I had my first interview for Giraffe People this week, and one of the questions was “What is your ultimate playlist?” Oh. Man. How much time do you have? And for which age? Like now? This moment? Bjork is kicking through the speakers just now. But earlier it was M.I.A. and Elliott Smith and Iron & Wine, and Metric is forthcoming. Metric is always forthcoming.
Two days ago it was Jazz. (Always capitalized, thank you.) Dave Brubeck and Duke Ellington and Ella Fitzgerald. I felt the bass notes climb my spine. I felt the drum kick as the horns wound round and round like tops. I danced through the office during lunch. I danced in the hallway at home while Mary cooked dinner. I am my dance party.
I have my own lyrics for Thrift Shop that I sing on repeat. Also with hopping. And then there’s Arcade Fire. Arcade Fire is the happiest thing to wash dishes to ever.
Oh! My ultimate playlist. Some dude gave me a tape of Cat Stevens when I was in elementary school, and everything changed. I’d been playing this awful piano music, and suddenly I realized I wanted to play guitar. And then I was writing music, and then I heard punk and somehow punk led to Jazz, or maybe it didn’t at all. Maybe I was already hopscotching.
You start talking about music and you’re really just telling a story of yourself. Where you lived and the kind of kid you were. How closely you own that kid now and how much of the old you’ve made room for as you seek out the new. We heard Angel of Harlem in the grocery store this week and started singing to the juice boxes. And just like that I was 12. Just like that.
My ultimate playlist makes room for every version of me. Every style. Every mood. Every kiss. The way the conversations got lost sometimes because we were listening to Regina Spektor tackle a line, a key, a syllable. I remember whole years as pop songs. I remember the way the song danced beside you when you looked up at me.