Four of my friends talk about songs that mean something to them

When I asked my friends to write about a song they love, I mostly just wanted them to write my blog post for me, but dude, they really came through. Maybe a little too much. Just kidding! Thanks guys. This is awesome.

An editorial note before we start:
1) Everybody has a pen name except for Jonathan.
2) I made the slightest of edits.
3) There was way more worrying about subpar writing than I expected, so even if you’re like why is this sentence so awkward, please be nice in the comments. Otherwise there’s no way they’ll do free labor for me again.


Jessica // “Enjoy the Trip” from Bring it On: The Original Broadway Soundtrack

I know a lot of people don’t like showtunes, and I get it. But the reason why I love them so much (and no, it’s not just because I do theatre) is because they tell stories. Each song tells the story of a character or sets the scene. Unlike traditional pop, repeating a couple of catchy phrases over and over, showtunes carry a meaning in every line.

My freshman tech theatre director was the one who introduced me to Bring It On. It was after our design competition, and we were in the car on our way to go get lunch. After seeing everyone else’s entries I felt like I hadn’t put forth my best effort, so I vowed to my director I would bring it next year. (Side note: it’s our theatre motto this year and it’s on the back of our shirts as well ha.)

Later, I listened to the entire album, and this song really caught my attention. I listen to it when I get anxious about school and life in general. Here are the lyrics and each line’s breakdown.

————-

I’m a stud now, it’s clear
So it’ll shock you to hear
That I was a total dork
My freshman year
[CAMPBELL, spoken]
You?
[RANDALL, spoken]
Right?
I was a loser, a mess
A loner, depressed
That every day I had to be me
Walked around hoping no one would see me

I’d lock myself in the guys’ room and let the tears fall
Til’ one day this custodian knocked on my stall
And asked if I’d heard of the band The Grateful Dead—
And I thought he might not be quite right in the head—
But he changed my life around when he said:
“Right now, everything seems so important
But time rushes by at a clip
And when you look back, these high school years
Will be nothing more than a blip
So, you might as well enjoy the trip.”

This part really resonates with me. With the cutthroat, competitive atmosphere of my school, it’s so easy to get caught up in the small things. Every competition seems like a big event, and our lives seem to revolve around grades and GPAs.

But, you need to remember that high school is but only 4 years of your long, long life, and one day you won’t even remember your rank in high school. And for those whose lives will not be that long, it’s even more imperative that they spend less of their life worrying and more of their time enjoying life. Stop and smell the flowers, am I right?

[CAMPBELL, spoken]
But it’s such a long blip!
[RANDALL]
That’s what I said! And he said:
“Trust me on this, when you’re older
And wiser, and balder, and fatter
And you look back on this moment in time
The only things that’s gonna matter is
Did you only do what you thought you should do?
Did you dance a monkey dance ’cause the man told you to?
Or did you spend your time doing what brings joy to you?

I was talking to my friend about this last year when she graduated. We were reflecting on her four years of college and we came to the following conclusion. She had friends who were going off to elite universities, yet they had nothing they truly enjoyed or would miss about high school. She had seen them drag their feet to club meetings, to HOSA, to NHS, to all the resumer padders high schoolers do to look good for colleges.

Yet, they never really were invested in any of their extracurriculars. Meanwhile, she did have something she would miss about high school; theatre. For the past four years, theatre had been her home. She had spent so many late hours hovered over a sewing machine. But she really, truly, loved it.

And I guess this is a lesson that applies to me and everyone else as well. Yes, you do all those resume padders. But it’s important that you find something you love for yourself, something that keeps you going, something you’re passionate and invested in.

All you see is this old dude with a broom in his hand
But I’ve followed my dreams and my favorite band.
So don’t sit on your ass waiting for life to begin
If you do what you love with your time, then you win!

This line is always really comforting. While some people define success in high school as receiving an acceptance letter to their dream college or top university, I feel like success is defined as not wasting your time.

As long as you’re doing what you truly love to the best of your ability, you can look back on those four years with no regrets. Of course, that doesn’t mean you should cram up your schedule and try to do everything. No, we all need time to decompress and destress. But if you’re trying your hardest everyday, then that’s enough.

