The Soundtrack To My Life

The Soundtrack To My Life

Some songs stick with you forever because of the memories associated with them.


My Spotify is littered with unfinished and add-as-I-listen playlists, but a couple of the most meaningful ones are titled "soundtrack to my life" and "songs i sing in the shower." Here's a collection of my favorites from each, and why they're significant to me.

The Distance by Cake

Conquering myself, then the world.

Photo by Aishath Naj on Unsplash

One day, a couple years ago, I was running across the street the get to catch the bus. It was very late in the afternoon, and the sun was just beginning to set. As I crossed the street, the chorus of this song began to play. It has this upbeat and sort of aggressive melody that makes me feel like I can take over the world. The lyrics go, "He's going the distance / He's going for speed," and for some reason just those two lines made me feel like I was on a mission, and now every time I hear it, I feel like I can conquer anything.

Even My Dad Does Sometimes by Ed Sheeran

Foggy forests are the perfect backdrop for sad songs.

Photo by Jorge Garcia on Unsplash

Sometimes I visualize very vivid scenes just by listening to a song. I used to listen to this one all the time in high school in the early mornings when I'd drive to school as the sun rose. But when I hear this one, I imagine myself laying on a little rooftop of a treehouse where I can see above dark green forest around me. And when I'm there, I can sense it's that time right before the sunrises and the morning dew sits peacefully on the leaves and the grass, right before the world wakes up. The lyrics of this one are sad, yet hopeful.

Drew Barrymore by SZA

Me, being me

Samantha Abad

I've always been confused about the way I perceive myself because one moment I feel worthless and the next moment I'm wondering why not enough people see the uniqueness that is me. I love this song, and a lot of SZA's other work because she sings a lot about her worth and figuring out who she is as a woman which is something I think a lot of us can relate to, especially at this in-between age of adolescence and adulthood.

In The Air Tonight by Phil Collins

Phil Collins' Face Value Album Art

Okay, first of all, the video for this song is so weird, and I love it. But most importantly, who doesn't love the super dramatic drum solo in the second half of the song??

Lens by Frank Ocean

Empty intersections at night feel like a time warp.

Photo by Felipe Bertarelli on Unsplash

This is another song that gives me a really strong visual. I'm sitting in the back seat of my dad's new car, the smell of the leather still sticking to my clothes. It's almost midnight, and there are only a few cars lighting up the road. Specifically, this song makes me think of the moment a red light turns green at a dark and empty intersection.

Good Life by Kanye West

If Kanye is happy, then so am I.


I mean, come on, the name of the song itself motivates me! Most days, I play this song as soon as I get off the train and walk to work. It pumps me up; it's like my own personal walk-up song for each day.

I Am That I Am by Peter Tosh

We're a part of the universe, and we've got galaxies inside our souls.

James R. Ead

The first time I really paid any attention to the lyrics in this song was at a really opportune time in my life for me to start discovering more of myself. I like the "I am" aspect of this song because it reminds me of God and how I'm a part of something bigger than myself.

Put Your Records On by Corinne Bailey Rae

Taken from the passenger seat of my mom's car. Look at those clouds!

Samantha Abad

My mom had a CD with random tracks on it that we used to listen to when we'd drive home from practice. She'd always time it perfectly so that the song ended right as we pulled into the garage. This song has a special place in my heart.

Sugar, We’re Goin Down by Fall Out Boy

Yes, those are antlers

Another weird music video, but nine-year-old me had this song on repeat on my pink iPod mini and knew every single lyric.

Summer Friends by Chance the Rapper

"The Bag"

Samantha Abad

If you can listen all the way through this song and not feel anything, then I can't trust you. The summer of 2016 was remarkable; it was the summer after my first year of college. I was on the West Coast, and everyone from school lived far away, so we did a "Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants" sort of thing - except we had a backpack filled with letters, photos, and souvenirs instead of jeans!

Redemption Song by Bob Marley

Liberate your mind, free your soul

Growing up, my dad had stacks on stacks of CDs, and now I think he's downloaded about every single song ever created. He was one of my biggest influences in regards to my music taste. I remember listening to a lot of Bob Marley when I was younger. My favorite line in this one is "emancipate yourselves from mental slavery, none but ourselves can free our minds" because I know how mentally draining life can be and it reminds me that the mind is a powerful thing and the only thing I truly have to myself.

Listen to the playlists I pulled these songs from here:

soundtrack to my life

all time favorites

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Why High School Musicals Should Be As Respected As Sports Programs Are

The arts are important, too.

When I was in middle school and high school, I felt like I lived for the musicals that my school orchestrated.

For those of you who don't know, a musical is an onstage performance wherein actors take on roles that involve singing, and often dancing, to progress the plot of the story. While it may sound a little bit nerdy to get up in front of an audience to perform in this manner, this is something you cannot knock until you try it.

For some reason, though, many public schools have de-funded arts programs that would allow these musicals to occur, while increasing the funding for sports teams. There are a few things that are being forgotten when sports are valued more than musical programs in high schools.

