Everything's changing - except my playlist
Ok, that’s a lie. Pretty much every month I sit down and create a new playlist of my favourite songs of the moment, and each time I finish it I think to myself ‘Wow, this playlist is so good that I’ll be listening to these songs for the next ten years’.
Then by the next month, I’m already making a new playlist with all the new music I’ve discovered over the course of the past four weeks.
So yes, my playlist of choice changes with the weather.
But having said this, there is a core collection of songs that I always find myself returning to, whatever the season. I think no matter which artists and genres our sonic curiosity may direct us towards on a weekly basis, there are some songs that will always stay close to our hearts.
On a personal level, this month in particular has seen quite a lot of change in my life. After spending a lot of time at home, I’ve started my Master’s degree, which has involved getting settled into a new college, meeting new people, and getting accustomed to this ‘new normal’ that the government keeps talking about. Where there would usually be a Freshers’ week jam-packed with ice-breakers and social events, there’s now a predominantly online schedule of awkward zoom gatherings and inductions.
It feels strange because I’m in a city that I’ve grown so accustomed to and familiar with, having done my undergraduate degree here, but at the same time everything seems different.
This year has brought with it a lot of global sucker-punches and enforced lifestyle changes, so starting a Master’s can hardly be called a hugely significant shock to the system, as far as 2020 is concerned. But nonetheless, having been at home for such an extended period, and moving away to a place where COVID-19 rates are way higher, it’s still felt pretty daunting.
With everything being so up-in-the-air, I think it’s natural to seek out something constant and reliable to give you a sense of security. That’s why, in times like these, I find it really reassuring to turn to songs that I’ve listened to a million times, through all different points in my life, because it gives me a sense of continuity.
I love the Apple Music feature that tells you what your Top 25 'Most Played' songs are, and I’ll often turn to the tracks on here because of their warm familiarity. You might think that after musically chewing these songs over so much for the past few years, that they’d have become tasteless and boring.
However, there’s something comforting about the fact that ten years have passed since the release of Drake’s ‘Find Your Love’, or Kanye ft. half the music industry’s ‘All of the Lights’, but they both still sound exactly the same. The assortment of songs and albums in your music library acts as a kind of audio fingerprint, a collage of memories and melodies that have stood the test of time and stuck with you through thick and thin.
Don’t get me wrong, nobody gets more excited about new music releases than me, with New Music Friday sharing the pedestal with another beloved occasion of mine, football’s Transfer Deadline Day. You might agree with How I Met Your Mother's serial charmer, Barney Stinson, when he says that, ‘New is always better’. After all, you never know, that new song you just heard might find its way onto your 2021 ‘Most Played’ list.
But while I’m gorging myself on the flurry of new music that lockdown has seemingly spawned, flooding my ‘Recently Added’ playlist with shiny new material, it makes me happy knowing I can always revisit the rusty old reliables.
With everything being so fleeting and temporary nowadays, it can feel like the only constant is the persistent reminder that nothing lasts forever. But being a romantic, I like to think that some things are eternal and timeless - and my music library helps fuel this optimism.