As a senior entering what’s most likely her last year of schooling in her life, I’ve been experiencing a lot of emotions. They vary, ranging from unadulterated happiness to intense longing to flurried confusion. In contrast, sometimes I feel nothing.
No matter what I’m feeling, music has always been a comforting aspect of life to lean on. Words affect me greatly and can change my perspective of the world, but music has a way of
touching my heart that nothing else can.
Therefore, here are some songs that always evoke raw emotions from me, even if I can’t pinpoint what that emotion is.
“Shut Up and Dance” by WALK THE MOON
We’re going to start with a cliche, as this seemingly comes on at every event where there’s a dance floor. I’ve heard this song at school dances, weddings and at the grocery store — which can absolutely be a dance floor if you want it to be. It’s one of the songs that just lets you become free. I have fond memories of screaming the lyrics of this song at prom in 2018 and at the wedding I went to this past summer.
Is this song on any of my playlists that I listen to on a daily basis? No. But do I always feel pure happiness when it’s played? Absolutely. Add a dance floor and a good crowd, and you’ll catch me making yet another good memory with this song.
“this is me trying” by Taylor Swift
I remember first hearing this song when it came out, and I felt like the stellar lyrics paired with the haunting instrumental created an extremely vulnerable song. “I was so ahead of the curve / the curve became a sphere / Fell behind all my classmates and I ended up here” is one of the lines in this masterpiece that always quiets my mind in an eerie, yet calm way.
While it is a very sad song, “this is me trying” acts as a reset for me. Maybe because it’s about someone who is just trying their best as much as they can. It can be a nice reminder to give others — and yourself — grace during your toughest moments.
“Can’t Take My Eyes off You” by Frankie Valli
This classic love song from 1967 not only reminds me of one of my favorite movies of all time, “10 Things I Hate About You,” but makes me want to be in love and dance around my kitchen in a cabin in the woods. But even more general than that, I find myself humming it when I’m making my morning coffee. Once the chorus comes on, I’m full out singing, whether I’m in the shower or pulling a blanket over my lap to start my day. Similar to “Shut Up and Dance,” this song is an instant serotonin boost.
“Love Me Like You Do” by Ellie Goulding
This song is never a skip, even after all these years. I don’t know what Goulding put into this song, but it scratches the right part of my brain. There’s something intrinsically ethereal in the production that makes me want to inject it into my bloodstream. It makes me feel like I’m ascending somehow. When this song plays, it makes me feel like I can do anything.
Also, a fun thing to point out is that it’s on the “Fifty Shades of Grey” soundtrack. Say what you want about the movies, but this song — and the entire soundtrack — is incredible.
“Older” by 5 Seconds of Summer featuring Sierra Deaton
This beautiful ballad from my favorite artist is probably the simplest song in this list. Maybe I’ve just been wanting to slow dance in the kitchen lately and escape into a cabin in the woods, but this song truly makes me miss being in love. When I heard that this song was inspired by love songs from the 50s, it made complete sense.
More importantly though, it makes me realize that love can be as simple and pure, as the lyrics sing “I don’t wanna get older / without your head on my shoulder / On the day that you leave me / I’ll forever be bleeding, love.” Knowing that Deaton is engaged to Luke Hemmings, one of the members of 5SOS, makes this duet all the more sweeter. “Older” makes me feel like my heart is being squeezed in the best possible way.
“Fine Line” by Harry Styles
I wouldn’t be able to write an article about the songs that evoke the deepest feelings out of me without highlighting this song. “Fine Line” is truly an experience every time I listen to it. I feel like I’m hearing this song for the first time every time.
I connect with this song so profoundly because of how much space Styles allows for the listener to interpret it in their own way. Yet at the same time, it’s obvious that this song is very personal to Styles, especially if you hear him sing it live (which I have, and yes, that’s a subtle flex). He doesn’t actually say much in the song, but the journey he takes us on in six minutes and 18 seconds says enough. This song makes me feel contrasting feelings at the same time — alone and comforted, empty and elated, helpless and hopeful.