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The Toybox

people for the conservation of limited amounts of indignation


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yeah, i'm on music again
children of dune - leto 1
seperis
I'm feeling oddly good despite the fact my new boots didn't fit. This could also be my new playlist, "Test Case". For my search for musical highs continues unabated.



Umbrella - Rihanna
The Night We Met - Lord Huron
After the Storm - Mumford & Sons
Believe - Mumford & Sons
Guiding Light - Mumford & Sons
Never Ending Circles - Chvrches
Hold Me Down - Halsey
Something Just Like This - The Chainsmokers & Coldplay
Warning Call - Chvrches
Hearts Like Ours - The Naked and the Famous

Potential additions: Snake Eyes - Mumford & Sons, Hearts

I have many kinds of playlists: long form permanent thematic ("End of the World", "Cut Your Wrists", "Vid Music", "Covers"), long form permanent former writing playlists that ended up massive for reasons ("Ages of Man", "The Atlantis Project"), short form for writing specific stories that stuck around because all the songs caught a very specific mood ("Map of the World", "Star Trek", "Statement"), but the most numerous are the temps.

They get names, of course, but generally, if they vanish, I don't recreate them, unlike the above that exist in multiple places so I can retrieve them all. Temps are generally not thematically consistent, are often multi-genre (jazz to pop to R&B to eighties hair bands to chanting monks to rap to technosomething fuck if I know) and are created when I'm looking for something, though I honestly can't tell you what. The other use of temps is the repeat-one or repeat-three when I get new music and want to keep the high for as long as I can, which is actually how Test Case started: it's original composition was Umbrella and After the Storm.

Now, Test Case is...something else.

Some artists I love only with specific types or moods of songs: The Fray, Augustana, One Less Reason, Hinder. I own either a lot of their songs or most of their albums but they generally go together and don't work well with others and they're all fucking depressing

(Seriously, Augustana's Remember Me is like what you tell people to play at your funeral when you're sixteen and wear a lot of black but not you're goth enough for Trent Reznor or you'd be planning your funeral yourself. Years ago, I hyperconnected with One Less Reason's Faces and Four Letter Words pondering all the ways the album is about a breakup followed by death (murder???) and probably suicide. I was in my thirties, sure, but I still wore black and connected like whoa, so yeah.)

Rihanna is one of those artists that work across the board; something by her generally will fit into any given playlist and I don't have to even like some of her songs to still want to listen to them, if that makes sense. To give context, her album is the only one I've actually bought in years and not just got from Amazon Unlimited. She got me to listen voluntarily to Eminem, for fuck's sake. And sing along, because it happens.

Mumford & Sons (I am still not over how I thought I didn't really like them until I noticed under Artist in Amazon Music Player they were taking up serious amounts of data real estate), Chvrches, Fallout Boy, and The Naked and the Famous are the others that tend to just--go well anywhere. There's not just always a song for my mood; there's a song for my writing mood. Going through my temp playlists, all of them show up in most and at least two show up in all.

(Exception: my walking home from work playlist is weird and almost static now. That's A Little's Enough (Angels and Airwaves), The Adventure (Angels and Airwaves), Alienation (Morning Parade), and Something Just Like This (Chainsmokers and Coldplay). No idea why but I really nail the "landlines and landmines" bit about a quarter of the way home at the top of my lungs. This is sort of a semi-temp; other than when I'm seriously in repeat-one for a new song, these are the only songs I want to walk to. Its weird.)

While looking at Test Case right now, I can't work out why I put these songs together. The base was Umbrella and After the Storm, and while they have different sounds and energy, they convey the same idea: Umbrella is an invitation, a promise of not just love but support no matter what. After the Storm is an exploration of fear and loss but also the potential of the future, still unwritten; it's the the substance of things hoped for, that things will get better.

Believe is less hopeful but not despairing; it's an ongoing argument that could go either way but you have to make a choice, and not making one is a choice, too. Guiding Light is like a door you thought was locked and when you turn the knob, you realize it's not, not at all. You can open it, if you want to. Both these songs also have the same sense of growing anticipation as they progress, like you're slowly accelerating in a very fast car to an unknown horizon.

Never Ending Circles, though--this one I've been using for years and shows up on most of my playlists that aren't flat-out despair. It's not just hopeful, but hopeful as fuck; it's the triumph of survival because half the goddamn battle is just to keep going, it's a challenge to the universe to bring it the fuck on, I've done it before and I can do it again. This song I always play when writing and editing the parts about Alicia in The Game of God. I pair it with Hearts Like Ours; I wrote most of the scene of Dean and the team running and fighting outside Ichabod's walls to this. I am still shaky on what I'm supposed to get emotionally out of it but survey says, fighting and winning against Croats during an impossible five mile run is apparently it.

Something Just Like This kind of ends up in random places for me; it's realizing that the impossible ideal you think you have to be to have what you want is nonsense; it's enough, more than enough, to be yourself.

Which leaves me with my outliers: Hold Me Down and The Night We Met, which really seriously don't fit. Hold Me Down is not just angry; it's enraged and tired of this shit but not yet resigned, though you're not sure what else to do. The Night We Met, on the other hand, is exhausted; it's loss and despair, all the wrong choices you could make and not one of them can ever be fixed, and the grief of realizing none of it was worth it. If you could do it all again, you wouldn't even fucking start. It's right up there with Remember Me except you're still alive (I think?).



This is me working on playlist creation. As you can see, it's non-stop action on Tuesday nights at Idlewilde, and yes, I did name my apartment Idlewilde because I can. I may even have a second cup of coffee even though it's after eleven: I feel dangerous.

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