Hello, my lovely people!
If you follow me on Twitter or Instagram, you know that this summer I’ve been obsessed with the cast of the latest season of Operación Triunfo (Spanish Idol). I think that they’re 16 incredible performers, and 16 wonderful souls. Their music has brought me a lot of joy, and I can’t wait for them to all have full solo projects out!
As bonus content on the show’s YouTube channel, some of the cast revealed a list of five songs that they would take with them to another planet where there is no other music. I thought I’d do the same for y’all.
If you know me at all, you know these two things: I’m very indecisive, and I make very long playlists. I like a lot of tunes, people, but I managed to pick just five that have a very special place in my heart that I’d take with me. Here you have them!
1) “Copenhague” by Vetusta Morla (2008)
I have way too many favorite songs. That being said, if someone asks me for just one, I’d tell them this one. The first time I heard this song, I immediately fell in love. Even the first few lines of the song really resonated with me. This was my most played song of 2017 on my Spotify Wrapped playlist, and I know it’ll be high up there on my 2018 version too. Here are a few of my favorite lines.
“El corría, nunca le enseñaron a andar, se fue tras luces pálidas.”
English translation: “He ran, they never taught him how to walk, he went after pale lights.”
I identify with this line really heavily. When I was in middle and high school, I can’t explain to you how hard I tried to be something and someone that I’m not. I put so much effort into trying to become something that I thought others would approve of and find worthy or successful. Looking back at everything that I put myself through, I felt like I was always running and didn’t seem to know how to walk. I think that I went after a lot of pale lights too – people and situations that weren’t nearly capable of holding as much of my heart as I put into them. Instead of bright lights, I ran at full-speed towards pale ones. It wasn’t a good combination, and this simple line wraps it up poetically and ties it all in a bow.
“Aeropuertos, unos vienen y otros se van, igual que Alícia sin ciudad.”
English translation: “Airports, some come and some go, just like Alice without a city.”
I feel this line on more of a literal level, being that I live thousands of miles from the majority of my family. I’ve spent so much time throughout my entire life in airports, going to and from different places to see different loved ones. I have family in Spain, India, Netherlands, and a few different states here in the USA. Even though I’ve had the privilege of spending time in all of these countries, I’ve definitely struggled with the feeling of always being a foreigner no matter where I am, whether it be at a place that I consider home that doesn’t see me that way, or being somewhere that I’m supposed to consider my home and definitely not feeling it.
“Llueve en el canal. La corriente enseña el camino hacia el mar.”
English Translation: “It is raining in the canal. The current shows the way toward the sea.”
I like this one for this simple message: the hardships lead you somewhere good. I have faith in this concept in many aspects of life, and I feel like I specifically relate it to my own life in the sense that I’ve had to endure really painful relationships and painful endings to those relationships (friendships, romantic relationships, and familial relationships), and I like to believe that this has all equipped me for really positive and strong relationships in the future. That because I’ve been through the rain in the current, I am prepared for the beautiful sea.
2) “Everybody” by Logic (2017)
This song is one that I definitely consider a “biracial anthem.” I am, indeed, biracial, so songs like this one definitely give me major heart eyes. It perfectly captures the struggle of getting the short end of the stick from every direction, the feeling of being lost, and the searching for self-acceptance in viewing yourself as whole and enough. This one just hits the spot for me every time, and I definitely rap this entire song at an aggressive volume in my apartment both with or without other people around. I also love that this is the title song of this album. Logic is amazing and his activism for so many different issues inspires me a lot. He is definitely my favorite rapper. Here are a few of my favorite lines from this gem of a tune.
“Red light, stop, green light, go! Everything ain’t what it seem like.”
This one is pretty self-explanatory, but still very necessary to remind people of. It’s human nature to make assumptions, but we need to learn to check ourselves and not do anything with them. You can’t take everything at face value, and not everything is just how it may look to you. If I had a penny for every time somebody assumed something incorrect about me, specifically my racial background – well, I’d be rolling around in pennies. If I had a penny for every time I made a wrong assumption, I’d also have a lot of ’em.
“Looking for something to complete us, and maybe lead us, f*** an elitist. Hell of a long way from equal is how they treat us. Body of a builder with the mind of a fetus. Turn on the television and see the vision they feed us and I wish I could erase that, face facts.”
So, this one’s got a lot of good stuff going on. It hits on that search that a lot of biracial people go through, the search for something to complete us and make us feel whole. It’s a confusing one. I also love the quick dig at the elitist Mr. Trump, whose policies, actions, and words Logic has spoken out against on multiple occasions. This line just emphasizes the unique struggle for finding acceptance, and, well, equality that biracial individuals face. I, for example, struggle with not feeling accepted as Indian. It’s a struggle of acceptance for me, not necessarily equality, because I’m not being systemically or societally denied something that will give me a disadvantage in life. It’s just about not feeling accepted. I feel really disregarded and discarded in many situations because I am only half Indian. It can be because of a lot of things – the fact that I don’t speak Hindi, the fact that I don’t eat spicy foods, or the fact that I’m fair-skinned and identify heavily with being half Spanish, and a Hispanic person. None of those things make me less Indian, but other people seem to treat me like they do. That’s a post for another day, but being biracial is a really hard battle to face, and it’s largely internal, so we’ve got to talk about it if we want people to know the reality behind it.
“Everybody people, everybody bleed, everybody need something. Everybody love, everybody know, how it go.”