What a long, strange, wonderful trip it’s been!
Right now, everything seems so important
But time rushes by at a clip
And when you look back, these high school years
Will be nothing more than a blip
Just a tale to tell
[RANDALL & CAMPBELL]
That rings a bell
So what the hell!
We might as well enjoy the trip!

————-

While high school may feel never ending, I promise you that there’ll be a day when you stand in your cap and gown and you look back at those glass doors. Where did the time go? And one day, the worries you have breakdowns over now will seem so insignificant. As long as you don’t lose perspective, everything will be okay.

Mark // “All of Me” by John Legend

During the fall we have cross country meets every Saturday morning. These meets would finish around 10am, and we would take a bus back to school. On the trip home, someone always had a speaker, and they played All of Me everytime. Usually it was played as the last song before we arrived to our destination. This made my brain correlate All of Me to being done with a meet and being able to go home.

Everytime my team was completely drained of energy from running 5,000 meters, but we always sang our hearts out when All of Me came on. This song marked the end of a journey for the week. We had finished the race. After our last meet of the year we played All of Me for one last time. Those four and a half minutes basically concluded all my hardwork and training.

As John Legend sang, “Give your all to me, I’ll give my all to you,” my mind was completely peaceful. When it starts hurting a lot during a race I tell myself to keep pushing because at one point, when I finish, I’ll be able to rest. All of Me tells me: now I can rest.

Giuseppe // “Yellow Lights” by Harry Hudson

I just got introduced to this song recently by one of my friends, and at first it completely blindsided me by how hard it hit. I had just gone through a breakup recently, so this explanation could end up being really cheesy, but here goes nothing.

The first thing that I really noticed coming out of a breakup is that every song that I used to listen to started developing different meanings. It was like I had previously been emotionally distanced from the music, and couldn’t hear any deeper meaning behind the lyrics. At the time, a good friend of mine said that it was because I was actually choosing to hear meaning in what I was listening to.

In the period of time following, I began to notice that my playlists were starting to fill up with more love songs, specifically bittersweet ones. I guess to others that might sound weird, since love songs would logically be the last thing you’d want to listen to after a breakup.

As I thought about it more, I began to realise why I was being drawn towards these songs. I can’t speak for everyone, but I feel that the reason I listen to music is so that I don’t have to think my own thoughts.

Instead of having to reason through everything myself, I could just adapt the lyrics of the song to my specific situation, and often times the two weren’t that different anyways. Anyways, all of this ties back into my song, Yellow Lights. 

One of my favourite lyrics in this song goes, “Would you sing about me like I sing about you?” This lyric stuck out at me right away the first time I listened to this song.

Thinking back over my breakup, there is always one thing that still messes with my head every time I think about it. I guess in a way I’m still paranoid that the relationship was completely one sided. I’m still afraid that despite giving my all to the other person, they never felt the same way towards me. If that was true, then how badly did I misread our relationship? How could I have been so wrong about someone that I loved so much? These lyrics kinda embody those fears, but in a more beautiful and poetic way. 

Another one of my favourite lyrics goes, “ You’re all I’ve lost, yet all I’ve gained.” Here, I really like how it focuses on what was gained instead of what was lost. I know often times it seems that there might not be a point in being happy in a relationship because eventually it will end in pain regardless.

In the end though, I still feel that being in a relationship is a wonder and powerful experience, even if it will eventually end. If I focus on what I’ve gained during that time instead of what I lost, I will never regret the experience. 

————-

So what should I do in the darkness of you
When you light up my moon from July until June
What would I do if there wasn’t a you?
Would you sing about me like I sing about you?

You’re my sunshine
You’re my rain
You’re all I’ve lost
Yet all I’ve gained
If I must tell the truth

Hello darkness, goodbye light
I’ll kiss you close and hold you tight
If that’s alright with you
I’m coming back, if that’s alright with you
So come on back, if that’s alright with you

So what should I do when I’m dark and I’m blue?
When you light up my room from July until June
What would I do if there wasn’t a you?
Would you sing about me like I sing about you?

