Life playlists: The lives of three staffers through song

March 9, 2021

Three Epic staffers share and reflect on their favorite songs and the songs that hold great significance in their lives. Click below to see what each staffer has to say and check out the compiled playlist of their favorite songs.

Melissa Chen: Life listens

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Graphic Illustration by Melissa Chen

From “Try Everything” to “Moments,” these are a few songs that have stayed with me throughout my life. 

Songs come and go, especially in this era of streaming, in which the ordinary listener can access a great quantity and variety of music easily. Once in a while, though, a song will stick, as a personal significance attaches to it, the two becoming so intertwined that they are impossible to separate. Maybe the song is the heart of a treasured memory we like to revisit, maybe the lyrics resonated deeply with us during a period of our lives or maybe a particular quality of the song is unforgettable. From “Try Everything” to “Moments,” these are a few songs that have stayed with me for all the above reasons. 

 

“Moments” by Hollow Coves

This is one of my favorite songs and one I have been listening to a lot throughout quarantine. It is a good reminder during any time — whether it is a busy, chaotic day or when I am mindlessly surfing the Internet or binging a show — to do something meaningful and take a moment to soak in the present and tune into my surroundings. The lyrics are soothing and sung mostly in a soft and relaxed but full voice — definitely a good song to keep me grounded. 

 

“Over the Rainbow” rendition by Israel Kamikawiwo’ole

This song and “You are My Sunshine” are two songs I remember listening to frequently when I was little. My parents have always liked slow-tempo, emotional ballads, which I grew up hearing around the house. Although this song sounds more intimate, I think it is emotionally powerful. It is a great dose of positivity for the day, and I love the simple but stylistic, breathy vocals. Especially in this sweet and lively rendition, the song brims with pure joy and optimism, a wonderful feeling that I associate with being carefree as a child and enjoying this song with my family. 

 

“Try Everything” from the movie “Zootopia” and sung by Shakira

Well, this would not be an accurate life playlist without a song from a Disney movie. A few years ago, my brother and I decided to buy the movie “Zootopia” while browsing Target during holiday break. Somehow, it is now the movie that we make sure to watch at least once a year, competing to see who can remember the most details about the plotline. “Try Everything” is the main song in the movie, and, although the lyrics are a little cheesy, the song, like the movie, is still inspiring and uplifting. Its main message applies to all ages: to be undaunted by and get up from failure, and to always keep trying. 

It is nice to use the songs I listen to to evaluate how I have grown over the years. Compared to my younger self, I now listen to songs with a greater mix of styles and messages. There are a lot of life experiences I am yet to have, and I look forward to discovering and connecting with many more new songs in the future. Thanks for listening!

Shamita Gurusu: The journey of life

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Graphic Illustration by Shamita Gurusu

In today’s rapidly-progressing society, it is often easy to get lost within our own individual journeys of life. This playlist contains a few of the many songs that have been there for me during the significant parts of my life journey.

In today’s rapidly-progressing society, it is often easy to get lost within our own individual journeys of life. It is important that we take a moment every now and then to rejoice in the happy memories of the past and acknowledge how far each of us has come as individuals. This playlist contains a few of the many songs that have been there for me during the significant parts of my life journey.

 

“NRI” by Raja Kumari:

As a second-generation Indian-American, I often feel like I do not have a clear cultural identity and am unable to comfortably preserve both Indian or Western traditions. I never feel Indian or American enough to be able to identify with either culture, thus making me belong to both communities on paper but neither in reality. This song is the perfect embodiment of the disconnect that I, as an Indian-American woman, feel on a day-to-day basis. The artist, Raja Kumari, a second-generation Indian-American herself, crafted the lyrics and Indian subtones of her song to illustrate the difficulties of trying to be accepted by both Western and Indian culture.  Whenever I listen to this song, my journey of trying to find my own cultural identity feels acknowledged.

 

“Beat it” by Michael Jackson:

This song is just a classic that has, over the years, grown to become my “family song.” My dad, a huge Michael Jackson fan, would play this song whenever anyone in the family was feeling down to help us feel better through its carefree and invincible spirit. My dad would specifically sing the lyrics: “It doesn’t matter who’s wrong or right, just beat it” whenever my sister and I fought and still does to this day. When I am far from home, I often play this song to embody its spirit to remind myself of my optimistic dad and many childhood memories.

 

“Evita” by DeVita:

Another recent addition to my playlist, this song has become the one that helps me take a breather and chill. Whenever I am stressed or unnerved, the smooth jazz and singing throughout this song never fail to soothe my mind. It is, by far, my most-played song of 2020 and favorite song that I listen to in the shower. Its carefree vibe makes this song so easy to love.

Thanks for listening! Remember to take a moment every now and then in your own journey of life to appreciate the memories of the past.

Lina Mezerreg: A life in music

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Graphic Illustration by Lina Mezerreg

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.

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.

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About the Contributors
Photo of Melissa Chen
Melissa Chen, Writer

Melissa can't wait to continue writing for the Epic this year, though she's a little sad that, as a senior, this will be her last year. Soggy cereal, hot...

Photo of Shamita Gurusu
Shamita Gurusu, Business/PR Manager

Shamita is a senior and one of the Business/PR Managers for the Epic this year. Shamita is excited to spend another amazing year with the Epic! If not...

Photo of Lina Mezerreg
Lina Mezerreg, Staffer

Lina is a senior at Lynbrook and an Epic staffer. If she's not obsessing over a book, drama or new album, then she's probably kicking a ball around or...

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