judging a song by its title


Last year, on a “random” day in June, I started making a “random” playlist where I dumped “random songs with interesting titles.” I collected the songs “randomly,” but I didn’t play most of them right away. I just saved them in my playlist so I could check them out later — but before I go into that, wait, I have a side note:


I write the word “random” in quotation marks because I don’t believe true randomness exists, and I know that this is beside the point, but — hey, remember that sweet, sweet time in the late 2000s when people shared “random playlists” on Friendster or MySpace or Blogspot? And remember when people used to call themselves “random” because of some quirk, like whenever they giggle audibly in front of their crushes they go, “omg I’m sooo random, like, nyar nyar nyar.” Sarap bigwasan.

Anyway, yes, back to my random playlist of songs with “interesting” titles — sorry, wait, another side note:


The word “interesting” is a shallow modifier, isn’t it? It means nothing, precisely because you can use it to describe anything. Your daily horoscope, a one-eyed cat, the Ursa Major constellation of zits on your back — anything can be interesting.

So when I say “random” songs with “interesting” titles, I mean songs with titles that have caught my attention and made me go, oooh, what could this song be possibly about? Maybe I should listen to it one day — not now, no, but one day.

And today is the day, kids. The day hath arrived. Today I finally have the time and the resolve (wuw, struggle teh?) to listen to my not-really-random playlist filled with not-really-random songs.



The first song on my list is called “Scott Pilgrim vs. My GPA” and it’s by a band called Mom Jeans.

I must say, man, this song is good emo. The bridge begins with a trumpet wail spliced with a rousing pa-rah-rah choral ensemble, then it leads to saksak-puso coda in which the vocalist sings, repeatedly, as if trying to convince not only the listeners but more importantly himself: I sleep well alone now. I sleep well alone now. Noice!

Next up is Lana Del Rey’s “hope is a dangerous thing for a woman like me to have – but I have it.” Taray! The song was originally called “Sylvia Plath,” and I still would’ve found it interesting (hah!). I like the actual song too. Sultry vocals, subdued keyboards — what’s not to like? I wish it was Lorde who sings it though, or even Adele. Oh well.

Next up is Yellow House’s “Love In the Time of Socialism” — I mean, dude, how could I not? How could you not? *wink*

It’s hard to tell if Yellow House is taking a jab at quote socialists unquote who study at Sorbonne and other ivory towers, but I still like the song. It feels like a cold autumn breeze or a much-needed hug, and the vibe reminds me of French impressionist paintings, although this may have more to do with the album art.

Next is Mitski’s “My Body’s Made of Crushed Little Stars” — shet, I sound like a Myx VJ, don’t I?

Anyhow, I have more than one Mitski song in my playlist. There’s also “A Horse Named Cold Air” and “Because Dreaming Costs Money, My Dear.” The titles made me do a double take, for sure, but the songs are, uhm, keri lang. Sakto lang. Sapat lang.

(I can hear my street cred crumbling into pieces and sublimating into thin air whenever I describe Mitski as “keri lang.” Sorry, kids. Guess I’m not cool enough.)

Not all the songs in my list are new to me. Some of them are songs that I have known long before I flagged them for their titles and dumped them into this playlist.

For instance, of Montreal’s “Wraith Pinned to the Mist and Other Games” has been one of my pump-up songs ever since college. I remember being really into it back in the day because of the chorus. Let’s pretend we don’t exist / Let’s pretend we’re in Antarctica. Man, those were the days when I badly wanted to vanish. (I still do, sometimes.)

Another familiar song is Sufjan Stevens’ “The Predatory Wasp of the Palisades Is Out to Get Us!” Just like Wraith Pinned, this was also one of my favorites when I was much younger. I’m pretty sure all the songs in the Illinois album have “interesting” titles, at least to me. My favorite track is called “Casimir Pulaski Day.”


Okay, so I still have more songs that I want to share but it’s now past midnight and I need to sleep. I can keep this post in the drafts and never let it see the light of day, I can write a part two and continue blabbing about “random” songs in a different post, or you can stalk me on Spotify and check out the rest of the songs in my playlist (which is still growing, by the way).

In any case, I need to end it here. I hope you’re staying safe and warm wherever you are. And if you’re not in the best mood, listen to the Yellow House song. To quote Natalie Portman in that one scene in Garden State, “It will change your life, charot.”

(She obviously didn’t say charot. It’s me who’s saying charot, because obviously no single song can change your entire life but, like, I’m just so random, you know, like, nyar nyar nyar.)


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