In the spirit of Issue 5, Kindergarten contributors curated the soundtrack to their lives. These are the songs that would play in the background of our coming of age movies. Listen along with us as the credits start to roll.
“Cliche” by Mxmtoon
None of the songs I’m listing are really part of the soundtrack to my life specifically, but if I could put together a hypothetical movie soundtrack then this would definitely be on there. This is that perfect meet-cute between the two lead characters. That love at first sight instance, as cheesy or naive as it may sound.
“Summer” by Keshi
This song in a way describes that summer fling or a short-lasting relationship that didn’t mean to begin in the first place. I feel like this occurs in most romantic comedy plots and the song is pretty real about that so I wanted to include it here. Just pretend everything is okay and like you meant for things to play out the way that they did.
“Pretty Girl” by Clairo
Maybe that person you thought was right for you turned out to be toxic and wanted you to change to suit the idea of you that they kept in their mind. You lose your own sense of direction because you’re so lost trying to keep up with what they want. You forget your own needs, going out of the way to be the perfect significant other for them.
“Heartache on the Big Screen” by 5 Seconds of Summer
I think I include songs from 5sos on almost every playlist but this one fits the concept so perfectly that I just have to include it. This is the point where the attempted escape from the toxic relationship comes into play. It’s difficult trying to get out and the pull towards this person is still there. You’ll keep trying regardless, because you’re a stronger, more aware, and overall different person than in the beginning. The perfect relationship that you thought you had is over and you know better now. Cut the cameras because you don’t want to be a part of this picture anymore.
“She’s Thunderstorms” by Arctic Monkeys
It’s springtime. The flowers are blooming, and so is my heart. My hair is in a loose ponytail with my baby hairs sticking out. My skirt is blowing in the wind, and my hands are covering my tummy from laughing too hard. All is well. This is the one moment where I get to have my happiness before it gets taken away later on. It’s the exposition of the movie where I’m displayed as some thrilling character who’s on top of the world. It’s most definitely the exposition song.
“Anything” by SZA
I think everyone’s movie soundtrack should have a SZA song in it. She’s the queen of capturing insecurity and self confidence at best. I picture myself walking into some function quickly feeling lost and that my presence isn’t wanted. My confidence has fallen, and I can’t get it to boost back up. While I can only hope that thought may be false, this song definitely backs up my feelings under three minutes. The lights are flashing, the people are passing by all why my presence feels ignored and undesired. Hence, I believe “Anything” would fit the rising action portion of the movie.
“Grounded” by Pavement
This is the part of the movie where I’ve reached my downfall. The guitar can only provide me so much comfort that here is where I begin to see the consequences of my actions. It’s time to think, and it’s the part I ultimately dread the most. Yet, I know it’s what’s right. This is where the climax and falling action takes place.
“Yes I’m Changing” by Tame Impala
Where do I begin with this song? It’s the most fitting song to end the movie due to its rewarding synths, bass, and lyrics. Things are always changing, so why can’t we let ourselves change and embrace it? Why must we always neglect change when it could also be good for us in the long run. Growing is a blissful thing, and “Yes I’m Changing” captures that. This is the definition of a resolution song.
“Someday” by The Strokes
Maybe one day I will stop writing about The Strokes, but I couldn’t resist adding my all-time favorite song (according to a Spotify statistics reader) to this coming of age playlist. Someday by the Strokes has always screamed coming of age to me; in high school, it brought me feelings of nostalgia for an era of my life that wasn’t even over yet. If my life was a movie, this song would definitely be the background music for a ridiculously indulgent, cliche montage of my senior year of high school (had it been unaffected by the pandemic.)
“Combat Baby” by Metric
Despite the lyrics fitting something more of a post-breakup revenge scene, I just have to include this into a playlist of movie-esque songs. It’s just the right power anthem to play as you meet the protagonist in the middle of their latest endeavor. I imagine this as the song blasting on the radio as your protagonist speeds through empty side-streets, each light they pass conveniently green- “No one here wants to fight me / like you do / Combat baby, come back baby”
“Picture This” by Blondie
I think this song would work great for a romantic scene in a film. The lyrics are really sweet, but still with the classic new wave edge Blondie is known for, and it would help make it more interesting than a lot of romantic scenes in coming of age films.
