I’m a firm believer in nurture over nature. Or, more specifically, that everyone is shaped by the people around them. As such, all things considered, I’m really grateful to the people who shaped me.
I’ve lived in a few different places growing up. I was born in Florida, and I later moved to Mississippi, then to Greensboro and finally here to Chapel Hill for college. So naturally, the majority of my friendships are now long-distance: reduced to sporadic texts, group Zoom calls to catch up and endless stalking on Instagram. But the thing that takes me back to my friends and makes me feel like I’m sitting right next to them is music.
For someone whose job title is “Audio Editor,” I’ll be the first to admit: I have terrible taste in music. Like “still listening to 2000s Fall Out Boy,” terrible. Because of this, I let other people have aux cord privileges. Always.
I highly recommend it, though. It’s a fast way to get to know someone and — like in this case — the music they play over and over can take on new meanings and instantly remind you of them, even years later. Now, whenever I hear tunes like this, I’m hit with the sadness of missing someone, then the gratitude of having known them, then the powerful urge to shoot them a check-in text.
I compiled a few of these songs. They’re songs that my favorite people have sent to me, have taught me to play on my mother’s guitar, and have sung with me in cars, in the middle of fields and on more roofs than was probably safe.
Some of them bring me back to family, most to friends. They're for all the people in places and times that I’ll never go back to, not because I don’t want to, but because they’re not mine anymore. They’re for the camp friends, the band kids, the high school drama club and all the people I had the privilege of loving and being loved by, even if briefly.
So thank you, Beirut, Mumford & Sons, and fun. Thank you, Daniel Caesar and Taylor Swift. Your music lets me hang out with people hundreds, sometimes thousands of miles away. It reminds me not to be a stranger with the people who have had such an impact on my life.
I hope you enjoy all of these overly sappy masterpieces, even if you don’t have the same emotional baggage as me about them. And if you’re grateful to someone who you haven't spoken to in a while, let them know. Send them a song or two to remember you by.