Scandalous – Hanneke Cassel

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Song: Scandalous
Album: For Reasons Unseen
Performer: Hanneke Cassel
Writer: Hanneke Cassel
Year: 2009

This song came into my life fairly recently. My first exposure to the it was actually hearing it played by my friends Maggie Chaffee and Laura Epling for Laura’s senior recital (she’s a violinist). It was a surreal moment. We were rehearsing over at Maggie and Laura’s house and I was only playing on a couple tunes so I was just chilling on the couch. I had nearly fallen asleep as they started playing this tune. I was entranced. I was in that weird stage of sleep that’s kind of pre-sleep. You know, where you feel like you might still be awake but your body feels like it’s full of sand? That’s where I was. I think they ran the tune a few times. I could have listened to it forever.

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Heart In a Cage – Chris Thile

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Song: Heart In a Cage
Album: How to Grow a Woman From the Ground
Performer: Chris Thile
Writer: Julian Casablancas
Year: 2006

I have found that, while the musicality and arrangement of a song are very important to me, I tend to find the most personal connection through lyrics. This song is no exception. “Heart in a Cage” was the first song I heard off of this album. I heard it in 2013 in the spring of my freshman year of college. That time in my life was extremely formative for me (as I’m sure it is for just about everyone). I felt like I was making it mostly on my own in a new city and I was really “finding myself” for the first time. This song definitely fed into my need to feel that I was, indeed, an independent free-thinker. I remember the first verse really made me feel strong:

Well I don’t feel better when I’m fucking around
And I don’t write better when I’m stuck in the ground

So don’t teach me a lesson ‘cause I’ve already learned
Yeah, the sun will be shining and my children will burn

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Brand New Key – Melanie

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Song: Brand New Key
Album: Gather Me
Performer: Melanie
Writer: Melanie Safka
Year: 1971

This song screams SUMMER to me. Your first exposure to this song may have been a commercial for an HP picture printer sometime around 2010. This was the case for me. I remember hearing the chorus of the song in the commercial and loving it. Back then I just assumed someone had written it for the commercial so I didn’t try very hard to find it. I came across the song a couple months ago when I saw, of all things, a duet on YouTube between Miley Cyrus and Melanie singing Melanie’s “Look What They’ve Done to My Song, Ma”. When I searched other songs by Melanie, “Brand New Key” popped up! I was so glad to hear it again.

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It’ll End Too Soon – Crooked Still

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Song: It’ll End Too Soon
Album: Friends of Fall – EP
Performer: Crooked Still
Writer: Gregory Liszt
Year: 2011

It was some day in the middle of the week in the middle of February in the middle of the last semester of my college career. I was in my room between classes listening to music, trying to unwind and push every looming deadline to the back of my head. This song came up on one of my playlists. The words “It’ll end too soon, if it ends at all…” floated from my computer speakers to my ear and immediately brought me to tears. When I say tears, I mean TEARS. Like sobbing. Something about this song popped the cork on my emotions and made me zoom out on my perspective of life.

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