Playlist of My Life: Marcy Cassidy-Mapp `24

Marcy Cassidy-Mapp `24 sits in a tree on Mac Field while listening to music.
Marcy Cassidy-Mapp `24 sits in a tree on Mac Field while listening to music.
Meilynn Smith

Marcy and music had a very rocky relationship initially. I unfortunately suffered through playing trumpet in middle and high school, so I didn’t exactly spend much of my adolescence wanting to open Spotify recreationally. I was also just weird and thought it was really quirky to not have a favorite artist or know any songs — it really wasn’t. 

After I began my inevitable quarantine workout phase, my workout buddy practically begged me to listen to something in the gym instead of staring into space like a sociopath. I didn’t know where to start, so I spam texted every contact in my phone to send me three song recommendations to get started. That messy cluster of 74 songs became my first playlist on Spotify, and this origin is to blame for why my music taste is so incomprehensible. 

I truthfully can’t verbalize why I like this song. It’s not even two minutes long, and I doubt I’d ever be allowed to even imply how inappropriate it is without a content warning. It’s fast, upbeat and energetic, but it’s also vulgar, slightly tasteless and admittedly generic. So why do I still listen to it? I don’t know, some songs are just like that. Sure, it’s not my favorite song anymore, but I went on my first road trip listening to lil aaron and built my first computer memorizing the lyrics. Sometimes, you outgrow a song and it’s not your cup of tea anymore, but it sticks to you and your playlist like a memory. Until I can replace all of the baggage I’ve wrapped into it, “DRUGS” will occupy its own special corner of my Spotify.

Buying my first car was a major step to my musical apotheosis. With the motivation of a two-hour train commute to my part-time job, I decided to buy a 2007 Honda Accord that I eventually named “Baby Blue.”  The name was inspired by “The Other Side of Paradise,” the first song to autoplay on its speaker. I listened to it every day on my way to work, and the final chorus got me to accidentally speed more than a few times. I would sell my firstborn to hear this song for the first time again. 

Glass Animals was the first band I followed seriously, and hearing deep tracks like “The Other Side of Paradise” is something special in an existential way. Despite the synth bass and lively tone, it’s actually a bummer of a song. It’s about lost dreams, crushed expectations and coping with changes that come with tragedy. When I decided to delay arriving on campus my first year, I knew it was the right call since I wouldn’t survive classes during quarantine. Still, there was an irrational feeling of shame and guilt that crops up when I feel stagnant. Even when I was hard on myself and the commutes felt longer than normal, Glass Animals took my mind off of it and made moving forward a bit easier. 

I, Marcy Cassidy-Mapp, couldn’t ride a bike without training wheels until my second year. The Younker bike ramp was the site of many embarrassing falls, and, despite advice provided by supportive friends, I was mortified at how often I lost my balance doing simple turns or narrowly avoided bike-ular manslaughter. Idol was the opening song to the anime “Oshi no Ko,” and is entirely in Japanese. I’ve never watched the show, so I was drawn to it purely on vibes. Since it was helpful to zone out to the lyrics, I decided to do a practice lap whenever it played on shuffle. The rap verse alone excited me enough to break the sound barrier, so it was the first song I added to my biking playlist when I overcame the basics. Not to put myself on blast, but I’m VERY anti-playlist, so that was a big step for me.

Obsessing over aesthetics is a good way to miss out on new passions, and that was almost the case when I stumbled across “Airhead.” Honey Revenge is the definition of indie girl rock — the song feels nostalgic yet new with the guitar techniques they use. As for the lyrics, they mismatch with the happy pop sound. It’s a heartfelt song that comments on unintentional self-sabotaging, which listeners can relate to with lyrics like, “with the best intention, I can’t make it right.” I’ve never been knowledgeable or involved with mainstream artists, so recommending songs myself was more stressful than asking for recs. Airhead was such a catchy one that I sang its praises from the rooftop before I even wondered if other people would like it as much as me. Luckily, sharing indie artists with people was a good way to stumble across some eventual favorites, so I always keep this on standby if anyone asks for recommendations.

Boredom gets you lost in strange rabbit holes. Most of the time, they come and go in a few google searches, but sometimes, you’re me, and you become hyper fixated on a TikTok musical project for four years. Epic the Musical, based on Homer’s “Odyssey,” has been on my radar since its humble online origins, so I was overjoyed this Valentine’s Day when four new songs were released on the concept album. “Wouldn’t You Like” was one of the earlier song drafts released by the show’s creator, Jorge Rivera-Herrans, meaning his groovy interpretation of Hermes and I go way back. Harps and arpeggios are the messenger god’s signature and add so much upbeat levity that you almost forget he’s advising Odysseus on how to battle an immortal witch goddess. I forgot about Epic for a bit when I first arrived at Grinnell, so it’s been like reuniting with an old friend to listen to the completed songs as they release on Spotify.

Recommended by my first high school friend, Sapna, Blue Hundreds is my pick for #1 love song, and I’ll hear no arguments. I’ll openly admit to being a hopeless romantic, and it’s hard to fight my nature when Holy Mattress Money comes up. “Blue Hundreds” reflects a love characterized by intense passion, emotional investment and a willingness to work through personal challenges. I wanted to end on this song because music has been a relationship building exercise for me. I’ve always envied people who could bond over something as simple as a shared favorite genre or artist, so I feel really lucky to understand the people I value more through their music.

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