I move to San Francisco tomorrow and am pretty much wigging out about it. I’m all “Adventure, Ho!” and all “This could go terribly wrong and you have no plan B.” needless to say there is still a lot to be done what with finishing this bottle of wine and choosing between which cardigans have to be left behind. But HERE is the playlist that got me to this point. Leaving is hard, and this short list of songs has helped me with moving motivation and properly honoring the city I’m leaving behind.
Wild, Young Hearts | The Noisettes
The main reason I am moving is “youth.” It will absolutely never be easier to move. People remind me that San Francisco is expensive. Well, I’m completely used to having tons of roommates in a tiny living space. Ramen for dinner again? Fantastic! I know 20 ways to prepare it. A 2 mile walk to work? Having to meet tons of new people, be in new places? Being far from family? All of these potentially deal breaking situations are loads easier when you are young, adventurous and a little wild. I firmly believe my future self will be very proud for making this drastic change, and maybe even a little jealous.
“I’m not what I was last summer, not who I was in the spring. Tell me, tell me, tell me when will we learn? We love it and we leave and we watch it burn; damn these wild, young hearts, damn these wild young hearts.”
Making mistakes, learning and stumbling on—this song sounds just like being a 20-something, being wrong a whole lot, but growing every day.
Faith | George Michael
I’ve never lived in such a progressive (really gay) city before and it’s possible that the first time I go out in the Castro will be like Veruca Salt going on a rampage then falling down the trash chute. (Replace each noun in her song with “boys.) I am dropping into this city hot, fast and naïve as a drunk kitten. Think, college freshman to Welcome Week. During the first few months I will do well to not lose my head or acquire anything else. “I Do not Hook-up” by Kelly would also be appropriate, but c’mon.
“Well I guess it would be nice if I could touch your body. I know not everybody has got a body like you. But I gotta think twice before I give my heart away, and I know all the games ya play, cause I play them too … I need someone to hold me, but I’ll wait for something more—Cause I’ve gotta have faith”
This song also nods toward having high standards with the people you surround yourself with and having confidence in yourself. Even though a lot of the places and situations I’ll be dealing with are new, I have faith that I can find good people, remain true to myself and not fall down a trash chute to the incinerator.
The Weight of Lies | The Avett Brothers
Starting over allows you to make positive fixes in your life. However, if you are an imbalanced ninny in the Midwest you will be an imbalanced ninny in California, just tanner. While I can run to a place with better public transportation or more lesbian-owned kale bars; I cannot run away from flaws that are intrinsic in myself.
“When you go, make sure to run to something and not away from cause lies don’t need an air-o-plane to chase you down.”
I’m not running from anything, I’m proud to say I’m leaving Indianapolis without bitterness, regret or burned bridges. This song reminds me to keep being me; and, possibly, to be really suspicious of others who move across the country for vague, shadowy reasons. Also, the Avett Brothers are my favorite band and they win all of the feelings everytime.
Boston | Augustana
When I moved to the Midwest five years ago, this song had just come out. When “Boston” came through my car radio I belted “BUTLER” over it. Going seven hours away to Butler University for school turned out better than I ever could have predicted. The success of that move has certainly encouraged this one. So I can’t help but revisit this song and realize how different I am now.
“… think I’ll start a new life; think I’ll start over, where no one knows my name.”
We’ll just ignore the “gotta get out of California” non-sense.
It’s Time | Imagine Dragons
This song is my favorite on the list.
The story it tells isn’t really about starting a new chapter; quite the opposite, actually. But the repetitive “it’s time to begin” sounds a lot like my heart right now and there are some very appropriate lyrics.
“So this is what you meant when you said that you were spent, and now it’s time to build from the bottom of the pit right to the top.”
And, all together, it’s just a beautiful, beautiful song that sounds like riding on car roofs, buying one-way plane tickets and being drunk on “going for it.”
Please Speak Well of Me | The Weepies
This addition is equal parts selfish and self-conscious. No one wants to be forgotten. Sure, we want our shortcomings, fatal flaws and that time we ate pizza off the sidewalk to be forgotten; but we want our rosy, impressive, good-time selves to be immortal. I work at being a kind person, a fun one. This song is a plea for people to present my memory gently; a hope that everyone says I was actually pretty great. Selfishly, this song is a hope that people actually tell my story and my mark on the city doesn’t fade with my tire tracks.
“You did what you did, and that was that. Don’t say words that you don’t mean. When I’m gone, please speak well of me.”
(Sittin On) The Dock of the Bay | Sara Bareilles, cover
I can’t wait to sing “Sittin On The Dock of the Bay” while I am sittin of the dock of the Bay, wasting time.
That is all.
Never Forget You | The Noisettes
They way its sounds, the first question, the fact the singer is running late—this song is part and parcel me leaving Indianapolis. In the same way that I’m departing; the song is happy, nostalgic. “So, let’s go out for ole’ times sake, I’ll never forget you.” Those times we should have done this or that instead? Well, it’s not our fault; “You know I didn’t forget you. We just got swallowed up, by the whole damn world.” It’s fine, you see, “don’t you know that you’re my joy?” and “I wouldn’t change a thing.”
I don’t have a bad thing to say about Indianapolis, Butler or my time there. In all things it has made me, me and I owe an unpayable debt of gratitude. But “My sweet joy, always remember me. I’ll never forget you. “