It is strange the way that we associate music with memories.
It is like a strong perfume that is impossible to disassociate with an era.
There are songs I cannot listen to because I was sad during the month it was in my playlist, or even because I feel that I have moved on from that time period. I now listen to a song knowing that one day, likely very soon, I will have grown out of this small era and will associate the song with the general mood of the month.
Small things in life change rapidly, including the clothes you choose, the breakfast you eat, your daily routine, the people you talk to, and the music you hear. Listening to music from a different era of mine often makes me feel uncomfortable, even if it was a good era, simply because I am not there anymore. It reminds me that times have changed, even if it is month to month.
Sometimes I regret listening to the same four songs day after day on my drive to school because I know what I am building. It will be a memory for my future self to listen to and reflect.
The automatic association of music and memories is hard to shake. They are not implicit memories, it is the general tone of the era that went unrecognized until you hear the songs and realize the moment has passed.
Music is everywhere, even if you do not realize it. It could be playing in a shop you are walking by, or it could be someone playing the trumpet on Hollywood Boulevard.
There are so many different genres of music, for example, pop and blues. Radio shows like Kiss FM and the Heat predominantly play popular songs, like Good Days by SZA. You can find any music genre of your liking on the radio. Music streaming sites such as Apple Music and Spotify allow listeners to create playlists to their liking.
Listening to music one thing, but making it something else. Being able to sing a song or play a chord on the guitar is another feeling. Making music is so moving and beautiful. Even if you are not good at it, making music is an art form. Depending on your mood, for instance, sad music is a very different mood than happy music.
Music is all around us, and it is being made and listened to every single second of every single day.
Although the air is frigged on this winter night, we drive around blasting music with the windows down.
Why one may ask?
Because sometimes there’s no purer form of joy than singing your favorite songs with two of your favorite people.
In that moment, all your fears and worries fly out the open window and you are living in the moment, watching two people sing and smile with every word that leaves their mouth.
This is one of the moments that you would replay over and over again when you rest your head on the pillow for nights to come.
I would not trade the little moments like this for anything.
So the simple answer to why we drive around with the windows down on a frigged winter night is simply for the joy of it, because in the end, you only have once chance to make memories like this with the ones you love.
The fembots. An early sign of the objectification and sexualization of the woman in pop culture.
Ironically, “FEMBOTS” is the title of her strictly female artist playlist on Spotify. It’s still an early adaptation of a playlist that has the potential to go down in user oliviarosebrown5’s history as the best of her creation.
Once a month, I find myself grazing over the 20 playlists that each have their own emotions: pain, reminisce, serenity, pure joy.
My feminist playlist was something that came to me over the years. Artists and songs that represented what it meant to be a strong woman were scattered over my several playlists.
I found Eryn Allen Kane with Leon Bridges,
Janet and Whitney with Michael,
And Maggie in a junk drawer of alternative music.
Each of them deserved to have their voices heard with clairity and without that pressure of male artists.
“Fembots” is filled with female artists that taught me what it meant to love music the way I do. And not only that, they taught me about… life.
The eerie yet poetic nature of Chloe and Halle as they ponder human impatience.
Amber recreating a masterpiece with a new perspective while still preaching love’s power.
Janet understanding that we don’t understand what we have until its gone.
The confidence in being lost and letting ourselves be free from conformity is from Sabrina.
Jamila offers “A Psalm Of Self-Love.”
The female artist that I have loved since I was a little girl dancing in her underwear has taught me more than what is reflected here but that’s for me to keep in my back pocket.
When I was young, I had straight hair: golden, shiny, long curly hair. People would say, “Olivia, your hair is beautiful, don’t ever touch it.” In a sense, I felt quite pompous because of my hair. I knew people were attracted to it. My mother called it mermaid’s hair and I took extreme pride in the comment. I loved the attention my hair drew; it became key to my identity. Being young and blind to cultural and social cues, I flaunted my hair and reveled in the jealousy of others.
But then I grew up. I stopped living in the trance of my innocence. I became aware of the culture of my family and I didn’t know where I fit into that.
Being African American, Filipina, and Caucasian, I was surrounded by many cultures at a young age but grew up in a town where the ethnicity was mainly white which was reflected in my appearance with my long, straight, golden hair. The blonde hair that tickled my back as I walked side to side was a label for things that I didn’t understand at five years old, and that was my heritage. My hair was not the type of hair that you would see on a little black girl.
My African American family and my Filipina grandmother would always have something to say about my hair. It was too frizzy or too straight and never right for their standards.
As I grew older and insecurities rose, my hair became frizzier, longer, and harder to manage. During my middle school years, I was confused and grappling with a loss of identity. With no relationship with my heritage, and trying to guide myself through my pre-teen years, my hair reflected the struggles I was facing. My hair was developing, and so was I, but I didn’t know how to control it. It and I were lost, and this struggle for a sense of identity lasted years.
Then something happened during the summer between my freshman and sophomore year where I felt a sense of need. So, I cut my hair, all of it, and I felt fantastic. A fresh, ear-length, haircut was what I needed to not only feel confident but awake.
My sophomore year of high school was a major awakening for me and my relationship with my ethnic identity. I understood the history of blacks in America as I began to read poems from Maya Angelou and read about corrupt African American communities in the works of Toni Morrison. I explored music relating to the struggles of black men and women, and began to experience my culture. I also felt a need to connect to my Filipina heritage as well. I began to cook more of my grandmother’s traditional Filipino recipes and shared them with my friends and family that didn’t understand my culture.
