Listen on Spotify (Incomplete) //
The key to Caleb's playlist was finding songs that expressed emotion in a simultaneously obvious and elegant way. Caleb is articulate and thoughtful, but he's also sorting through a lot of blunt emotion (especially at the beginning of his story) and this creates a lot of noise. As a result, there are a lot of loud guys with loud guitars on this mix. But when you listen closely, there's some very nuanced emotion going on underneath. This playlist is also an example of one of my favorite playlist types - the rise and fall. The very opening song is literally asking for calm, but instead begins the build that occurs over the next few songs, before reaching a height at track 6. There's a quick drop after this and the rest of the playlist simmers in a bittersweet, and then momentarily angry, place.
1. "Be Calm" - fun.
2. "Love Sucks" - Nathan Angelo
This is an upbeat song about a really bummer feeling - I love that juxtaposition. Also, this is just a young, fun song.
3. "Like High School" - Matt Duke
There are two Matt Duke songs on here because Duke is an artist that expertly combines the cerebral with the emotional. His lyrics are well-crafted and clever, but he sings with strong, blunt emotion at times.
NOTE: This song is not on Spotify - I recommend building your own playlist in your music app of choice!
4. "Bigger Than My Body" - John Mayer
This is the quintessential high school song - that idea of feeling invincible, of feeling your whole life is waiting for you to conquer it.
I'm bigger than my body/gives me credit for - this is such a Caleb lyric to me, trying to contain everything you are and everything you feel in your dumb human body.
5. "I've Got Atrophy on My Brain" - Matt Duke
6. "Stay Where I Can See You" - The Starting Line
I recognize that a lot of my "high school" music is stuff that was out when I was in high school and that maybe that isn't realistic for a teen in 2016. But I just couldn't leave this playlist without at least some pop punk, especially The Starting Line, my favorite band when I was a teen.
When you go away I get so low - I think this is how Caleb must feel when he's alone, no longer feeling anyone's emotions. That's not an element we've really explored yet, but I imagine that being alone often feels very hollow to him.
7. "Broken Heart" - Motion City Soundtrack
8. "Your Heart is an Empty Room" - Death Cab for Cutie*
Your heart is an empty room/with walls of the deepest blue - I didn't realize how significant the blue + yellow = green metaphor would become among our listeners. It is one of the many things that has surprised and delighted me and it makes this song choice that much more meaningful.
This is when the playlist begins to come back down and it speaks to that aforementioned hollow feeling. This is a song without a strictly defined emotional center, which is something I love about it.
9. "Comes and Goes (in Waves)" - Greg Laswell
The title tells you pretty much everything you need to know about why I chose this song.
10. "Leave" - Glen Hansard
Talk about visceral emotion - no one does it better than Hansard. His voice in this song tears a hole through me.
11. "Gravity" - John Mayer
This is about an unseen force weighing you down. Pretty self-explanatory why that works for Caleb, I think.
It's also just a really good song off of a really good album.