honored??? Thank you for your light and kindness, always!

      xoxo Abigail Lennah

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  3. Wow, I loved this post so much! Its a lot of fun going back through old playlists!

    Catherine
    catherinesrebellingmuse.blogspot.com

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    1. It is! There is no other feeling like it!

      xoxo Abigail Lennah

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  4. I love how diverse your music taste is. :)

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    1. My music taste is all over the place, for sure... freshman year is more pop, sophomore musical theatre, junior year is more indie and senior year is just an entire mixture of all three combined. It's all coming together!

      xoxo Abigail Lennah

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  5. This was such a cool idea! I wish I had playlists for every year of high school :D

    ~ Abby

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    1. Hey, Abigail! You don't have to have playlists for high school-- it also works for every year, too. I just remember certain memories better when grouped up in school years.

      xoxo Abigail Lennah

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  6. Wowww girl this is incredible <3 what a nostalgic and sentimental feeling it must be to look back on your music over high school. :) I sadly have no idea what i was listening to in freshmen year xD This is so cool though...i love the little memories you had too. LOVE THIS <3

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    1. Autumn, thank you! It's kind of terrifying? I still remember listening to some country music on the same computer I'm using now the summer before freshman year. And actually, this is a small sample of my taste-- it's not as accurate as I'd like due to not remembering everything I listened to certain years, but it's as accurate as it gets!

      xoxo Abigail Lennah

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  7. The only song I've really heard from this is Shut Up And Dance by WALK THE MOON. I really love this post, Abby!! <3 One of my favorite things about music is how certain ones bring back certain memories. The nostalgia is just like... :')

    There's a song called "Enchanted" that makes me suuuuper nostalgic of a certain time in my life. It was originally by Taylor Swift, but the version I played on repeat was the obscure Owl City version. I'm almost afraid to listen to it... xD

    Again, LOVE this post!

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    1. WALK THE MOON is just super underrated as a band. I kind of like the sound of their new album-- it's more pop and mainstream in sound in comparison to Talking is Hard, but still good. And ugh, isn't nostalgia the best?

      OWL CITY. Two things: first, Owl City is highly underrated and needs to be appreciated more, and two, I've heard "Enchanted" and it is so so good. xD

      xoxo Abigail Lennah

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  8. This is such a cool post I might just have to use in the future (with credit of course)!

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    1. Oooh! If you do, send me a link! I'd love to listen. <3

      xoxo Abigail Lennah

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  9. I love the thought of making a high school playlist! I'll have to do that!

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    1. GRACE ANNE YOU SHOULD. Seriously, it will be the best.

      xoxo Abigail Lennah

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  10. This is a great idea! I hope that the last bit of your high school experience is amazing!! Congrats on it almost being over!

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    1. Sarah, you should do it! I think it would be an interesting way to also look back at all the different novels written throughout the years-- certain songs associated with a WIP or just describe one's character and then going off from there. And thank you! I've been behind on replying to comments but I'm trying to make a ton of decisions about what I'm doing after high school, thus why the absence!

      xoxo Abigail Lennah

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  11. Okay but can I just say how COOL THIS POST IS. Like, wowowowow. How you were able to categorize your music taste from the past four years is amazing (and then putting them into a playlist!). For me, that would have been so hard because I have the worst memory (sometimes).

    I used to never consider music as part of my life. I used to be able to live without it. BUT NOW I CAN'T. I am seriously addicted to it?? I can't go on my laptop without having my Spotify tab open. And now I actually listen to *full* albums instead of skipping around. I also make playlists! Which is odd for me to say because I used to be like "why do people make playlists??" and now I know why. But I'm not very good at it because once I like a few songs, they're all I ever listen to. So, all my playlists pretty much consist of the same songs.

    Also; WALK THE MOON. <33 I have been listening to the Love, Simon soundtrack 25/8 (as well as Simon's playlist curated by the author and actors from the movie) and I feel like you'd really love it. Here are the links:
    https://open.spotify.com/album/1JHZTusMlrbbTBC3xHt2Gw?si=7FnyLEwtR_OIwHl9F_3s3g

    https://open.spotify.com/user/aeaiibuafecotoqmt54vu98af/playlist/2kuZGn1Vf621qyofufvezT?si=6dFyK2ViTIivYUI4Agswrw

    Let me know what you think! :}

    xx Kenzie

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    1. Haha, I'm known to have crazy organizational skills... but they usually pop up in some of the most non-essential places (mostly in the things I do to relax and whatnot). Although, it wasn't that hard-- I'd recommend looking at past playlists or YouTube history threads to see what was going on during that time period. I'd also recommend old journal entries (I don't journal but I feel like it's a good place to look), blog posts, and movies or shows you loved during time periods, since a lot of music tastes come from soundtracks, just like from "Love, Simon's" (which I still need to listen to which is CRAZY).

      There's only two playlists I can listen to full straight ahead. I think that's the difference between you and I-- you're good at listening to everything in full but I can't do that whereas remembering things falls under my forte. I WILL LISTEN TO LOVE, SIMON TODAY. I'll let you know once I finish listening.

      xoxo Abigail Lennah

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  12. I love this so much!! I love the little snippets you put in with each song.

    (also omg wrapping up high school is so hard. i've been trying to work through it recently).

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    1. The snippets just bring so much more life to the songs. ^.^

      (Yes oh my gosh like it hadn't hit me but right now as I'm working through graduation gifts it's starting to hit me).

      xoxo Abigail Lennah

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Stay strong and wonderful!
xoxo Abigail Lennah