My hair reflected the feelings that I was developing for my culture. It was curly, big, darker in color, and felt like me. I finally accomplished the sense of identity that I had been searching for in my young teenage years. I wasn’t just a girl, living in caucasian town with frizzy uncontrolled hair. I was a woman, who knew what she wanted and who she was who just so happened to have big curly locks on her head.
Now, I love my hair just like I loved it when I was a little girl. I am able to bounce my curls all day without feeling the judgment of my family. I don’t care about what people have to say about my looks and how I am not enough in terms of my heritage.
Sometimes, I find myself being guided through life through the wisdom of songs. From songs that don’t have lyrics to songs that only have lyrics, melodies will always lay a path for me to follow. Being 17, I have a lengthy list of songs that have shaped me.
As by Steve Wonder has taught me how to love the people through all four seasons, through thick and thin, through the mysteries of tomorrow. I learned how to love, always.
Man in the Mirror, MJ; This song was, in my memory, the first song that highlighted the less fortunate. At a young age, I realized how blessed I was to have a roof over my head and a full plate of food 3 times a day.
All for You, homegirl, Janet; The “I just wanna have a fun” song of the 2000s.
Superwoman by Alicia Keys. I am SUPERWOMAN, yes I am and yes she is! Alicia, thank you for teaching me that being a woman is super! I have never been more proud!
Fade Into You, Mazzy Star; The song that sends me into a mindset of creativity, and lets me let go of the worries from the day like fading into a different dimension of my mind.
Cobrastyle by Teddybears takes me to Venice, California, windows down, with my father behind the wheel and my brother in the passenger seat.
Me, Myself and I by Beyonce makes me believe in the power of me. I do not need a man to support myself, fuel myself, provide for myself, or feel good about myself.
This is just a mere look into my childhood but each of these songs are inspiring and evoke vivid images of happiness. From my mother dancing in the living room to my dad telling my brother about his latest music find, my family has inspired my preference in music and I am proud.
Theater is one of my favorite things in the world. And though I have the talent of a rock, and would never participate in any musicals ever, I love watching them and over the past couple years my obsession with Broadway has grown stronger. So, I decided to compose a list of my favorite Broadway shows and movie musicals and why.
10. Dear Evan Hansen: I haven’t seen this musical yet, but I am obsessed with the soundtrack, and I really hope I get to see it one day.
9. The Lion King: There’s no reason why this musical is low on my list, because I loved it with all my heart. I was in awe during the whole production with the costume design, music, and set, and would recommend it to anyone, but it’s not a show I would go see a second time unless I went with a friend who would really want to go.
8. The Greatest Showman: This is only a musical, but there are rumors that a Broadway production of it is in the making. This was my favorite movie during all of 2017. I loved everything about this musical movie. The music, the actors, the story, all of it. So much so that I saw it three times in the theater within three weeks, and several times after that on the plane.
7. Wicked: This one should definitely be higher on my list, but I have too many musicals to mention, so this had to be right here. I’ve seen Wicked at least three times because every time it goes to my city my family has tickets. It was the first musical I’ve ever watched and it’s been one of my favorites since.
6. Kinky Boots: To describe this musical in one word, I’d say iconic. A Broadway show about drag queens? With a powerful, positive, feel-good story and catchy as heck tunes? I stan it. Plus, Brendon Urie was a part of it over the summer, which started my obsession with the musical, but isn’t the only reason I love the production. The show’s amazing with or without him and I saw it with David Cook and he was amazing in it. I’m gonna miss this show when it closes in April. #Revival
5. Mamma Mia: Anyone who knows me knows this musical is bound to be on my list whether they decide to read this or not. This is my favorite movie. I’ve never seen the live production of it, but I’ve watched the movie at least 100 times and if I could revive any Broadway show it’d be this one (or Newsies).
4. Hamilton: Do I need to explain why Hamilton’s so high up? I’ll probably have to say why it’s not my favorite, but this musical is amazing. There’s a reason why it’s so freaking popular. It’s a rap musical and all the dialogue is done rapping, there’s no simply talking except for maybe two times in the whole production. I was lucky to see this show with my aunt last year in Los Angeles with tenth row seats and it was the most magical three hours of my life. Additionally, history is one of my favorite subjects and this musical was a modern production on a story from almost three hundred years ago with a diverse cast and an incredible soundtrack.
3. The Book of Mormon: I dedicated a whole blog post to this show last year, but it didn’t do it 100% justice for how amazing it was. This show was hilarious and I went into it skeptical that I was gonna like it, but I loved every part of it. The second it comes to California again I’m buying tickets and I’m anticipating the moment I get to go watch it again.
2. Phantom of the Opera: I get to finally see this musical during summer time and I’ve been wanting to see it more than anything since I watched the movie on Netflix last summer. As of now, it’s still the longest running Broadway musical and I still haven’t seen it, but that will change… hopefully. But, it’s still reserved this spot on my list because I am obsessed with the story, despite how high-key toxic the relationship between the Phantom and Christine is. But, that’s what makes the story so interesting and addicting to watch.
1. Aladdin: This show is the most underrated popular show in Broadway right now. Aladdin is my favorite Disney movie, but watching the Broadway version was the most magical three hours of my life. I remember at one point I had to close my eyes because the costume and set design were so insane with bright lights and glitter that it was blinding. I never saw so many dancers in sync and so many perfect voices in harmony together in one song. I remember when the show ended, and my aunt, sister, and I were all leaving the theatre and I was in a daze for the rest of the night. Then the next day, I wanted to return.
This was a really long list, but if you’ve made it to the end, I 100% recommend you go to any of these shows and you’ll have the best experience ever.