Today’s featured playlist comes from my girlfriend, Shawn (who refuses to let me put her last name on this). Check out as she details specific memories associated with each of these songs!


I’m really not a music expert—I am never the person who has heard of a band first and I usually have to make up lyrics when I sing along to music in the car. Music for me has always kind of served as a time capsule, and some songs are like the BTTF DeLorean that have the power to shuttle me back to certain memories. So my featured playlist is just a bunch of songs from 2010-2013 and a little story of the memory they bring me back to.

Like a G6—Far East Movement, The Cataracts

Winter of my sophomore or junior year, my friend Shelly and I decided to drive two hours south to Washington D.C. to hit up an 18+ club. The idea of that now makes me want to get about 6 Hepatitis vaccines but at the time I was genuinely ecstatic about it. We were get-kind of-drunk in-a-frat-house-basement girls, and ready to be all sophisticated-at-a-legit-club girls.

Because safety first, we brought along Shelly’s then-boyfriend and my good friend Shin. Shin and I shared a few labs together, and quickly became best friends. In fact, I remember one time I mentioned that our names were very similar, and he paused for a moment before sharing, “hmm, no, that’s not right. I’m far superior to you.” Like I said, best friends.

The club was overflowing with writhing, sweaty, under-21 bodies. As soon as we walked in, Shelly and her boyfriend were swallowed up into the crowd. I immediately tried to follow them, but felt a tug on my hand. I looked up, and saw a stranger holding my paw and smiling. Suddenly, I felt a tug on my other hand. Thinking it was my good friend Shin coming to my rescue, I quickly turned and gave him a grateful smile. It actually just turned out to be another stranger. Let’s call him Stranger #2. Shin was behind him and laughing his entire superior guts out. Panicked, and being tugged in literally two different directions, I took a deep breath and placed Stranger #2’s hand into his predecessor’s, Stranger #1. Then, I watched as Stranger #2 was pulled into the thick tangle of bodies in front of us by my OG suitor. It happened so fast, but it all felt very magical. I may be a biologist by training, but I definitely felt some real chemistry in that moment.

“My god,” My useless friend Shin breathed from behind me. “The strategy! You are like an artist of war, and dance clubs.”

Criminal—Fiona Apple

My senior year, I lived in an on-campus townhouse with four other girls. My room overlooked the street, and one night I was listening to music and trying so hard to care about my upcoming finals. I heard some kind of commotion on the street, but mostly ignored it until things started to escalate. I distinctly heard a female voice screaming at a male voice, and I suddenly worried that she might need some help. So, I turned all my lights off and crawled under my window and texted one of my roommates to come listen, too. Two seconds later, she burst into my room and army-crawled over to my window. I’m not sure why we both instinctively did that, actually. Anyway, the girl on the street was getting progressively angrier, and as I thought about maybe intervening, she screamed the most profound thing I will ever hear in my life:

“FUCK you, fuck your entire family, and fuck your future grandchildren”

This girl literally just told this guy’s entire lineage to fuck itself. Like he didn’t even have kids yet and already THEIR kids were being told to fuck off. He honestly responded the only way he could:

“Jesus, I’m just trying to get you to bed, YOU HAVE AN EXAM IN EIGHT HOURS!!”

I genuinely hope they’re married now.

Bottom’s Up—Trey Songz ft Nicki Minaj

My best friend from high school went to school four hours south of me in Richmond, VA. I used to head down on a Friday after class, and spend the weekend with her and her art school friends. One Friday, as I’m screaming along to the radio, I start to notice that my throat is feeling kind of scratchy. Oh well, I thought. I figured I’d just take a few Advil before I went out that night.

By the time I made it to Sarah’s apartment, my voice was so raspy and hoarse that I honestly didn’t even recognize myself. Undeterred, we went out and I convinced myself that I sounded really sophisticated. To be clear, I definitely didn’t, and everybody I spoke to looked terrified.

When I woke up on Saturday, my voice was completely gone. I had never lost my voice before, so I didn’t even know what to do with myself. Sarah and I stopped for some coffees, and for some reason she solicited medical advice from the handsome barista wearing a beanie.

“Easy,” he said. “SoCo with honey heated up 30s in the microwave. Works like a charm.”

First of all, that heated whiskey/honey combo tasted like pure vomit, and it worked like the exact opposite of a charm. I still obviously went out after drinking this witch’s brew, but I had no voice, and my stomach wanted to quit and join a new body. But, wanting to be a team player, I danced and pretended to scream along to the music in a hipster living room until 2 in the morning. That’s about the time I quietly snuck away to go throw up that barista poison.

