“Alexa, play ‘a soundtrack’ playlist on Spotify”


I’ve always been a firm believer that any musical genre can alter people’s moods. For myself, indie artists are like my best friends—they seem to understand what’s going on in my life on a deeper level than anyone else. I put them all under one playlist so that I could hit shuffle and soak in the energy they give off.

While this playlist went by a different name when I created it, it soon became “a soundtrack.” It started as just a cool title when I had nothing else, but I quickly realized the importance of this seemingly insignificant name. The green shuffle button has been hit over a hundred times in one week, month after month, for the past year and a half. This playlist has become the soundtrack of my life. 

On Sept. 27th, 2020, I added my first song: “Daddy Issues” by the Neighbourhood. Like most songs I had been listening to that year, I heard this one for the first time on TikTok. Most alternative pieces that I, along with other people on social media, were accustomed to were mainstream and so common that they began to lose their individuality. But, this song never grows monotonous in its comforting and familiar sound. For people wanting to dabble in a new genre, this single is the perfect way to ease in. 

During the first month of this playlist, I had added most songs that were familiar to the public, but in December, I started to insert singles that meant a lot to me in my individual experiences. 

Somewhere, in the back of my mind, I can recall American rock band Neon Trees playing on the radio in the prime of my youth. Only a few lyrics of this song were recognizable to me until I came across it again. “Everybody Talks” was like a foggy childhood memory that held little value to me. But now, this is a song I will never skip. 

While I can’t directly correlate the artists or beat to one distinct memory, it represents a time in my life where my dad would burn CDs for me, and I would listen to the radio whenever I could—when I first truly fell in love with music. 

Two of the best love songs to ever be written were added at the start of 2021. “Yours” by Evann McIntosh and “Cupid’s Chokehold / Breakfast in America” by Gym Class Heroes hold a special place in my heart, not because of the memories made with them playing the background, but because of what they represent. 

I’ve been in love multiple times in my life, and each time I learn something new about myself. These two singles are undeniably the glue that holds my experiences together. Whenever I listen to them, my mind is flooded with happy echoes. Having positive tunes to help me recall that warm, fuzzy feeling is what guides me into my healthy state of mind today. It’s always uplifting to look back on those moments in time.

Over the summer months, May through August, most of the songs were sent to me from friends. “Stargazing,” again by the Neighbourhood, was first played for me on a late-night drive through urban west Michigan. I can’t recall what we were doing out so late but I know, for a fact, that I was listening closely to the lyrics as my best friend yelled them out the window.

“She’s My Collar (feat. Kali Uchis)” by Gorillaz was introduced to me by my neighbor who had been a super fan of the English virtual band for multiple years. While we were sitting in her living room, the virtual assistant, Alexa, switched from something calm to this alternative song. While my friend didn’t flinch at the sudden change, I was intrigued by the subtle elements of hip-hop and rap that weren’t usually at the top of my list for music genres. 

In mid-September, “a soundtrack” was home to a wide variety of music and over the past year had become a daily part of my life. I had gained a new way of coping with stress that I never had paid any mind to in years prior. 

In my opinion, this October was the best month for new releases but also resurfacing old ones. “New Person, Same Old Mistakes” by Tame Impala, first presented to the public in 2015, has, since my discovery, become my favorite single to listen to when I need empowerment. 

Likewise, added nineteen days ago, “abcdefu (angrier)” by GAYLE has helped me to realize the importance of feeling emotions as they face you, not just pushing them away. While this theme struck me indirectly, without it, I would keep all of my thoughts on the inside and, eventually, erupt like a volcano. 

Hopefully, this is only the start of this playlist’s strong influence on my mood and views on the world. While some singles are conventionally sad, they help me to cope with how I’m feeling in that moment. Being able to revisit those emotions at a later time shows improvement. 

While “a soundtrack” started as a place to keep all of my favorites, it soon became a safe haven and a home for all of my feelings to feel validated. I heavily suggest creating a playlist to house your memories and authenticate your desires. Without these eight and half hours of music stuck on replay, I would feel lost; these songs have been there when I needed them the most.

You deserve to feel loved and heard. Through your favorite artists, albums, and singles, they can help you to satisfy those cravings of contentment and peace. Before turning to negative strategies of healing, try music—it can become your biggest supporter.