What is your favorite song?
In March, I went to Indiana for the weekend to visit my grandparents and decided to leave my phone at home, prompted by my exhaustion, simply, of constantly being on it. I didn’t announce my absence—I just left it in a box in my room as I gathered my bags and packed the car to leave.
I knew it would be difficult to go a weekend without snapchatting my friends, scrolling through Instagram, or just having my phone by my side as the safety blanket it is.
But I didn’t really take into account how difficult it would be to go three days without music.
I look forward to long car rides—the two hours it takes to get to Indiana, specifically—because I can spend an uninterrupted, lengthy amount of time simply listening to whatever music I’m in the mood for.
I queue the perfect soundtrack for the two minutes it takes to toast a bagel, so a two-hour car ride without my music was absolutely terrible. And in that instant I really, really, really missed my phone.
That weekend, I missed my phone in the silent moments where music usually fills the empty space.
We fill the abysses of everyday life with music. I fill the abysses of everyday life with music. My days are full, even if I feel particularly empty. My days are full of songs—constantly filling the silences, constantly playing in the background, constantly accompanying me wherever I go.
Music is fluid art that fills the silence, but it can do more than that.
It can stir up memories and feelings: vivid nostalgia.
“Hummingbird” by Wilco floods senior Sam Werkema’s head with memories of his dad sitting on the porch and playing the guitar while singing the wistful tune.
Music is fluid art that can stir up emotions, but it can also put emotions into check. Acting as a calm cushion between heart and reality, the right song can bring you back to the present moment and remind you what really matters.
For senior Lily Crook, that song is “Vienna” by Billy Joel.
“It’s one of those timeless songs that just calms me. It reminds me [that] I cannot do everything at once. Instead, I must take everything in stride.”
Songs are emotions in themselves, I think, and sometimes you just need to hear that emotion in order to sort out whatever emotion you’re feeling.
Some songs can just fit for any feeling, though—any time, any occasion, any instance where the silence is too loud.
For senior Cole Kaminski, that song is “Beggars” by Matt Maeson—a song that comes on right when he needs it.
“It reminds me that something like my math grade, or money in the song, isn’t the key to happiness or even life. It’s okay to not be exceptional, and it’s okay to hurt. But, my favorite part of the song is in the chorus: ‘…because we’ll be damned if we let it keep us down.’ It has such a needed denial of the idea that we have to be sad something isn’t working out the way we need it to. Sometimes in life it’s okay to just let go. It’s okay to lean back and let things play out.”
It’s these impactful and meaningful songs that fill the silences of everyday life. The vividly nostalgic songs, the grounding songs, the calm songs, the upbeat songs, the background songs, and everything in between.
My days are full of songs like these, and during the weekend where I was away from my phone, there was nothing to accompany me on simply living. There was nothing to fill the silence.
And that silence was unbearably loud.