Three songs have brought color to my life

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Unfortunately, my PicsArt skills aren't good enough to create something better than this.

When Kanye West said he had synesthesia, I instantly thought I did too. The reason? I wanted to be him.

I, thirteen and a middle school girl, wanted to be Kanye, a successful middle-aged man.

Yet despite this perplexing moral dilemma middle school me dealt with, it put synesthesia on the map; rather, it described what I had always thought was normal: color association to music.

While I don’t know if I have downright, top-of-the-line synesthesia, I often associate images and colors to music. If I close my eyes and just listen, nothing more, nothing less, the notes become something else in my mind, just like Kanye.

Middle school me, I hope you’re proud to be somewhat like Kanye, yet I wouldn’t say we’re completely similar. Since for me, not every song brings a world to light in my eyes; not every song makes me stop to let the beauty sink in. There are songs that are faint wisps of whirling color winds, and there are songs that practically drown me in bursts of blues.

And as I’ve had copious hours to lay on my futon during quarantine—I have a bed, but for some reason, a futon just fits “I’m having an absurdist and existential crisis and need music to help” better—I’ve been able to find songs, old and new, that bring something more than just harmonies to the table—songs I want to share.

“Ride My Bike” by Maude Latour

By random chance—maybe destiny for those who don’t have a nihilistic view on life—fellow writer Linus Kaechele sent me an excited 2 am text simply saying, “listen to ride my bike by maude latour.” And I’m the type of person who’ll do anything once, embodying the idiom “curiosity killed the cat.”

But “Ride My Bike” didn’t kill me; it astounded me within moments. It drew a new world in three minutes and fifteen seconds.

Starting off with a techno-distorted voice, Maude compares riding her bike to love, and for some reason, it’s not cheesy. Her voice then continuously clears, starting a path of deep blues as if building a road—a road that crumbles at the power of her neon words when she mentions a runner’s high.

Somehow, someway, she translates that runner’s high to flashing, color-packed notes, and it’s an explosion. Each word is so captivating in color that it’s a song I cannot turn off. It’s an addiction. I’m simply addicted to the feeling of seeing those colors implode for me over and over again like a firework show behind my eyelids.

And yet that’s not the best part for me, because two minutes in, the flashing disappears to make way for something much more. Maude’s switch in voice to rhythmic singing-speaking paired to subdued drum beat (I honestly don’t know instruments well enough to be 100% sure if it’s a drum) brings the blue back in bright blooms. She embodies the excitement she’s building in her voice, being so real, so raw, that I get butterflies as she once more explodes into her runner’s high.

That–that’s good music. That’s beautiful music that’s so much more than notes.

In her voice, her emotions, her unique take and natural process to music makes “Ride My Bike” into its own movie, and I’m glad to have found her (and followed her religiously on Instagram) to see how her vibrant, kaleidoscopic songs will bring her star(sick)dom.

“Wolfcat” by Still Woozy

Still Woozy, whose real name is Sven, is the epitome of laid-back dream pop. Every single one of his songs is on my everyday playlist, and while he doesn’t have many out, each one has millions of streams on Spotify.

“Wolfcat,” in particular, has 19,171,413 as of 1 am.

I stop when I hear the subtle introduction to this song. I have to. It’s a song so delicate, yet powerful, that I have to appreciate the nearly three minutes of my day it captivates.

Still Woozy fuses lavender and pools of peach into a cascade in my mind, amplifying the intoxicating mixture when he lengthens the “o” in the word love, highlights the “I” in “terrifies you,” and effortlessly elongates the “y” in “everything you do.” And while he heightens these tones throughout the song, it’s never flashy—not that flashy is bad—as that would be against his overall approach to music.

Instead, he enriches his song slowly, from a gentle beat at the start to the curtain closing at the end as instruments are pulled from the song. He maintains this mellow mood, establishing a soundtrack to my dreams. It’s so calm, so peaceful, so delicate that it’s enthralling; I lose myself to the colors as they intertwine with the whimsical words.

With “Wolfcat” playing, I want to explore the French Alps, find out more about myself, binge old cartoons on a Saturday night. I want it to build a musical mosaic of color behind my eyelids as the peachy pinks flow into earthy browns, proving they have a mind of their own as they crash to the beat.

And it’s not just “Wolfcat”; it’s Still Woozy as a whole. Every song, every beat, every note makes me see something—anything—from subdued hues to fuzzy shapes. He crafts a dream, and “Wolfcat” is one I never want to wake up from.

I want to see the world in its vignette.

“boys in bands” by Silver Sphere

The “Uh, hey Silver” start to this song—muffled yet prominent—gives me chills. My mind goes grey, waiting for Silver Sphere’s voice to chime in. And she does; she always does.

Her voice breezes into the song accompanying an electronic techno beat, something I usually wouldn’t listen to. But the colors tie me down, aligning my vision to follow a prismatic purple line while dodging psychedelic shapes of vivid yellow, neon lime, and turquoise, all rallying around me.

This motley of color, of images, is a testament to Silver Sphere’s command during the song. Her voice is soft, never interrupting my vision, yet she’s commanding; she possesses a polychromatic power, and when she switches from a funk beat to a rounded, restoring one, her hushed voice turns my world to a vocal violet for mere seconds.

And once more, she brings those shapes back, weaving in and out of her musical storyline in “boys in bands” when the techno beat returns. Its what makes the song so unique—a perfect showcase of Silver Sphere’s talent. Without seeming choppy, she creates a song that takes me from a cosmic dance floor to a contemplative tunnel in seconds without ever feeling wrong.

It just all feels perfect and effortlessly planned. (Read a more in-depth review on Silver Sphere here by Abby Wright).

The honesty in her lyrics with “I’m a sucker for people who never come back” centers the song from straying too far into the galaxy she’s exploring in her music, but the casual electronic beat provides flashes of light as if in a disco, taking me to another planet. A planet constructed by Silver Sphere meant as a safe haven for her songs, for experiences like this where you just need to take a moment to breathe, to listen, to see something more.

Simply put, this song immaculately illustrates what I’d imagine intergalactic pop to be; it’s a teleportation to another world full of vibrant and upbeat colors that are infinitely better than what middle school me thought Kanye was making.

And like Still Woozy, this dreamy space pop never fails me no matter Silver Sphere’s song, and for that, I think she deserves her own planet full of adoring fans.