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October in Five Songs
Accepting my own fears during spooky szn
Welcome to This Month in 5 Songs. This one’s ready right out of the gate; for some reason, I found it very easy to choose the songs for this month. I’ve had a great time writing this series so far. If you’re listening to anything that really resonates with you and where you’re at lately, let me know. I’d love to listen with you :)
On the heels of the Mid-Autumn festival, the equinox, and some recent notable lunar happenings, I feel like the moon has been on my mind lately. Frankly, I haven’t thought much about astrology, am not familiar with any lore, and barely know about my own cultural roots in the Mid-Autumn festival other than “I guess it’s time to eat a mooncake,” but I’ve been thinking more about the night in general, too.
Fall is my favorite season (especially growing up in the Northeast) but I dread the dwindling daylight hours, which seems odd as a bonafide Night Owl. As much as I feel energized at night, I fear darkness—a pesky childhood phobia I’ve carried into adulthood.
But there’s something comforting about the moon and something so arresting when I see an unexpected one in the night sky. As I step into this season, I want to see my own fears as I see the moon, as something that can evoke an emotional response but can also be observed from a distance, even appreciated.
Without a doubt, this is a love song. But in the same way that it’s hard to choose who we fall for, I’ve often felt that way about the course of my life. Part of me wishes I could’ve been content doing what I’d always been taught to do, never thinking too hard about it. But I just… couldn’t. The lines, “Wouldn't it be Heaven / Loving anybody else? But it's Hell that I choose” and the sing-songyness of “Why youuu?” is spot-on because it’s funny how we can’t really help it. It just happens.
Icarus only re-entered my orbit (since, what, a 7th-grade Mythology unit?) via a lyric in one of my favorite Hamilton songs. It’s a cautionary tale about ambition, not knowing your limits, and disregarding warnings; and where we get the idiom “flying too close to the sun.”
In the same vein as the previous song, I felt so drawn to the message here—that staying the course doesn’t feel like a viable option, but that doesn’t make the fear of failure or imploding any smaller. What remains is just this hope that you’re doing the right* thing (*as defined by yourself). When she sings (really, rambles) the line, “But dude, if it's jump or giving up / I hope I'm not an Icarus,” I could hear that exasperation mixed with hope.
Can we also talk about the dreamy way she sings, “I found me when I lost my mind?” It’s easy to think of losing one’s mind as going insane, but in this context, I wonder if it’s shedding your own ego (and its attachment to others’ expectations) that finally gives you the weightlessness to soar.
Additional food for thought: I’m thinking of that cheesy quote, “Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss, you'll land among the stars.” Maybe I’m trying to tackle too much in a sub-paragraph, but it’s interesting to me that aiming high can simultaneously be a source of inspiration and a word of warning in society’s eyes. The mixed messages give me whiplash. Should we just throw it all out the window and go for what we want?
After I brought up old bands I used to listen to last month, I stepped back into the time machine and listened to a bunch of music from my angsty youth, and damn, it truly is a treasure trove. This song came out in 2003 and I have distinct memories of jumping up and down in my room to this while feeling fearful of the future. Exactly 20 years later, I find myself wanting to do the same.
2003 must have been my emo era. I can’t talk about the moon and not throw it back to this; it’s always one of the first songs that comes to mind when I think of the moon (a close second being Jason Mraz’s Bella Luna). Behind the raw and sometimes screamy vocals typical of this genre, there are so many beautiful melodies and lyrics that have stuck in my mind for decades.
I end with this song because I have to constantly remind myself to keep “floating on my low-key vibe.” There is so much input out there, so much noise, so many ‘shoulds.’ I think this song is trying to say that we don’t need to pretend to live some lifestyle that doesn’t suit us. Ultimately, I’m yearning to stay simple and true to the things I care about, and sometimes that means I have to choose to float on a different wavelength altogether.