If there is one thing I’m obsessed with, it’s music. Ever since I was in grade 8, I’d spend my downtime with headphones in and listening to whatever I had downloaded on my little iPod. To my Mum’s dismay I am always playing certain songs with significant memories in my life attached to them. So, here is a list of the songs that have become the soundtrack of my life.
“Breakn’ A Sweat” – Skrillex (2014)
So aside from the 30 different substitute teachers I remember having in grade 8 after our teacher dipped two days into school, this song was one of the first songs I wanted to show everyone. I honestly thought it slapped but none of my classmates agreed. I think at the time I was the only kid in the class who listened to EDM, so I spent a lot of time defending it to my friends. Now when I look back, this song reminds me of my getting my dog, choosing high schools and prepping for drama department auditions.
“I’m an Albatraoz” – AronChupa (2014)
I’ve never really listened to this song outside of a specific two-week period during the summer of 2014. It was my first year at camp and I went in not knowing anyone in my cabin. Luckily for me the boys ended being pretty fun and I still hang out with a few of them to this day. Even though I’m sure most of them have forgotten this song, I can’t ever get it out of my head. My counselor used it as an alarm in the morning and the song always made the queue whenever we were hanging out in the cabin.
“The Recipe” – Kendrick Lamar ft. Dr. Dre (2015)
Before I ever had Spotify, I had my old Android that could only run Instagram or Snapchat (on a good day). I spent at least two to three hours a week adding new songs and downloading them onto my phone to listen to during subway rides on my way to school. At the time my English class required us to read a certain number of books of our choice before the end of the year. For me I decided to read Dune and A Song of Ice and Fire because they were long enough so that I didn’t need to read anything else. This song reminds me of my commute to school and reading about spice and some messed up family dynamics.
“Sideline Watching” – Lil Uzi Vert (2016)
After dismissing the new wave of rap and focusing on artists from 2010-2014, my friend finally got me to cave and I began listening to rappers like Lil Uzi, Migos and 21 Savage at the start of grade 10. Even though this isn’t my favourite Uzi song anymore, it gets credit for opening up the rest of hip-hop to me and pushing me to explore more music. Shout out to Carlos for playing it at his locker and Adam and Fab for stanning Uzi as hard as I do.
“Crew” – Goldlink ft. Brent Faiyaz and Shy Glizzy & Did it Again – Jay Critch ft. Rich the Kid (2017)
These two songs are my inspiration behind this article and hold the most nostalgia out of all of these songs. I remember seeing them mentioned in some YouTube video titled “under-rated rap songs you NEED to listen to” the night before my family vacation to Whistler. I was already excited for the trip, but two new earworms definitely made it better. Before each run, I’d feed my earbuds through my jacket, pop them in my ears, queue up these songs and hit the slopes. When I hear these songs now all I can imagine is the views from the top of Whistler and skiing the different runs on the mountain.
“Neon Guts” – Lil Uzi Vert ft. Pharell (2017)
One of the biggest goals I set for myself when I showed up at St. Mike’s on the first day was to play JV and Varsity soccer at the school. After not making the team for the first three years and working to improve each year, I made it my senior year. Although I spent a lot of the season on the bench, whenever I hear this song, I think of that first pre-season tournament and the first and only goal I scored for the school. This song is also just good vibes, so I highly recommend it.
“wya?” (Remix) – wifisfuneral ft. Ugly God (2018)
Anyone who knows me knows about the “real sad boi hours” playlist on my Spotify and out of all the songs this one definitely has a lot of late night plays. In the second half of grade 12 I really got in my feelings over this one girl I had been seeing and the sad boi playlist definitely got more than its fair share of plays. Even though it wasn’t a great time for me and I may not listen to these sad songs as much, I will never forget the words to any of them. Also fun fact, after a concert in Toronto, I met the guy who produced this song (Cian P) at the concert after party and he’s pretty chill.
“Reboot” – Smoko Ono & Kami ft. Chance the Rapper and Joey Purp, KNOTS – wifisfuneral ft. Jay Critch & SUNDOWN – Jack Harlow (2018)
So, I know this isn’t one song, but these songs remind me of the same thing. In first year, I had a single which was very nice and on Friday, Saturday and select Thursdays it was home to the “Jack Selby pre-pre game” (as I have coined it). Basically, it was me getting ready for the night out by boozing in my room after some food, but most of it was spent with me either in the shower or in front of the mirror jamming out to these songs t. I think these songs will always remind me of first year and all the nights out that I had.
“RACECAR” – Aries (2018)
If there is one song that can summarize how I felt about first year it would be this. Aries has been my favourite artist for a while now and when this song came out in October of first year, I think I listened to it every day to the point where it annoyed my friends and floor mates. I am also not ashamed to say I cried when I saw Aries perform this live. This song is so memorable to me because it encompasses all the best parts of first year.
“Bubblin’” – Anderson .Paak (2019)
One of my biggest regrets of all time is not listening to Anderson .Paak sooner. I had always known about him for featuring the greatest XXL cover of all time in 2016 and doing a cypher with Desiigner and Lil Dicky. However, in 2018 I was going to be in British Columbia for summer vacation at the same time my friend Lucas was planning to see him. So, in preparation to go to the show with Lucas I listened through Andy P’s Spotify page so I could be ready to sing along when he came on. Bubblin’ was the first song of his I really liked and it reminds me of that fun trip every time I listen.
“Sunflower Seeds” – Young Nudy prod. P’ierre Bourne (2019)
One artist I dove into last summer was Young Nudy. After hearing he had dropped a collab album with P’ierre Bourne I knew the album was definitely going to need a listen. This song is probably my favourite just because of the memories I’ve attached to it. During my time away from camp all I wanted to do was hang out with my friends and this song became a key part of the rotation for chilling on the fire escape or roof of my old student house. Even though these memories aren’t necessarily significant, quarantine has made me appreciate those times even more.
“Can I Call You Tonight?” – Dayglow (2019)
As my favourite indie/pop/whatever song ever, this song tends to be part of the soundtrack to a lot of my memories. However, one special memory I have with this song is playing this song and the album it’s on (Fuzzybrain by Dayglow) is morning with my girlfriend while relaxing and making breakfast. It’s just such a sweet song to just listen to especially while driving and I highly recommend the whole album.
“Forrest Gump REMIX “– Krimelife Kass, ABG Neal ft. Sleepy Hallow and Sheff G (2020)
For a complete 180 degree turn here, Forrest Gump is the anthem for all those nights I have forgotten. Mostly because this song was the last thing I can remember before leaving during my second year. Personally, this song makes me feel invincible and if it wasn’t for the cost of repairs there would probably be a few holes in my wall.
Thank you for making it to the end of the article. Music is really personal to me and I don’t think the attachment these songs, listed or left off have to my life and experiences will ever fade away. I can’t wait to make more memories along the way and listen back to them all one day.