————-

Jonathan // “Breathe” by Lee Hi

This is one of my favorite songs. Sadly it’s Korean so my friends can’t enjoy it because they’re weird, but I am still putting it here since I think it’s a good song for the beginning of a decade and the end of another.

At first listen, I didn’t think much of this song. In fact, I heard the song from a playlist with “the best korean ballads” and I thought to myself “why is this song on here, the vocals aren’t even that good.” (I don’t know what was wrong with my brain at the time, the vocals are amazing).

After I learned the context and meaning of the song, my view on it did a 180. I play this song all the time now-which says a lot since I get tired of songs pretty easily. I believe it is my duty to share this song because it’s such an amazing song, and if you don’t like the song just because it’s Korean then you’re really missing out. (And yes, I did call you out Mark, but it’s okay, that’s how I thought of K-pop at first too but after hearing this song I was like wow, there’s some really good songs out there and if I never listen to them just because it’s a different language then that’s just dumb.)

Okay enough of me rambling, I’ll get to the song. I’ll first talk about the context since I think that is really important to this song. 

So here’s the context: On December 18, 2017, Kim Jong Hyun, the member of Korean Boy group, SHINee, was found dead after he killed himself. You might be wondering, “What does this have to do with this song?” Well, the answer is that he actually wrote the lyrics to this song.

The artist Lee Hi and Jong Hyun were really good friends, so considering that these lyrics weren’t written by her and what happened, I think that she sang the song extremely well. Also, she was only 20 at the time. I have heard many covers of this song, but I think that her breathy tone and her connection with the song is what makes it really stand out and unique.

I decided to include all the lyrics because each line stands out to me. I won’t talk about each line though cause you’ll probably get bored if you’re not already. Actually, I’ll just highlight some lyrics I really like and talk about the song as a whole at the end. Good plan, Jonathan. 

————-

Take a deep breath     
Until both sides of your heart get numb
Until it hurts a little
Let our your breath even more
Like there’s nothing left inside

It’s alright if you run out of breath
No one will blame you
It’s okay to make mistakes sometimes
Because anyone can do so

Although comforting by saying it’s alright
Are just words                    

Someone’s breath. That heavy breath
How can I see through that?                       

Though I can’t understand your breath
It’s alright I’ll hold you

It’s alright if you run out of breath
No one will blame you
It’s okay to make mistakes sometimes
Because anyone can do so
Although comforting by saying it’s alright
Are just words

Even if others think your sign
Takes out energy and strength

I already know
That you had a day that’s hard enough
To let out even a small sigh
Now don’t think of anything else

Let out a deep sigh
Just let it out like that

Someone’s breath. That heavy breath
How can I see through that?
Though I can’t understand your breath
It’s alright I’ll hold you

You really did a good job

————-

What I like about this song the most is that it’s like she is singing the song to you. To me, it feels like she is there telling you no one blames you and that it’s alright she’ll hold you. Even though the song is pretty short, I think that it holds a lot of meaning to it. My favorite part of the song is at the end when she sings, “You really did a good job”.

Often times people only pick out and focus on the bad things and all the good things are expected of you or left unnoticed. Hearing those words usually gives me a reason to cheer up, but after watching a video of her singing this live as a tribute to Jonghyun and hearing her voice break and continuously shake as if she wanted to cry, the song itself usually makes me cry for real.

You might be wondering why I decided on such a sad song for the new year, but like I said earlier, I think this is a good song for the end of the decade and the beginning of a new one. The last line, “You really did a good job,” is reassuring in that it’s like saying you did a good job this year. The message of hope throughout the song also fits well in the sense that it is the beginning of a new year.

I could probably go on and on and on about this song but I think I have written enough. Also, its break and Annie’s really trying to give us homework so I this is all I will be writing.


Have you listened to any of these songs before?
What are some of your favorite songs/artists?
What else should I make my friends write about?

P.P.S. Drawing by Henn Kim

4 thoughts on “Four of my friends talk about songs that mean something to them”

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