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The playlist that saved my world

June 24, 2010

Last summer, I interned at UCLA Today and getting there literally drove me crazy. Don’t get me wrong — the internship was fabulous — that wasn’t the part that sent me over the edge. Driving to and from  work was what drove me crazy. The early morning traffic on the 405 and the late night bumper to bumper on the way home was more than I could bear. I listened to the radio. I made mix CDs. I sang to myself. I tried to write. But every single attempt at sanity during the hours I spent on that goddamned stretch of cement only shared one thing in common: they all ended the same way — in tears.

So, when I got an internship at the LA Times this summer, one could understand that I was nervous about ending up in a similar situation. I saw a repeat of summer 2009 — monotony, paralyzing boredom, sadness and waste. Thank whatever God may — or may not — exist: I told myself I wouldn’t give up on the music solution. I said to myself one lonely night, “Emilia, music will pull you through the traffic — it has to! There is nothing you love more! You just have to find — the perfect playlist.”

So, I sat down at my iTunes and began meticulously choosing songs, analyzing lyrics, melody, catchiness, length (to maximize the amount of songs the CD would hold). I went through several drafts, but when I looked at the finished product of each, I was still uneasy. “These tunes need to get me through the crippling hellfire that is 405 rush hour traffic — they can’t just be any songs …”

But then it hit me — they could. I decided right then to just choose the songs that I remembered having stuck in my head. The important thing about these songs, though, was that, once stuck in my head, I was happy they were there. They were songs where I’d think, “Gosh, I’m glad I can’t get this one out of my skull — it’s a goddamned great song!”

Amazingly, they came flowing to me like oil in the Gulf Coast! (Too soon? Oh, bad taste, Emilia!) Before I knew it, I had 23 songs on my playlist, and I was ready to burn a CD! These are the songs I came up with — tell me if you see a pattern here …

1. Obvious — Blink-182

2. First Date — Blink-182

3. Go — Blink-182

4. The Girl at the Rock Show — Blink-182

5. Going Away to College — Blink-182

6. Stay Together for the Kids — Blink-182

7. Don’t Leave Me — Blink-182

8. Asthenia — Blink-182

9. Dysentery Gary — Blink -182

10. Not Now — Blink-182

11. Feeling This — Blink-182

12. Down — Blink -182

13. Dumpweed — Blink-182

14. Here’s Your Letter — Blink-182

15. What’s My Age Again? — Blink-182

16. Man Overboard — Blink-182

17. Aliens Exist — Blink-182

18. Anthem — Blink-182

19. Violence — Blink-182

20. Stockholm Syndrome — Blink-182

21. Easy Target — Blink-182

22. I’m Bo Yo — Bo Burnham

23. Drive On, Driver — The Magnetic Fields

Yes, yes, okay, okay, it is essentially a customized Blink-182 Greatest Hits album — but I have to say, I have never been happier with my choices in a mix CD. I have had the same CD now for two weeks straight, and I still get that warm rush of joy and excitement every single time the next song comes on. I’m always equally eager and energetic to rap along with Bo Burnham’s witty lyrics — and I always burst with passion when I hear the pain in Mark’s voice when he sings Here’s Your Letter. I feel Tom’s nervous energy as he sings First Date, and I, too, wish that I could make that song last forever and ever. As I drive along to Drive On Driver, the Magnetic Fields give me a sense of calm and relaxation I never thought was possible on the crowded, angry, polluted 405 — and I never thought I could be so in love while sandwiched in the throes of bumper to bumper traffic as I am when I hear the opening riff to Dumpweed — but love I feel and sadness is as foreign as the aliens about whom Tom so innocently sings in Aliens Exist.

I could honestly go through each song on that CD and tell you why it keeps me sane. But I’m not going to. Because: 1. I don’t have to explain myself to you, 2. I don’t want to have to explain myself to you, and, 3. If you can’t just look at those songs and believe me when I tell you that they’re saving my life, then, quite frankly, you don’t deserve my time/energy/words.

I love you, Bo Burnham; I love you, The Magnetic Fields.

I love you so much, Blink-182. What would I do without my holy trinity? Oh yeah, I’d go crazy in traffic … again.

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. Jesse Swedlund permalink
    June 24, 2010 11:38 pm

    I came when I saw this playlist.

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