Much like athletic hobbies, an actor must try-out, or audition, to participate in a musical. Those best suited for each role will be cast, and those who would not fit well are not given a part. While this may sound similar to trying out for say, basketball, it is an apples to oranges comparison.

At a basketball try-out, those who have the most experience doing a lay-up or shooting a foul shot will be more likely to succeed, no questions asked. However, for an audition, it is common to have to learn a piece of choreography upon walking in, and a potential cast member will be required to sing a selected piece with only a few days of preparation.

There are many more variables involved with an audition that makes it that much more nerve-racking.

The cast of a school musical will often rehearse for several months to perfect their roles, with only several nights of performance at the end. Many sports practice for three or four days between each of their respective competitions. While this may seem to make sports more grueling, this is not always the case.

Musicals have very little pay-off for a large amount of effort, while athletic activities have more frequent displays of their efforts.

Athletes are not encouraged to but are allowed to make mistakes. This is simply not allowed for someone in a musical, because certain lines or entrances may be integral to the plot.

Sometimes, because of all the quick changes and the sweat from big dance numbers, the stage makeup just starts to smear. Despite this, an actor must smile through it all. This is the part of musicals that no sport has: introspection.

An actor must think about how he or she would respond in a given situation, be it saddening, maddening, frightening, or delightful. There is no sport that requires the knowledge of human emotion, and there is especially no sport that requires an athlete to mimic such emotion. This type of emotional exercise helps with communications and relationships.

Sports are great, don't get me wrong. I loved playing volleyball, basketball, track, and swimming, but there were no experiences quite like those from a musical. Sports challenge the body with slight amounts of tactic, while musicals require much physical and mental endurance.

The next time you hear someone say that it's “just a musical," just remember that musicals deserve as much respect as sports, since they are just as, if not more demanding.

Cover Image Credit: Cincinnati Arts

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10 Shows To Watch If You're Sick Of 'The Office'

You can only watch it so many times...


"The Office" is a great show, and is super easy to binge watch over and over again! But if you're like me and you're looking for something new to binge, why not give some of these a try? These comedies (or unintentional comedies) are a great way to branch out and watch something new.

1. "New Girl"

A show about a group of friends living in an apartment in a big city? Sound familiar? But seriously, this show is original and fresh, and Nick Miller is an icon.

2. "Crazy Ex-Girlfriend"

Ya'll have been sleeping on this show. It's a musical comedy about a girl that follows her ex boyfriend across the country. I thought it sounded horrible so I put it off for WAY too long, but then I realized how incredible the cast, music, writing, and just EVERYTHING. It really brings important issues to light, and I can't say too much without spoiling it. Rachel Bloom (the creator of the show) is a woman ahead of her time.

3. "Jane the Virgin"

I know... another CW show. But both are so incredible! Jane The Virgin is a tongue-in-cheek comedy and parody of telenovelas. It has so many twists and turns, but somehow you find yourself laughing with the family.

4. "Brooklyn Nine-Nine"


Brooklyn Nine-Nine has been in popular news lately since its cancellation by Fox and sequential pickup by NBC. It's an amazing show about cops in, you guessed it, Brooklyn. Created by the amazing Michael Schur, it's a safe bet that if you loved "The Office" you'll also love his series "Brooklyn Nine-Nine".

5. "The Good Place"

Another series created by the talented Micael Schur, it's safe to say you've probably already heard about this fantasy-comedy series. With a wonderful cast and writing that will keep you on your toes, the show is another safe bet.

6. "Fresh Off The Boat"

Seriously, I don't know why more people don't watch this show. "Fresh Off The Boat" focuses on an Asian family living in Orlando in the mid 90s. Randall Parks plays a character who is the polar opposite of his character in "The Interview" (Yeah, remember that horrifying movie?) and Constance Wu is wonderful as always.

7. "Full House"

Why not go back to the basics? If you're looking for a nostalgic comedy, go back all the way to the early days of Full House. If you're a '98-'00 baby like me, you probably grew up watching the Tanner family on Nick at Night. The entire series is available on Hulu, so if all else fails just watch Uncle Jesse and Rebecca fall in love again or Michelle fall off a horse and somehow lose her memory.

8. "Secret Life of the American Teenager"

Okay, this show is not a comedy, but I have never laughed so hard in my life. It's off Netflix but it's still on Hulu, so you can watch this masterpiece there. Watch the terrible acting and nonsense plot twists drive this show into the ground. Somehow everyone in this school dates each other? And also has a baby? You just have to watch. It might be my favorite show of all time.

9. "Scrubs"

Another old show that is worth watching. If you ignore the last season, Scrubs is a worthwhile medical comedy about doctors in both their personal and medical life. JD and Turk's relationship is one to be jealous of, and one hilarious to watch. Emotional at times, this medical drama is superior to any medical drama that's out now.

10. "Superstore"

I was resistant to watch this one at first, because it looked cheesy. But once I started watching I loved it! The show is a workplace comedy, one you're sure to love if you can relate to working in retail. If you liked the Office, you'll like Superstore!

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