This is a good underlying message to repeat as a chorus. We are all people behind all of the labels. We are human beings both needing of love, as well as capable of giving love. That’s something that I wish was more deeply emphasized in the world.
“If it was 1717, black daddy, white momma wouldn’t change a thing. Light skin mothafucka certified as a house n****. Well I’ll be Goddamned, go figure. In my blood is the slave and the master. It’s like the devil playin’ spades with the pastor. But he was born with the white privilege! Man what the f*** is that? White people told me as a child, as a little boy, playin’ with his toys I should be ashamed to be black. And some black people look ashamed when I rap, like my great granddaddy didn’t take a whip to the back. Not accepted by the black or the white. I don’t give a f***, praise God, I could see the light.”
I won’t thoroughly comment on this lyric because I think it is so strikingly powerful that it should just stand alone and speak for itself. Logic talks specifically about being half Black and half White, and his personal struggle. I don’t necessarily agree with how he dismissed White privilege, but this is his description of his feelings so anything goes and is valid. These lines are something that I felt so deeply, as well as completely respect.
3) “Girasoles” by Rozalén (2017)
My mom showed me this song at the beginning of this summer, and I absolutely fell in love with it. It reminds me of my mama, so that’s always a plus, but this song’s lyrics are so, so beautiful. Here’s my breakdown of a few of my favorites.
“Era necesario respirar para mirar alrededor.”
English translation: “It was necessary to breathe to look around me.”
This is the first line of the song, and I definitely related to it this summer. I went through a really rough patch in April and May of this year because somebody I was really close to passed away. I was planning on studying abroad this summer, but instead I went to Spain to spend time with my family who were also experiencing this same grief. Although grief is something that never ends, I am doing a lot better after spending time with my family, relaxing, and breathing. I stopped and looked at my surroundings, and it was what helped me start healing.
“Todo lo que no se atiende tarde o temprano re-aparece.”
English translation: “Everything one doesn’t tend to sooner or later reappears.”
Oof, another one that definitely, definitely hit home. I dealt with a lot of difficult emotions this summer, both regarding myself, as well as regarding other people. I dealt with some things that I had tried to just push away, and it made me feel so unbelievably much better. You’ve gotta take care of your baggage, y’all. I promise that the growth that comes from it is so beautiful.
“Así que le canto a los valientes, que llevan por bandera la verdad. A quienes son capaces de sentirse en la piel de los demás, los que no participan de las injusticias.”
English translation: “So, I sing to the brave, who carry the flag for the truth. To those who are capable of putting themselves in the skin of others, those who don’t participate in injustices.”
This is a big theme throughout the song – uniting with those who you find good, and who are good to the world. I’ve definitely surrounded myself with some amazing humans throughout the past year of my life, and, let me tell you, it makes all the difference.
“A ti, mi compañero que me tiendes la mano, que es tu corazón bondad. Me estudias con curiosidad, me miras con respeto, y besas con cariño cada parte de mi cuerpo.”
English translation: “To you, my partner who holds out their hand to me, your heart is kindness. You study me with curiosity, you look at me with respect, and you kiss each part of my body with love.”
I think this line is so beautiful because it embodies the kind of partner I want to have one day. This partner is being described as supportive, kind, respectful, and loving. This sounds like such a healthy relationship, and it opposes unhealthy relationship dynamics that we are frequently presented with in music.
“Tienes en los ojos girasoles, y cuando me miras soy la estrella que más brilla. Cuando ríes se ilumina todo el techo.”
English translation: “You have sunflowers in your eyes, and when you look at me I am the star that shines the most. When you laugh, the whole ceiling illuminates.”
What a beautiful way to describe somebody who you love. “You have sunflowers in your eyes,” meaning you attract the sun and light, all of the bright things. I love that. I also like that she describes their laugh as illuminating the ceiling. Describing this person as both brightness, and someone who attracts it is such a beautiful sentiment. This is what a healthy, really loving relationship looks like.
I think I might do an entire post on this song, because it’s proving to be quite difficult to just choose a few lines that I love! It promotes happiness, emotional health, healthy relationships, and love all through the song. It’s a yes from me (why do I feel like I need to insert a sassy gif of Simon Cowell right now?). So, stay tuned for that post!
4) “Tiny Dancer” by Elton John (1971)
This classic song is one that never fails to bring me comfort and calm me down. I don’t have a specific lyric or anything that ties me to the song, it’s just the feeling that it gives me that I love so much.
The summer after 8th grade, I moved to a different state, and it was a challenging transition for me. I remember listening to this song, both the original and the version from “The Voice” by Caroline Glaser, all the time. I remember listening to it on the many six-hour drives we did that year from East Lansing to suburban Chicago trying to take my mind off of being distraught. This is a classic, and a very special one to me.
5) “La Negra Tiene Tumbao” by Celia Cruz (2001)
Sometimes, you just need to dance. I don’t necessarily have a lot to say about this one either, or any lyric that really stands out to me. The salsa rhythm in this song never fails to make me dance, and smile. I also love that this song is being sung by an iconic Hispanic woman. Celia Cruz is who I think of first when I picture Black Latinas in the media. She is one of my favorite artists of all time, and her beats are all undeniably infectious. “La Vida Es Un Carnaval,” and “Azúcar Negra,” are two of my other favorites of hers.
There it is, folks. I hope you enjoyed hearing both the stories behind these picks as well as the songs themselves!
Let me know in the comments if you’d like to see a part two to this post including five more songs!
So much love,
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