Sometimes, a song will mean everything to me for a month. I’ll listen to it on repeat, memorize the lyrics and introduce it to my dance teacher hoping that she’ll add it to their lesson plan. Then, I’ll get sick of it; that once enthralling rhythm is now the music of nightmares, the lyrics a nuisance instead of motivation. It sinks to the corners of my Spotify, never to be seen again until the next year or so.
Yet, there are songs that mean the world to us and never change. Whether we discovered them at the beginning of lockdown or they were a fundamental part of our childhoods or they symbolize one of our cringiest music phases to date, they all hold the same influence over us. These songs inspire the same feelings of devotion — because the power of a song is not in how it was found, but instead how it makes us feel.
“Kizuato” by Centimillenial
This song is electrifying — that is the only way I can explain it. When I first heard its opening notes, I remember sitting straight up in my seat and listening intently to the entire one minute and forty seconds of the shortened version of the song. It was completely different from any of the genres that I had previously listened to, unlike my obsession with classic show tunes or my boy band and Hamilton-inspired R&B phases. All the same, it pulled me in, and I fell in love with it. Despite the song’s lyrics being in Japanese, it still felt familiar, not like I had heard it before, but as if I understood the feelings in it. The lyrics and their meaning capture the feeling of being lost yet finding something within the emptiness. The verse that sticks out to me is both the first and last of the song and means “Whatever you left behind/Became my everything.” It reminds me of the countless memories we all hold and the need to treasure them, even if they are painful, because they are a part of us and define us as human beings.
“You’ve got a friend in me” by Randy Newman
People cannot always be there for us, but this song has always been there for me. It was there when I was five and rewatching “Toy Story 2” on our old cassette player, it was there the first time I watched “Toy Story 4” in theaters and it was there when I just needed help to get out of bed. The song holds both the comfort of past memories and promises for a positive future. When I was younger, I used to think my imaginary friends, the playmates whom no one else could see, were singing this song just for me. Even now, I cannot help but share some of those old sentiments and remember my old acquaintances whenever I hear the song. It reminds me of times that were easier, but it also gives me a small bop on the head to remind me that life would be nothing if it were not mildly difficult and confusing at times.
“History” by One Direction
This song is timeless — not only because it is always queued up on my Spotify, but also because it always feels relevant. One Direction just broke up, and I need some emotional relief? This song. One of my closest friends moved away, and I’m scared of losing touch? This song. When life just feels excessively overwhelming, and I wish I had a break from everything for just a moment? This song. “History” used to be a song that gave me memories, both something to laugh over and something to regret. Now, it gives me the strength to know that, if I have gotten this far with my life, I can go on — that and a lot of cringe-worthy memories of all my past boy band obsessions.
All of these songs helped me sail through some rough seas during my life, no matter how trivial or insignificant they seem now. If these songs were to come to life, if I were able to tell them just one thing, I would thank them from the bottom of my heart.