Being asked to curate a personalized collection of songs for The M’s Playlist took me a minute to figure out. It made me realize how small a role music has come to play in my life since the days of my childhood and adolescence. I grew up surrounded by the arts, and at one point, I began to center my studies around concerts, albums, reading musical biographies, and the like. With time, I slowly stopped identifying with entertainers and, eventually, I learned to no longer depend on music to help me regulate my emotions or improve my mood.
In 2022, I deleted my Spotify account, became less interested in watching music videos, and developed a preference for the mechanical wails of my car over Top 40 radio hits. Don’t get me wrong, though I now ardently prize silence and the mental space that it creates, I still admire music for all its beauty and power. I still value performers as much as anyone can, and I enjoy the fact that songs play everywhere—regardless of whether I’m actively listening to them or not.
So, in reflecting upon my experiences of this academic year as it ends, I brought these twelve songs together in appreciation of all the everyday moments and events that they were a part of. I think of the time when Chris Stapleton’s performance of “The Star-Spangled Banner” at the 2023 Super Bowl made me nostalgic for his bluesy vibrato on Justin Timberlake’s “Say Something.” I remind myself of the warm November day at Scotiabank Arena when I witnessed the salsa-king charisma of Marc Anthony, and when, just two weeks ago, I spontaneously attended John Mayer’s first-ever solo acoustic tour in the same Toronto venue.
From New Order playing in the background as my best friend and I drove to the mall, to testing out my friend’s record player with a Harry’s House vinyl before we watched Brahmastra: Part One—Shiva—with our long-standing fondness of Indian movies—songs like “Blue Monday,” “Cinema,” and “Kesariya” bring up simple memories, too.
“Ay-Yo” by NCT 127 is the one song I can’t ascribe to a memory because I’m unexplainably in love with K-pop. The way that the song seamlessly mixes music genres, its tastefully garish aesthetic, and its angular yet dizzying choreography… K-pop is a love on its own.
With that, welcome to this month’s mix!
Sports & Health Editor (Volume 49)| email@example.com — Alisa is a third-year student completing a major in Professional Writing and Communication with a double minor in Political Science and Cinema Studies. She served as Editor-in-Chief of Mindwaves Volume 15 and Compass Volume 9 and was a recipient of the Harold Sonny Ladoo Book Prize for Creative Writing at UTM. Her personal essay, “In Pieces,” appears in the summer 2020 issue of The Puritan. In 2022, she published her first poetry chapbook, Post-Funeral Dance, with Anstruther Press and wrote for The Newcomer as a journalist. When Alisa isn’t writing, she’s probably reading historical nonfiction, ugly-crying over a sad K-drama, or dreaming of places far, far away.