“Who Ya Gonna Call? Goat Buster” by The Spook School
I can picture this song at the end of a coming of age film. The song is a rock ‘n’ roll expression of finally coming into your own, realising what you want, and doing what you have to do to get that, and it would make the last scene or credits of the film really heartwarming and celebratory.
“Golden” by Harry Styles
This song is full of good energy and immediately puts me in a more positive mood. Though it is romantic in nature, I imagine it could also play in the background of a montage of scenes where my friends and I are just having fun on a summer day. Shots of us laughing and goofing off would play, all filmed during sunset, showcasing how golden my friends and our relationships are.
“Perfect Day” by Hoku
Arguably the most iconic song of the early 2000s, “Perfect Day” would play when I am getting ready in the morning and excited for something that day. I would love for my life to be like a Y2K movie, and this song allows me to pretend that it is. It would also go perfectly for scenes where I’m walking around campus after receiving a good comment on a paper or something like that.
“Prom Dress” by Mxmtoon
This song is too relatable for me, so it fits perfectly on the soundtrack to my life. Lyrics such as “I can’t help the fact that I like to be alone” and “I’d be the prom queen if crying was a contest” hit too close to home. Though it’s difficult for me to imagine a good scene it would play in the background of, if my life was a movie, this song just has to be in it. I imagine myself listening to this song while in bed one weekend, soaking in the lyrics and marveling at how someone managed to put exactly how I feel into a catchy song.
“Daredevil” by Fiona Apple
It’s quite unfortunate to say, but Fiona Apple’s “Daredevil” could play over a montage of my failed relationships over the years. The lines “I don’t feel anything until I smash it up” and “don’t let me ruin me” really hit the nail on the head (sadly!) on my tendency to let residual feelings from past relationships prevent me from being happy in future ones, only for a vicious cycle to commence. So cinematic! (Miss Apple screaming “seek me out / look at, look at, look at me/ I’m all the fishes in the sea” never fails to boost my serotonin levels)
“Delusion & Confusion” by Daniel Johnston
I’m sorry to say that my introduction to Daniel Johnston and his music was hearing about his death. Upon listening to “Walking the Cow” and the entirety of his 1983 “Hi, How Are You” album, I was hooked. “Delusion & Confusion” is probably my favorite song of his – the first time I heard the shaky vocals over the heavy synths it pulled on my heartstrings and has every listen since. There is such a cinematic quality to it and I can’t help but imagine it playing during a moment of total heartbreak and desperation.
“Je te reconnais” by Holden
I do not understand a single word in this song for I do not speak French – however, I have spent far too much (or perhaps not enough) time dancing to this groovy track in my bathroom! I can’t help but see this blasting as the opening credits of the movie of my life come to an end.
“Mayonaise” by The Smashing Pumpkins
This song means a lot to me and I don’t know if I am able to fully articulate why. The mix of a classic “Siamese Dream” era distorted guitar paired with Billy Corgan’s pain-inducing vocals feels like a drug to me, one that I am very addicted to. This song was on repeat for me during a very transformative time in my life, and it will always be perfect to blast in one’s coming of age drive alone.
“It’s time to wake up 2023” by La Femme
When I think of my life as a movie I imagine it as a glimpse. “A day in the life” rather than “baby to adult.” Or from one struggle to another. Each day has its own unique story to tell. Half English and half French, this song starts off the day with alarm clock samples. I don’t drink coffee so I rely on music to start off the day.
“Jorge Regula” by The Moldy Peaches
This song plays as a conversation of call and repeat. It’s a song of love and getting through the day. The Moldy Peaches have a way of creating sincere, youthful music that doesn’t take itself too seriously. I’m sure this song has already been used in plenty of films
“We Could Live Near the Beach” by Flatsound
This is the end of the day. A song of peace and slumber. Lately, I’ve been watching “The Sopranos” and I appreciate how the creators depict dreams. Dreams have a huge impact on how we’re feeling and what we’re dwelling on. They incorporate themselves into memories and alter our perception of people and past events. My dreams are very long, vivid, and usually negative. For me, making it through the day relies a lot on coming to terms with the events of a bad dream.
