Three words to describe your playlist:
Then, Now, Later.
How did you curate this playlist?
When I came to the United States from Venezuela, I was just 8 years old. At that age all I wanted to do was fit in and assimilate as quickly as possible, correcting my pronunciation at every turn and absorbing as much mass media as possible to be able to communicate with other kids. The last few years I have been reflecting on my process of assimilation, rediscovering my Venezuelan upbringing and pursuing the history of my Cuban family.
The songs I selected are meant to reflect my introspection, in conjunction with being a recent graduate looking for employment, participating in the MAIP program, and missing my partner as we do long distance until my internship ends.
Some of the songs I included in the playlist, I haven’t actively listened to in the past few years, but they represent periods of my upbringing. Juan Luis Guerras’ "Las Avispas" is a song I remember hearing in the radio in Venezuela, but have never pursued or stumbled upon ever since I moved to the United States.
Other songs like Nico's "These Days" and Elvis Costello's "Welcome to the Working Week" have changed in meaning for me, now that I am working 9 to 6 and wondering the streets of a new city. Ella Fitzgerald's "Night and Day" as well as Vampire Weekend's "Ladies of Cambridge" used to make me joyful, but now they bring a sense of yearning as those are songs that remind me of my girlfriend. She was the first person I showed the playlist too.
The crux of the playlist is inevitably, working hard and making the most out of my time in New York. Joni Mitchell's "Chelsea Morning" and Bob Dylan's "Subtarranean Homesick Blues" reflects the different personalities of the city, intimate, busy, and always full of energy. "Fear is a Man's Best Friend," John Cale's follow-up to his Velvet Underground days, reflects my embrace of fear as metric for knowing when to step out of my comfort zone, while Arcade Fire's "Everything Now" acts as an anthem for my generation and my ambition.
Tell me about one song or artist on this playlist and what they represent to you:
Breaking Bad introduced me to Ana Tijoux. I always liked the soundtrack for the show better than the show itself, and in one episode they feature her song "1977," a quick-paced, Spanish-language rap about Tijoux' identity. Addressing the political climate in the world and the hierarchy of power that limits the growth of women, minorities, and immigrants, "Shock," which I included in the playlist, builds upon "1977" with an energy and conviction that has made it one of my favorite songs of late.
In contrast, "Creo en Ti," another song from Tijoux that I've included, is a softer song about believing in others when they face personal doubt. Her reflections on her Hispanic identity, along with her energy and passion have drawn me to her music as they represent my own feelings at the moment.