Playlists and plotlines

I used to have specific playlists for specific stories I read. Ever since I began reading books on the laptop, I started making playlists suited for each book. It’s just a habit I got into unintentionally. I did enjoy it too. Today I spent the day making new playlists, started revisiting old songs that I hadn’t listened to in ages.

I’ve come a long way, from music with a catchy tune to music with poignant lyrics. My music had to match the plotline in my head. That’s just the way it worked. Sometimes you forget the songs you heard as a teenager. To be honest, everything I listened to wasn’t memorable. At one point I felt like I was suddenly meeting an alter ego of mine. I am so glad my taste in music has improved like my taste in books.

I suppose when I started off I was heavily influenced by my sister’s taste considering she was my portal to western music. Without her, I wouldn’t know artists in the 90s and the early 2000s. After a point, I developed my own taste and started listening to really emo and non-mainstream music. That was my rebellious phase when I was interested in talent and not catchy tunes. Now I listen to anything I find from trash to gold and everything in between.

It used to be a matter of pride for me to be able to know every word of every song, I was a passionate bathroom singer. But once I realised my musical talents were at best subpar, I made peace with humming. Now I try to recall words and I end up singing gibberish. It doesn’t help that I can remember the most nonsensical of lyrics to songs and jingles I don’t even like.

I can see clear phases in my songs and I suppose somebody could chart the course of my life through my music. There’s a lot there I wish I could somehow go back and stop myself from listening to. I realised today that songs can also be regrets, who would have thought? There are also some songs I only today realised the meaning of. What seemed absolutely innocent when I was ten is now forever ruined, and to think I used to sing it around the house thinking I was the coolest kid to know the song. Now I understand why my sister told me to stop singing those songs and why my parents gave me looks when I did. I used to think it was the generation gap.

Then there are all those songs that are beyond me. I don’t even know how they came to be a part of my playlists. Those songs that neither have a tune nor a lyric, absolutely uninspiring to say the least. Just like in all other areas of my life I happen to be a hoarder in music too. I can go for years without cleaning up space on my music folder.

Whenever I thought I should delete a song I’d think, “What if I want to listen to it someday? I’d have to download it again so let me just leave it there.” Then after two years when suddenly a lyric jumps into my head without a tune and I hurry to find the song because I can’t sleep without knowing which song it is, I get annoyed that I have to scroll down listening to two years’ worth of forgettable music trying to identify which one it is.

Today as I watched some really good movies, I realised which songs could be a perfect background score for them. Somehow in my head I know I can be a great composer, actor, singer, dancer, TV host, in short great at everything but in reality, my talents beg to differ. My music today showed me exactly how I’ve grown, even my diary couldn’t have done a better job.

I could identify the phase where my sister annoyed me, then when my parents annoyed me, then the time I hated school, the phase of crushing on celebrities, the phase of being frustrated with life and then boredom, basically memories I didn’t think I had come back to light with those playlists. I don’t know if I should be happy or annoyed. Either way, it’s more work for my therapist I guess.

Even though my laptops have changed, I still managed to have all this music, which is a miracle in itself. I am sure in my quest to download all the non-mainstream music of some of the world’s most unknown artists I might have downloaded viruses too, but that never concerned me. Now I’ve given up my battle against capitalism and stick to YouTube and trusted sites. My teenage self would be very unimpressed, but honestly, I don’t need another worry on my list of downloading a virus on my laptop even by accident even though I have an antivirus.

I remember when friends used to give me this real look of how did you find this music, my taste was always obscure, only a couple of them were ever impressed with my choices. It used to make me feel very good when someone appreciated my eccentric music taste.

I just miss one thing about the music I listened to – the consistency. No matter what, I was always listening to new things, every day identifying one more artist or song that would impress me. But now, I am just listening to all the stuff I’ve listened to in the past three or four years. My playlist is an endless loop of the same music.

I tell myself I don’t have time, but I know the truth. Somewhere in this quest for adulthood, getting into good universities then spending three years figuring out what I wanted to do for the rest of my life then focussing on achieving it, the music faded. My music became stale because I had more important things to do. I blocked every new tune out living trapped in one version of myself.

Just like the playlists for each book that I am so particular about, my life is a plotline I always had a playlist for, and when the playlist stops so does life. I guess it’s time to add some new music to the catalogue, let’s break the cycle.


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