More than once, I’ve wished my life would go full-on Glee, where big song-and-dance numbers happen at random. I mean, music improves everything! But since my so-called friends refuse to learn the choreography, I’ll have to settle for thinking up songs that should’ve played during my 15 biggest moments.
I asked my mom what song she’d pick to go with my birth; because she’s completely sappy, she picked the song from The Princess Diaries, “Miracles Happen.” Moms, amirite?
As much as I enjoy pop music and Anne Hathaway, that song doesn’t really fit. Plus, I arrived early, which says I was ready to take on the world. So, Queen’s high-energy, uplifting tune is better. The go-getter attitude that Freddie Mercury embodied probably doesn’t match my personality today, but I’ll throw a bone to Baby Nicole on her first day in the world.
I have a lot of fond childhood memories—family game nights, spaghetti night, trips to Disney World or Hilton Head for spring break, trips to Delaware for Thanksgiving. But one of my favorite things was when we had family dance parties, and “Rebel Yell” was ALWAYS queued up.
I was born in Texas, moved to North Carolina when I was 4, and then moved back to Texas in sixth grade. Upon my return, I’d started getting into the Canadian pop-punk band Sum 41, and this song from their album “All Killer No Filler” really speaks to my struggle of showing up in the middle of the school year in a state I could barely remember.
I’m in too deep, and I’m trying to keep up above in my head, instead of going under…
The end of my parents’ marriage was, in a word, inevitable. They almost separated a year or so after we moved to back to the Lone Star State, and since then, I’d been waiting for the other shoe to drop. Still, it’s a moment that deserves a song. Considering my parents aren’t together, though, they each get one.
My dad is a GIGANTIC Prince fan; the Purple One’s albums were in heavy rotation in the car. So, obviously, I have to pick “When Doves Cry”:
Why do we scream at each other? This is what it sounds like when doves cry.
As for my mom, she really loves “Landslide,” and it’s such a perfect song (and band) for encompassing the complications of love and knowing when you need a change:
Time makes you bolder / Even children get older, and I’m getting older too.
Gin (actual name) was the first real best friend I had in Texas. After she yelled at me for saying she looked Hawaiian instead of Korean—I was coerced into that answer!—and bonding at a mutual friend’s birthday party, we became inseparable. I was once grounded over my birthday because I’d cut my own hair, and Gin was still allowed to come over because “obviously the rule didn’t apply to her.”
So, you can imagine how utterly devastated I was when we had this huge fight sophomore year and stopped talking. We eventually made up, but I still associate this Incubus break-up song with her:
You and I are like oil and water / We’ve been trying to mix it up.
Look: Incubus is my mom’s favorite band; I listen to them a lot!
This was difficult to nail down because I have many complicated feelings about losing my virginity. I’m no longer with the guy involved, and I was a little caught off guard when The Event began, so I couldn’t choose “our song” (which, hilariously, would’ve also been an Incubus song—”Stellar”). And while it wasn’t the super magical time that TV and movies want you to believe it is, it wasn’t terrible either, so I had to pick something kind of nice.
Thus “Quicksand,” which perfectly walks the line of complicated emotions while also being a slow jam:
Some people fall in love and touch the stars / Some people fall in love and find quicksand / I hover somewhere in between.
High school was… not great, and the whole thing seemed kind of pointless. There was drama, break-ups, make-ups, and way too much testing.
So, what better homage than this FOB tune from around the same time?
Thanks for the memories, even though they weren’t so great
—talk about accurate.
(Name redacted because I’m not trying to put people on blast, and we’re “friends.”)
After dating for two years, we broke up soon after I left for college. A major factor: his drug use. He didn’t do anything hardcore (while we were dating), but just being willing to enter that world, when I refused to, was impossible for us to overcome.
I can’t tell you how many times during and after our relationship I ugly-cried while singing this song.
Keep my heart somewhere drugs don’t go / where the sunshine slows / Always keep me close
I loved this song before we met, but once it became my literal life, it was hard to listen to for a while. But it’s the obvious choice for break-up montage accompaniment.
I’ve always said that the opening scene to a movie about my life would have this song playing over it, but it’s a good choice for this moment as well.
After the break-up, my depression and anxiety issues really took off; I guess they’d just been waiting for a good excuse. When it got to the point where I slept maybe three hours a night and stopped going to class, I knew I needed help. I started seeing one of the free counselors at school and ultimately made the decision to visit the school psychiatrist.
I’m sick of the things I do when I’m nervous… Someday you’ll be fine / Yes, I’ll be just fine.
This one’s easy; I was literally singing this song out loud when Lawrence and I saw each other for the first time! Not only was a moment of my life actually soundtracked, but it was the one that involved meeting my future husband for the first time. NAILED IT!
Over a montage of Christina and me solidifying our bestie-hood, the song playing has to come from Circa, who we both love and have seen in concert together twice. More specifically, it has to come from the band’s first album, Juturna, because we both vibe real hard with it.
The lyrics that spring to mind:
I’d be a liar if I denied you at all / Oh, now that I know / This changes everything
This sums up a friendship that we’ve both described as our first adult friendship. Seriously though: We’re changing the game of besties, and the world should take note.
(Also, shout out to Christina for helping me nail down this entire pseudo-soundtrack in the first place! *kiss-face emoji*)
A lot of She and Him’s songs are delightfully sappy, and this is the perfect marriage song. Its first lines eerily fit our relationship, too:
I was takin’ a walk / when I saw you pass by / I thought I saw you lookin’ my way / so I thought I’d give you a try.
Lawrence was literally going for a walk when he happened upon me! *kisses fingers* Perfection.
Also: I have been waiting for a long, long time for a boy like you / I won’t be waitin’ anymore ’cause I know / Baby, I was made for you. *heart eyes*
This is another moment that provides its own song. When Rainbow Rowell (my favorite author) writes a book, she creates a playlist for it. Multiple times, she’s said this Joy Division track is the book’s theme song; it’s even the subject of a conversation between the titular characters. Thank you, Rainbow; you crushed it. (It being my heart, but I mean that in the best possible way.)
This is a little on the nose; so much so, I almost didn’t pick it. But there’s a part that perfectly fits the big move Lawrence and I made almost three years ago:
She said, I think I’m going to Boston / I think I’ll start a new life / I think I’ll start it over / where no one knows my name
Cliché or not, this should’ve played as we drove away from our Texas apartment for the last time.
I’d been wanting a tattoo for years but kept putting it off. Then last year, Christina came up to visit to a 10-year anniversary tour of one of our favorite bands, so it was the perfect time.
“Big Casino,” while not from the band we saw, just fits the moment. There’s so much energy to it, and a sense of something big, bright, and new taking place. I love this song, and I love my tattoo—done deal.