Welcoming the new year with a playlist slash train of thought thing post

Context slash prologue slash explanation slash apology

In a few hours (at least from the time I started typing this), I’ll be switching from my blue, self-bought, expensive, severely underutilized 2023 journal to a new leatherbound, gifted-by-a-friend, thick-leaved (thick-leafed?) 2024 journal which I will be using to death next year – I can still say next year because it’s 21:03 right now, just around three hours to another new cycle.

Right now I’d like to repeat an old high school ritual of mine: make a playlist-slash-train-of-thought-journal-thing focused on one theme by picking one song from all my liked songs, turning on shuffle, and letting the algorithm work its mystical algorithmic wonders.

The song I’m choosing to start the playlist off with is Pinegrove’s Aphasia, from their live at the Wellmont Theater in Montclair, NJ. The songs I put in are going to be interspersed with my thoughts and reflections in a semi-complete documentation of what I’m thinking (I will try to edit as I type and maybe after), so… this is going to be long. Sorry.

But that’s alright and I’m excited. I haven’t been writing since April, so I shall now abuse my power as blog creator and writer. Now, without further ado, here goes the thought party.

The songs (and in between, the mess of thoughts)

(1) Aphasia (Montclair, NJ) – Pinegrove

I feel like once every 50 times I listen to Aphasia, I get hit by a new epiphany. My latest one was a few weeks ago during a particularly emotional personal moment. I listened to Aphasia when I was calming down, and somehow its meaning completely shifted for me. The first thousand times I heard it, I thought breakup song, but now, nope – that’s not it. It became a song about self-realization and control and personal freedom on a level even higher than I’d initially thought. Now that I’m typing this down I feel like this should go in a whole other post. (Note to self: make this a whole other post)

So instead of digesting and regurgitating out the entire interpretation, I’ll just talk about my favorite part of the song (if this is even possible where the entire song is at favorite level) starting where Evan scream-sings “But if I don’t have you by me then I’ll go underground.” And then with a slightly softer certainty, “Nah but what you got was in your reaches all along | Plus one day you’ll be reaching for me and I’ll be gone”. And then the instruments slow a tiny bit and Evan croons, “So to help remind myself I wrote this little song”. AND THIS NEXT PART which Evan and the crowd scream-sing and which I have never failed to sing without my soul choking on its tears rooted from some inexplicable emotion:

One day I won’t need your love | One day I won’t define myself by the one I’m thinking of | And if one day I won’t need it | Then one day you won’t need it |

And then the guitars and the drums and everything just swell and it’s even more something in the Montclair live and I wish to my deepest core that I was there or at least that I get to attend one, just one Pinegrove concert in my lifetime, because this is sacred, and it’s this moment in this song and in other special songs that I love that remind me of a line I love from Tiffanie DeBartolo’s How to Kill a Rock Star (which I need to remind myself to cover in an upcoming series I want to start here on revisiting nostalgic favorites and whether they hold up, Note to Self #2) – sorry where was I, the line:

But the guitars made sounds guitars didn’t always make. Symphonic sounds. Sacred sounds. The music dug in so deep you didn’t hear it so much as feel it, reminding me of a dream I used to have when I was a kid, where I would be standing on a street corner, I would jump into the air, flap my arms, and soar up into the sky. That’s the only way I could describe the music. It was the sonic equivalent of flight.

Reading this description in the book for the first time in high school lent me the words to flesh out and expand the emotions I got when I listened to certain songs, and the entire entry turned into a measuring stick, a rubric that my soul ended up starting to use to decide on whether a song makes it into my throneroom – no not throneroom, that doesn’t feel right – my temple of favorite songs.

This playlist entry alone has taken me almost 30 minutes to write, and the entire six-minute-and-forty-six-second song has been on manual loop the entire time. It’s 22:08 now and I hear occasional fireworks, loud enough gunshot-like bangs that I hear them through the blaring of my earphones.

I’m 3 minutes and 46 seconds into the song now. Just let me listen out the last 3 minutes of flight and I’ll continue with the shuffle and the plan.

(2) Crystal Clear – Hayley Williams

I smiled as soon as I heard this intro. I included Crystal Clear in my butterflies playlist, a playlist I dedicated to my feelings for Ed and the relationship I saw with him and wanted to start. We listened to the playlist together in his car on our first date, the first day we met in person. It’s been over three years since then. I included this song for its resonance with my inner conflicting feelings at the time: that I didn’t want to rush into things, but I didn’t want to slow down either, that I wanted to keep things as they were, that I wanted to give our relationship a try.

