Welcome to “My Life in 10 Tracks”, a series in which contributors share the top tunes that they associate with the defining eras of their lives thus far as well as memorable moments that lie on the vast spectrum of pain and pleasure. Charting important milestones through music, our contributors revisit and reflect on adolescence and coming of age; first love and last heartbreak; new beginnings and departures.
First up, we have Alex*, a self-professed music junkie with a Spotify Wrapped record to boot. We’re talking about clocking 120K+ minutes in a year, for multiple years consecutively. During their childhood, they would listen to the tunes that their parents put on the stereo. Yes, this was back when CDs were a thing.
Throughout their teen years, Alex channeled their angst through listening to pop-punk and rock songs. They have a number of concert memorabilia — from autographs to guitar picks — as well as an iPod Classic as relics from that era. Although Alex still finds comfort in rock, they listen to deep/progressive house more frequently these days for productivity’s sake. Below, they elaborate on the tracks they associate with certain moods and periods in their life.
#1. Welcome To My Life – Simple Plan
This was the anthem of my teenage years. An absolute banger; my friend group can attest to how we never fail to put this on during our karaoke sessions. For all its unveiled talk about depression and feeling “out of place” amongst people, the track sounds oddly cheerful.
#2. Bad – David Guetta & Showtek ft. Vassy
If I had to pick one song to represent my hot mess of a party phase, it’d have to be this. The lyrics speak for themselves. There were many other tracks that I associate with this period but this is the song I’d never fail to drunkenly Snapchat on the nights I was out. I’ve long gotten my sh*t together and stopped partying but the 2010s were a glorious time for EDM.
#3. This Must Be My Dream – The 1975
The lyrics tell a story of a romance reaching its highs and then falling apart. Retrospectively, my then-obsession with the line “this must be my dream” gave me extra micro-doses of dopamine while I lived that dream. A lyrical foreshadowing of how my parallel connection was doomed.
Well, I thought it was love but I guess I must be dreaming
‘Bout feeling something instead of you
I still listen to it every now and then because I find the song uplifting. While it still reminds me of that time in my life, it doesn’t hurt to think about it anymore.
#4. Redbone – Childish Gambino
This song calmed my anxieties toward living alone in a foreign land. I used to put it on the stereo in my apartment when my landlord was out; they heard it one day and asked for the title because they liked it.
#5. Je Suis – Bigflo & Oli
French rap slaps hard. I got into french rap through my francophone friends and when I first heard this song, I was absolutely mindblown by the poignant lyrics and social commentary of France. Je Suis helped me wrap my head around the complexities of France’s history and modern society and also allowed me to meditate on my experiences there.
#6. Drown – Bring Me the Horizon
This is my go-to song when I’m f**king pissed with everything (myself included). The lyrics are as literal as they get. Having it on loop for a while is therapeutic for me.
#7. I Know There’s Gonna Be (Good Times) – Jamie xx ft. Young Thug, Popcaan
Good vibes all around. This song’s promise of good times got me through the early anxieties of the global pandemic.
#8. everything i wanted – Billie Eilish
This song gave me great comfort and assurance that everything will be okay in a time when I had “everything I wanted” but still felt empty inside. Sometimes I still feel this way, so I put on this record to meditate and sit with my inner demons. I probably do this way too often because it has been my most-streamed song ever since its release.
#9. Defying Gravity from the musical Wicked
Not my absolute favorite show tune but one of the top few. I put this on to hype myself up, usually before something important like an interview or presentation. It helps me find the power within myself. Think affirmation, self-belief, and all that.
#10. Bach Cello Suite No.5 in C minor, BWV 1011 – Hidemi Suzuki
As a student of classical piano and cello, I’ve come to love Bach’s beautiful intricate structures, symmetry, and conversing voices. The Cello Suite No. 5 is my favorite amongst his oeuvre and it brings me great satisfaction to know that I can make a fairly decent attempt at this piece.
Bach could make a cello throb like an organ, as shown in the Cello Suite no. 5 in C minor, the darkest of the set of Six Cello Suites.Netherlands Bach Society
I won’t hide the fact that I love No. 5 so much because it sounds dark, yet mellow. It is deeply pensive and Hidemi Suzuki’s rendition never fails to send chills down my spine.
Feature collage by Sherryl Cheong & Anonymous Alex