Andi’s Audio: Breathe and Reflect

Andi’s Audio is a culmination of my two favorite creative outlets: writing and music. Each month, I will curate a playlist based on a specific musical element or quality, and try and convince you to listen to it, enticing you with descriptions of my favorite tracks. This month’s playlist is titled “Breathe and Reflect.”

Usually the October air would prompt me to make a playlist about fall: haunting vocals, Taylor Swift’s “Red,” songs that encourage apple picking, horror movie watching, perhaps “Sweater Weather” by The Neighborhood. However, as a senior, I’ve been introduced to an entirely new fall experience: stress. So for this issue, I will curate a playlist for everyone who feels the intense pressure to meet the standards set by someone else. “Breathe and Reflect” will hopefully remind you that everything is temporary, and nothing is worth the deterioration of your spirit.

For the full “Breathe and Reflect” playlist click here.

“I Gotta Find Peace of Mind- Live” – Ms. Lauryn Hill
There was only one choice for the opening song of this column. I knew I had to start the year off right and I knew it had to be “I Gotta Find Peace of Mind- Live” by the iconic Ms. Lauryn Hill. This song is about believing in love again: pure desire in voice cracks, real tears and little mistakes. Ms. Lauryn Hill could sing the phone book and my eyes would still water. Each second of this performance is worth its slightly absurd duration.

“Magic Hour” – Jhené Aiko
When I think of Jhené Aiko, “underrated” is the word that jumps out of my head, followed by something along the lines of “enchanted sorceress.” “Magic Hour” is a song overflowing with self-empowering affirmations, high vibrations and sound bowls and bells that bring the sky, sun and ocean right into your headphones. “Maybe I am the miracle,” she whispers into the microphone, letting her listeners know that things may not be perfect right now, but the chaos is beautiful anyway.

“I Exist I Exist I Exist” – Flatsound
I was skeptical about this song at first. I wasn’t expecting to feel so balanced, so relaxed, so automatically safe as the guitar began to play. I guess that is how folk music is supposed to feel. The story is familiar, and its characters are ones you already know: the boy and his estranged father with “a bottle of lies for a heart.” Paired with the faded landscape on the album cover, this song feels like pine needles, soil and a scraped knee. What more do you need to validate your existence than this song’s ability to bring you into the woods?

“Garden (Say It Like Dat)” – SZA
How could I NOT include SZA in a playlist about aligning with a higher you? She is the embodiment of self-discovery and finding a purpose in the meaninglessness of unrequited love. Her runs are smooth, easy and never tacky. I especially like this song as opposed to others on “Ctrl” because I can understand the lyrics clearly. SZA’s diction is clearer in “Garden (Say It Like Dat)” than in other songs, and I enjoy how passionate she sounds as a result. Her grandmother’s message is the perfect ending, offering some wisdom in response to SZA’s naive ideas of love that she emotes earlier in the song: a perfect avenue to reflect on love and life.