A lot of this still holds true to this date. In fact no matter how deep I go into you the water is crystal clear. Ed and I have grown closer through experiences, through fights and arguments and disagreements and compromise and a lot of messiness, but a lot of clarity and candor and sincerity and respect and love. And through all of this, yes, the water still is crystal clear.

(3) FLOAT – Watsky

Smiling again: I am so happy how these first three songs have been three of my favorite artists.

FLOAT is one of Watsky’s newest songs, and to be honest this is the first time I’m going to be giving it a good following-along-with-the-lyrics-type-of-intensive-listening. It’s still one of those songs that are initially alien, that don’t hit the memory mark immediately, but then the artist’s voice or some distinctive feature comes in and it’s an auto-grin.

Lyric that hit me just now to the point that I have a strong urge to have it tattooed on my skin:

I wrote a note to self | I hope it helps | Can’t ghost yourself

Ok maybe I’ll hold off on the tattoo, but I definitely want to write an actual note in my journal now. With the song on loop in the background. Give me a minute or two.

Alright, that’s a good start to this 2024’s theme. Can’t ghost yourself. I won’t ghost myself. I’ll stop ghosting myself. I think I have a better vision of what I want to do with my journal now.

(4) Cadmium – Pinegrove

It isn’t possible to have too much Pinegrove in a playlist, so I’m grateful.

I hadn’t been writing for the past few minutes because I just started decorating, (here’s what it looks like so far!)

Yes, I’m aware that I used the word decorating but have only accomplished the placing of tape. Tape, by the way, that is purple and supposedly decorative and that I bought back in college.

Okay, a line in Cadmium made me look up and smile:

More every year | I shine a light on edges I tried to unfeel | But we gotta do better than that

Yes. I do gotta do better than that.

(5) Bizarre Love Triangle – New Order

This is the latest song (or one of the latest songs) in my oh so that’s what it was playlist.

Side note, wow I can’t believe it’s already 23:01.

(6) I Need You – Lynyrd Skynyrd

Alright time for an experiment: chalk on leather (soft leather? faux leather? I can’t tell, to be honest) and then covered with sealing nail polish.

I’ve had this chalk since… I don’t remember if I bought the box in high school or college.

I did an attic run (I’m going to call it that from now on) earlier and found the chalk, all still in this old box a friend gave me. I remember buying one of those big boxes of chalk, the square boxes that have multiple smaller compartments of chalk. I don’t remember where I used it, but at least I have this small pile.

(7) I Don’t Wanna Die Anymore – New Radicals

Ok I don’t think the sealing shine nail polish finish thing works and lets the chalk show through

(8) Anything, Anything – Dramarama

(9) Resolution – Matt Corby

(10) Hamza – House of Waters, Priya Darshini

(11) Violent Pornography – System of a Down

(12) The Chain (Life from Webster Hall) -Ingrid Michaelson

(13) Family Still – Told Slant

The dogs are scratching on the door right now, afraid of the occasional loud bangs. I love my mother and how, with her usual tough guy front, can be so soft. She’s comforting Salty and Eleph, telling them it’s okay.

(14) Landmines – St Vincent

It’s going to take a few moments before I reply to people again. By a few moments, I mean hours. A few hours. Less than a day, I hope.

(15) Julie June – A Silent Film

Time check: It’s 23:48. I’m pausing the music for now to check on my baby boys outside.

Time check: 00:47. Happy New Year. The dogs are alright, Eleph is hiding under the table and Salty’s taking it like a champ. The fireworks have subsided. Soothing music is playing to calm them down.

I have made progress on the cover.

And I’ll continue the music. Next step, reflecting and reminiscing.

(16) Brighter Than Sunshine – Aqualung

Wow, this is perfect.

(17) Umaapaw – Ang Bandang Shirley

Almost everything that’s played has been something I associate with my relationship with Ed. Is this a sign for something. HMMMM.

I’m feeling a tad teary after rummaging through some of my journal inserts from 2023 and seeing Mial’s meal stubs from her hospital stay last January-February.

I can’t believe my baby survived surgery this year. I can’t believe we went through all that. We made it.

Paused again, and now continuing. Talked to Ed. It’s a good new year.

