The Paradise of a Forgotten Feeling by Lauren Sheperd


I love music. It has the power to connect people, to calm people, and to simply enhance enjoyment of the world as a whole. I listen to music all the time. At school, at home, with people, alone; pretty much any time I can, I listen to music. It’s therapeutic to me. I have quite the taste, too. Many different types of artists and songs flood through my ears on the daily. Here are my top eight songs as of right now, of course. It’s bound to change sometime soon.

Unbelievers: Vampire Weekend

This is possibly the only song that, for over a year, has not left my top ten songs list. Vampire Weekend is one of my favorite bands of all time, and I know over 50 songs of theirs, but Unbelievers sticks out for a few different reasons. First, there has never been a time where this song has not brought a smile to my face. Its upbeat rhythm just simply makes me happier. Unbelievers is also a part of Vampire Weekend’s third album, Modern Vampires of the City. When this album was written, lead singer and songwriter, Ezra Koenig was battling debilitating depression, and it shows through every aspect of the album. From the album cover to other songs in the album, like Hannah Hunt, a listener can almost feel Koenig’s depression. However, to me, Unbelievers is a reminder that there is light in the darkness and helped me through similar, difficult times.

Doin’ Time: Sublime

Before I start with why Doin’ Time is one of my top ten songs, I would like to emphasize that this is the original Sublime version, not the Lana Del Ray cover. As a band, Sublime is very special to me, which anyone can tell based on one of my favorite t-shirts. Sublime is something I share with my father, who introduced me to the band with, “if the lead singer hadn’t died, they would have been the best band of all time”. Now, this is quite the expectation to live up to, but Sublime definitely did. Doin’ Time is about a man whose girlfriend cheats on him, and he feels like the relationship is a prison. However, he counters this with lines like, “summertime, when the living’s easy” to make the listener pick up a happier vibe than the difficult subject matter intends. This song fits multiple moods, from deep troubles with relationships, to the easy going feeling of summer, and I strongly relate it back to memories of cross country camp and lifeguarding, where the living’s easy.

Another Day in Paradise: Quinn XCII

This is another song that reminds me of the simplicity of summer and whatever the listener associates with paradise. For me, I see the place my family and I go to every year in Michigan. This song makes me think of an easier time where, for a week each year, my life only involves reading with my feet buried in the sand and paddle board rides so far out I can barely see the shore. I can see the clear water of Lake Michigan and feel the light breeze in my hair. I listen to this song almost every morning to help me prepare for the stressful day of something I do not associate with paradise ahead. 

Shake It Out: Florence + The Machine

This song has deeper and more emotional roots than the previous songs on this list. This song was recommended to me by one of my best friends during a really hard time in my life. It reminded me that I needed to stay strong, and that even though I felt like I couldn’t keep going, there was always light at the end of the tunnel. I listen to Shake It Out whenever I want to give up, whether it be with running or school or any other part of my life where I’m struggling.

NASA: Ariana Grande

NASA is the song I associate most strongly with three of my best friends; three very powerful women. NASA is a power song to me. When my friends and I sing it in car rides at night or home from school, we all think about how amazing independence is, especially for women. Along with other songs by Ariana Grande like God is a Woman or songs by another power female artist, Lizzo, like Truth Hurts and Good as Hell, NASA begins my powerful women playlist.

Do You Remember: Chance the Rapper, Death Cab for Cutie

Do You Remember is special to me for many different reasons. To begin, it combines two of my favorite artists from two completely different genres into one amazing and aesthetically pleasing song. A collaboration between Chance the Rapper and Death Cab for Cutie was not something I realized I needed until it happened. Do You Remember also has deeper meaning than just a combination of two of my favorite artists; it reminds me of a summer that I’ll never forget. The nostalgic undertones and lyrics remind me of the new people I met who I now consider some of my best friends, and days where all I had to do was lifeguard and run. This song makes me sad, but in a happy way. 

Take It Easy: The Eagles

I was raised on classic rock like The Eagles, Led Zeppelin and Queen. Take It Easy is one of the songs of my childhood that reminds me of sitting in the backseat of the car while my mom drove me around. I grew up on classic rock, and it is still one of my favorite genres of music. The guitar solos always make my day, as I listen to the impressive instrumentals of the musicians, wishing I could go just one Queen concert in my life. Of course, I know I cannot. But listening to songs like Take It Easy gives me a sense of what the world was like when my parents were younger and take me to a completely different era of music that is hard to duplicate with modern music.

Horchata: Vampire Weekend

Finally, we have another song by my favorite band. Horchata is about the feeling of rediscovering love, but I don’t think the writers of this song meant it in the way I feel it. My cousins and I are incredibly close in age, where we live, and just generally as friends. We don’t all live at home anymore, so we don’t get to see each other as much as we did when we were younger. However, every Christmas, everyone comes home and we see each other many times, always doing something more fun than the last time. “Here comes a feeling you thought you’d forgotten,” sings Koenig. This is exactly how it feels when we all get together again after a long time of not seeing each other.

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