soundtrack to a chapter.

by Michael King

At some point, I tweeted, stop adding songs to the playlist. Let it live and breathe in its current form. One day, many days after this chapter has ended, open it again, hit play, lie your head back, and bask.

Music has a way of following us around all day. Headphones pump music into our eardrums, granting soundtracks to our commutes. In the car, we drum on our steering wheels and sing along, settling down at stoplights. We curate playlists for the people we fall in love with, passing songs along in social media messages, love letters in their own right. Then, in a moment we aren’t expecting, a song we’ve forgotten catches us off-guard. Our faces go gentle, eyes go distant. Memories pull themselves from the shelf, unfurl before our eyes, beg our hands to brush over them.

My past four years have been marked by milestones. Coming out, moving to Muncie, navigating my first heartbreak, falling in love again, the Supreme Court marriage equality ruling, adventures in New York and Portland and Nashville and Orlando and New Orleans and Minneapolis, navigating a heartbreak I didn’t ask for, beginning again, finding courage in new corners, showing up for myself, deciding on a next chapter. Memories still in living, breathing color, but already beginning to gray.

What follows is my best attempt to gather the songs that have been with me through all of that. Sat with me on drives on rainy afternoons, come with me for runs under the summer sun, danced with me on nights with friends and lovers, met my tears with gentle palms.

Consider it another form of telling this story. Sixty-five songs to stand in for words.

_\.. /

Summer 2014 // Coming Out & Moving to Muncie //

Wherever This Goes // The Fray
Luck // American Authors
Brave // Sara Bareilles
Pumpin Blood // NONONO
Pompeii // Bastille

Fall 2014 // Navigating Heartbreak //

Be Still // The Killers
The Wolves & The Ravens // Rogue Wave
Gravity // Sara Bareilles
I Wanna Get Better // Bleachers
All Will Be Well // Gabe Dixon Band

Winter 2014 // Falling in Love Again // 

Like Real People Do // Hozier
Blank Space // Taylor Swift
Heartbeats // José Gonzalez
Say You Love Me // Jessie Ware
Lay Me Down (Acoustic) // Sam Smith
The First Day of My Life // Bright Eyes
Cassiopeia // Sara Bareilles

Spring/Summer 2015 // Brave Unknown //

Sissy That Walk // RuPaul
Shots // Imagine Dragons
Beware the Dog // The Griswolds
Express Yourself // Diplo ft. Nicky Da B
Good Intentions // The Chainsmokers ft. Bullysongs
Out of the Woods // Taylor Swift
I Lived // OneRepublic

Fall 2015 – Spring 2016 // Good and Bright // 

Wildest Dreams // Taylor Swift
Giants in the Sky // Daniel Huttlestone (‘Into the Woods’)
Young Volcanoes // Fall Out Boy
Unpack Your Heart // Phillip Phillips
80’s Films // Jon Bellion

Summer 2016 – Fall 2016 // Loving Through Heartbreak //

I Can Do Better Than That // Anna Kendrick (‘The Last Five Years’)
Clean // Taylor Swift
Good As Hell // Lizzo
Send My Love (To Your New Lover) // Adele
All I Want is Love // A Great Big World
Try Everything // Shakira
If I Loved You // Delta Rae
Fingertips // OneRepublic
Fire and the Flood // Vance Joy
Heaven // OneRepublic
Waving Through a Window // Ben Platt (‘Dear Evan Hansen’)

Winter 2017 – Summer 2017 // Open Palms to the Breeze //

We Built This City // Aron Wright, Jill Andrews
Murder in the City // The Avett Brothers
All Too Well // Taylor Swift
Make Me (Cry) // Noah Cyrus ft. Labrinth
Focus // Ariana Grande
Surprise Yourself // Jack Garratt
Hold On // The Alabama Shakes
Don’t Take the Money // Bleachers 
Sign of the Times // Harry Styles
Stars // Demi Lovato
Someone in the Crowd // Emma Stone and cast (‘La La Land’)
Thunder // Imagine Dragons 
Brunch at the Bodega // Flamingosis

Fall 2017 – Spring 2017 // Here, Now, On the Eve of Everything //

Look What You Made Me Do // Taylor Swift
Beautiful Trauma // Pink
This is Me // Keala Settle (‘The Greatest Showman’)
Gorgeous // Taylor Swift
Wild Heart // Bleachers
Holy Ground // Taylor Swift
Pynk // Janelle Monáe (ft. Grimes)
State of Grace // Taylor Swift

Summer 2018 (now) // In Between Suns // 

Last Kiss (Live) // Taylor Swift
Heart Beat Here // Dashboard Confessional
Gon Blow // Cakes da Killa (ft. Rye Rye)
Delicate (Sawyr and Ryan Tedder Remix) // Taylor Swift
Youth // Shawn Mendes (ft. Khalid)
For Forever // Ben Platt (‘Dear Evan Hansen’)
Great Big Storm // Nate Ruess
If I Dare // Sara Bareilles

MK

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