(I refuse to do this on Instagram, simply because I need content for this blog.)
Day 1 – A song you like with a color in the title
HALCALI – BABY BLUE!
There was a long stretch of time during my preteen years when I only listened to Japanese pop music. This was my dirty little secret for a while, but as I get older (said another way: as K-pop gets more mainstream attention), the less I care about people judging my former musical taste. Though a lot of the music I listened to at that time now makes me cringe (read: almost all of Hello! Project), there are a few groups that I still consider some of my favorites. HALCALI is one of them!
Maybe it’s the concept of a rap??? group comprised of two dancing, teenage Japanese girls. Maybe it’s the infectious melodies and overly poppy production. Maybe it’s the decidedly goofy-but-still-taking-itself-seriously tone of a lot of my favorite songs.
In any case, though it’s not my favorite HALCALI song (hello, Strawberry Chips), this still seemed like a great place introduce my “musical” roots.
Honorable mentions: Charli XCX – White Mercedes (all I know is I don’t deserve this song), BØRNS – 10,000 Emerald Pools (Dopamine never got the attention it deserved!), Taylor Swift – Red (I am nothing without my basic pop music)
Day 2 – A song you like with a number in the title
BoA – No.1
Speaking of K-pop, the period when I was into J-pop just so happened to be a big time for BoA in Japan as well. Though I was partial to Japanese music, I really loved the Korean version of this song!
Nothing else to say about this song, really. BoA is a queen, though!
Honorable mentions: Spice Girls – 2 Become 1 (this has two numbers in the title – does that still count?), BØRNS – 10,000 Emerald Pools (this song conveniently works for this question as well), OK Go – A Million Ways (the start of a lifelong obsession with this band and their music videos)
Day 3 – A song that reminds you of summertime
Taylor Swift – Cruel Summer
Last summer feels like it was a lifetime ago!
This song takes me back to a friends’ wedding weekend at the end of August last year. I can feel the sun on my skin, the wind blowing through my hair, the flip flops on my feet, the love in the air! as we sang along to it at the top of our lungs on the car ride up.
Yes, obviously, the song has the word “summer” in the title – but the humming synths in the background, the sweeping chorus, and the Taylor’s signature unforgettable lyrics made me realize, even on first listen, that this song would be on rotation for many summers to come.
Honorable mentions: Luis Fonsi feat. Daddy Yankee and Justin Bieber – Despacito (this is the real answer to the question, but I refuse to admit it), Passion – Lemonade (a classic Filipino summer mood)
Day 4 – A song that reminds you of someone you’d rather forget
Weezer – El Scorcho
My current (very happy!) relationship aside, my romantic history is made up of a string of one unrequited crush after another, starting from kindergarten (!) and only intensifying from there. For me, nothing quite captures the torture of being so! absolutely! sure! that you’ve met your soulmate – if only they knew! – like Rivers Cuomo’s soaring declaration, “I’m a lot like you, so please – Hello! I’m here! I’m waiting! I think I’d be good for you and you’d be good for me.”
The magic of this song is that, even though I definitely discovered it as a teenager, I can’t quite pin it down to one particular crush or even an era in my life. Though every crush is different, for me, the crushing feelings of hopelessness and longing don’t change much from person to person. Whenever I listen to this song, I think of all of those crushes, all at once. It’s painful! (The bridge helps a lot though – “How stupid is it!“)
Honorable mentions: Kate Nash – We Get On (similar unrequited love vibes; I evidently had a very long adolescence)
Day 5 – A song that needs to be played loud
Sleigh Bells – Crown on the Ground
The first time I heard Sleigh Bells was in an ad for the American remake of Skins on MTV that used their song “Kids”. I tracked it down right after and was immediately obsessed, and Treats quickly became one of my favorite albums. I’ve since fantasized about, but have never actually gone through with, seeing Sleigh Bells live. I’m pretty sure the fear of completely losing my hearing has been holding me back.
“Crown on the Ground” in particular stuck out for me for two reasons: (1) that absolutely insane opening, and (2) the early Childish Gambino track that used it as a backing track. As someone who was a Community fan around that time, anything approved by Donald Glover was automatically a hit in my books!
Honorable mentions: Kim Petras – Hillside Boys (or, similarly, anything else by Kim Petras)