(18) My Friend – Hayley Williams

(19) Burn, Baby, Burn – Sea Power

Ah yes. Disco Elysium, one of my favorites on my list of things for 2023. Which I will be posting. Later today? Or tomorrow. While the hangup is still new. Again.

(20) Bubbles – Yosi Horikawa

While reviewing my 2023 journal, I found that I hadn’t filled in the pages allotted for holidays and budget. At all. So I removed them. I’m planning to put them into the 2024 journal and put the pages to good use.

(21) Galit – Bullet Dumas

(22) BCKYRD – Hot Mulligan

(23) Achilles Come Down – Gang of Youths

(24) & (Audiotree Live Version) – Pinegrove

(25) Never Let This Go – Paramore

(26) The Love Wouldn’t Die – Trevor Hall

(27) Appointments – Julien Baker

(28) Blood Brothers – Iron Maiden

(29) Cardboard Castles – Watsky

(30) Misty – Ella Fitzgerald

(31) Fade Into You – Mazzy Star

(32) Rejoice (Audiotree Live Version) – Julien Baker

(33) Last Hope – Paramore

ALRIGHT I’m finally done with initial prepping of my journal!

It’s 3:57 right now and I guess I really need to sleep, and I do feel the tiredness starting to seep in but dammit at least let me finish this post haha.

(34) Smoke – Moddi

I’m uber suspicious of this algorithm by the way. It’s been playing songs that are somehow… nostalgic? In a sense? I don’t know how to explain it. Maybe I’m just surprised because it hasn’t been playing the usual songs that come out when I rely on the algorithm. It’s refreshing.

Alright, now I just need to go through the post and make all the formatting edits then I can publish, baby.

Am I sure about this? Yes. Releasing more of the chaos of my mind? Yes.

(35) Surround Me – LEON

(36) Bittersweet – Lianne La Havas

The house is quiet now, and not eerily so. The music fills my head with no more banging, no more Amazing Race (parents were watching the latest season earlier, they’ve always been huge fans), no more YouTube game commentary meme something video (Mial), no more scratching or barking (the dogs). The candle’s flame is getting weaker, slowly. Twenty minutes tops and it’s going to die. Maybe that’s a good indicator of when I should stop and go to sleep. When the flame goes out.

The photos finished uploading. Now to put the final touches on this weird ass first post of the year.

(37) bedroom community – glass beach

(38) Hold Me Like a Grudge – Fall Out Boy

(39) Little Lion Man – Mumford & Sons

(40) Formidable – Stromae

(41) Earth – Imogen Heap

My eyes are getting heavy and the candle is really almost out.

(42) Dark Blue – Jack’s Mannequin

I’m yawning and my eyes are starting to tear. Just need to finish attaching links.

(43) What is Grief, if Not Love Persevering – I Am Dreamer

(44) Irokousui (色香水) – Yoh Kamiyama

Yes. Horimiya. I love Horimiya, it’s a gem and I’ll write more about it in another post.

(45) If I Get High – Nothing But Thieves

The candle’s out and I’m nodding off. I’ll finish this when I wake up and cap at 50 songs max!

(46) 7 Billion People All Alive At Once – And So I Watch You From Afar

Dear lord it’s 4:51 and I still haven’t slept. Stop. Side note: I’m putting the Live with Ulster Orchestra version because that’s my favorite.

Time check: 4:54. I’m regaining a bit of energy. Awesome.

(47) H. – TOOL

(48) One Song Glory – Adam Pascal

(49) Innocence – NoisyCell

(50) Asleep – The Smiths

I KID YOU NOT, this came up for our lucky number 50. Algorithms are modern day gods who see all and try to influence us mortals through their media calculation suggestion things.

I apologize profusely, this post has been getting more and more unhinged towards the end. Blame sleep deprivation.

Epilogue slash sleepiness

Time check: 5:18. This turned out to be more of a journal commentary accompaniment thing. I think I’ll put in lyrics for the other songs, the ones I believe can resonate with this year.

Later. After I sleep. For now, publish – and then update with lyrics after.

5:26. Good night and happy new year. Here’s to better sleep the rest of the year.


It's 17:57 right now and I just finished fixing all the links. I've decided against filling in the spaces after a lot of the songs, I think I'd like this entry more if it preserved exactly what I was typing, when I had time to type, and when I was busy working on my rituals. It's perfect as it is.

So that's it, then. This is going to be a good year.

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