“Teenage Riot” by Sonic Youth
To represent my middle school years A.K.A the “edgy” phase of my life when I listened to Nirvana and Sonic Youth and felt so separate from everyone else. Embarrassing, maybe, but I really did embody a level of teenage angst and deep admiration for what I saw as “underground” and cringy as it seems to me now, this admiration for the non-mainstream still resides.
“A Lot’s Gonna Change” by Weyes Blood
This would be what would play during my montage of moving out and moving into my first proper place away from home. A lot of staying up late and sitting on my floor surrounded by half-filled boxes and unfolded clothes. What would and has been a pivotal point in my life for more reasons than one.
“Волны” by Molchat Doma
When the Mojave heat became overwhelming during long summer road trips, my father would put on his favorite Soviet rock albums as a “pick-up” from our exhaustion. Those hours-long listening sessions to Kino, Sektor Gaza, and other Soviet artists were my first introduction to “real” music. The colors of Eastern European alternative have a cultural richness I’ve seldom heard from its western equivalent. Molchat Doma is a post-punk Belarussian band whose music captures the introspective quality of the rock my father listened to, but crafts it with a universal modern twist.
“Brand New City” by Mitski
“But if I gave up on being pretty, I wouldn’t know how to be alive – I should move to a brand new city and teach myself how to die” Mitski’s lyrical brilliance is indisputable in “Brand New City,” which expresses the intense feelings of self-hatred, insecurity, and failure. The escapist temptation to reinvent oneself by moving to a “brand new city” because of self-loathing is all too familiar. Like Mitski, my own fatalistic thoughts have been my downfall, and my battle against them will be forever ongoing.
“Bizarre Love Triangle” by New Order
There is no deeper meaning to me choosing this song for my life’s playlist other than my enjoyment for it. My writing is a large part of my identity, and I wish my writing could portray the myriad of emotions I feel whenever I listen to this song.
“Apple Cider” by Beabadoobee
It’s not every day you see a Filipina indie pop/rock artist create a soundtrack of your life record but Bea hits the jackpot with “Apple Cider.” This would be THE anthem that makes me want to dance in my bedroom when the whole world or in my case, household, is sound asleep. Bea perfectly encapsulates what it’s like to experience love at its beginning stages, which is very much pivotal in any romantic, coming of age story.
“Malibu 1992” by Coin
I’d be lying if I said I didn’t listen to How Will You Know If You Never Try? the entirety of my senior year of high school. Just as any coming of age has an upbeat song to describe the highs of one’s life, you’ll need one that relates to the lows. Coin understands the feelings of bitterness that come after a long-term and sweet relationship comes to an abrupt end. I never knew much about intimacy at that point in my life but frontman, Chase Lawrence, and his lyricism gave me a tiny outlook of what it’s like to love and lose.
“Normal Girl” by SZA
I remember when “Ctrl” was released the summer before I entered college and where I felt like I was at the cusp of my youth. When I first listened to the album in full, I knew right then and there “Normal Girl” would be a timeless favorite of mine. Besides SZA expressing her feelings of inadequacy, this song is also a commentary on how the male gaze can be detrimental to how one perceives themselves in the long run. Raw and vulnerable as this track is, SZA hits her own insecurities back with the lyrics, “This time next year I’ll be livin’ so good. Won’t remember your name, I swear” – which to this day, I still scream out with every breath I got left in me.
“Blister In The Sun” by Violent Femmes
I chose this one because I think it would make a really good montage song for my coming of age movie. I picture myself riding the school bus listening to this in my headphones, or angrily trying on all my clothes. I know this is embarrassing but I think sometimes when I listen to this song while walking I really do feel like I’m in my own coming of age movie. It has what people call “main character energy” even though I’m definitely a side character.
“Godspeed” by Frank Ocean
This song would play during the big heartbreak scene of my coming of age movie. This is genuinely one of the saddest songs I know, which is part of the reason why I love it so much. Frank Ocean is such a great lyricist that I feel every single word, even when I have nothing in my actual life to relate it to. I feel so much listening to it and I think it would make a beautiful score to a teen movie, Frank please score a movie! …When you feel like it, of course.