After such an eventful weekend, I was ready to head back to Pennsylvania. Unfortunately, my car had been towed and Sarah had fallen into a deep Sunday slumber, so I had to bang on her door for 45 minutes to get a ride to the impound lot and communicate with the front desk guy via sticky pad.

Thanks for the memories, Trey Songz!

Take Care—Drake ft Rihanna

Little known fact you never asked to know about me, but in college I was super involved with my school’s Russian department. Every day at 8:30 am, I would trudge to Russian class where a Siberian goddess named Olga would tower over me and demand that I conjugate verbs to her satisfaction.

Anyway, the department would host a visiting Russian student every semester to serve as a TA and take classes. I developed the BIGGEST crush on the exchange student that visited during the spring of my junior year. He was one of my housemates, and we used to get drunk and do his roommate’s Calculus homework together. I have never taken Calculus in my life.

When classes let out for the summer, my Russian TA and I decided to visit Chicago to stay with another one of our former housemates. For me, this involved driving home to Virginia to drop off my things with my parents, and taking a bus from DC to NYC where I would meet the TA and hop on a flight to Chicago.

I hopped off the bus on 8th Ave at like 2 in the morning. My TA met me at the stop, and we immediately headed underground to catch a train to the airport. We sat down on a bench on the platform, and I remember that he offered me one of his ear buds. It literally felt like we were going to get married. The TA broke our companionable silence and said matter-of-factly: “Cat.” I sleepily looked down, and literally the biggest grey rat of my entire life was sniffing at my shoe. Like it is not hyperbole when I say it was bigger than my schnauzer.

I instantly jumped up, ripping the ear buds from both of our ears, and started screaming. The rat was only like, kind of bothered by the scene, and my TA caught most of the exchange on video.

Pon de Replay—Rihanna

Junior or senior year, I went to a party at the tree house that the soccer team was throwing. I was living my best life, dancing in the middle of the floor, when I felt somebody dance up behind me. I looked over my shoulder and recognized him as one of my friend Shelly’s boyfriend’s teammates. Alright, I thought. I guess this is acceptable. His eyes were the color of Windex and he had white-blonde hair and a fair complexion. If he had told me he was a ghost I probably would’ve believed him. The only reason I mention it is because a few seconds later he said something to Shelly in Korean. She laughed politely and kind of nodded.

I instantly spun around and asked how he knew Korean.

“I just picked it up,” he said, all casual. “I’m pretty good at languages. I pick them up really fast. I also speak German, Italian, Spanish, and Russian.”

“You speak Russian??! That’s so great!” I said in Russian.

“What?” he said, in English.

Ok, Jake.

Party Rock Anthem–LMFAO

One summer, Shelly’s aunt agreed to let her bring a few friends to her beach house in Atlantic City. We all piled into two cars, and made multiple Wawa stops on the way to AC. I feel like gas station sandwich stores aren’t really as revered in Texas as they are on the East Coast, but Wawa and Sheetz are both bae and I really want you all to experience that.

AC was kind of dead the weekend we were there, so we mostly hung out and drank on the beach. One of my friends looks exactly like Frodo and I remember that he was also really into the stanky leg during this trip. Anyway, one night we decided to go out to one of the casinos/clubs just to say we did. I don’t remember why, but I was in a full mood when we got to the club. Just a next level grumpalump. I dragged my friend Emily to the bathroom with me, and we were talking about whatever my problemo was.

“Heeyyyyyyyyy, ladies!” said this raspy voice. Picture whatever you thought my voice sounded like when I was starting to lose it in Richmond.

Emily and I turned around and saw a petite middle-aged woman in a black halter dress. She had big feathered hair, was missing a few teeth, and was probably wearing blue eye shadow. She gave us a crooked grin and made her way over to us in the empty bathroom.

“What’dya say? You ladies want to party?” she croaked.

I politely declined, and she laughed and laughed. She introduced herself, and explained that she was a veteran exotic dancer. I loved her instantly. Before we could say anything else, my new best friend treated us to a full dance using one of the bathroom stalls as her stage. She pulled herself up using the upper part of the door frame, and swung herself around like a gymnast. Her entire crotch was just in my face at my point, but her infectious raspy laughter filled the room.

When she finished her routine, she thanked us for the dance and sauntered out of the bathroom. I didn’t even get to say goodbye.

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