Dear faithful reader,
It is with deep regret that I must inform you that I, the last among my comrades to stage ineffectual resistance, have fallen hostage to Taylor Swift. I successfully evaded capture a couple of years ago when she released Red and pelted my unsuspecting ears and vulnerable soul with anthems of toxic relationships, one after another. But none of it matters now. I have lost my ground. I write this while the voices from 1989 that had taken roots in my head persistently seed doubts — Are we out of the woods yet? Are we out of the woods yet? Are we in the clear yet? — and I collapse in a complete surrender.
But this Swift woman isn’t the only one. My mind had been taken prisoner by many others this year, and it pains me to say that I find pleasure in their every torture. One hangs me from the chandelier. One does what he wants with my body. One simply latched on to me. Tell me, how am I gonna be an optimist about this?
Below is the complete list of my captors.
20. Taylor Swift – Blank Space
19. M83 – Wait
18. Daughter – Medicine
17. Lady Gaga – Do What You Want (feat. Christina Aguilera)
16. MKTO – Classic
15. Calvin Harris – Blame (feat. John Newman)
14. The Neighbourhood – Sweater Weather
13. Drake – Hold On, We’re Going Home
12. Up Dharma Down – Tadhana
11. Coldplay – A Sky Full of Stars
10. Lana del Rey – West Coast
Because I feel like a semi-stoned spirit (most likely Lana’s) possesses my body when I give it a listen.
On Repeat in: Vietnam
You’re falling hard, I push away, I’m feelin’ hot to the touch
You say you miss me, and I say I miss you so much
But something keeps me really quiet, I’m alive I’m a lush
Your love, your love, your love
9. Ariana Grande – Best Mistake (feat. Big Sean)
Because I make mistakes too. But I hold on.
On Repeat During: Commute around Manila
How soon do we forget how we felt?
Dealing with emotions that never left
Playing with the hand that we were dealt in this game…
‘Cause you’re the best mistake I’ve ever made
But we hold on, hold on
8. Empire of the Sun – Alive
Because it is the perfect backpacking song.
On repeat in: Siquijor and Negros Oriental
Days slow by my window
World slows down as it goes
Goodbye to last night
Lost my eyesight
Can’t you help me see?
7. Bastille – Pompeii
Because rainy days in Batanes made me do it.
On repeat in: Batanes, Batangas, and Zambales.
And if you close your eyes,
Does it almost feel like
You’ve been here before?
How am I gonna be an optimist about this?
6. Sia – Chandelier
Because that chorus is gold, something you randomly belt out while on a long bus ride in the middle of the night while everyone’s in deep slumber. And they wake up wondering who died.
On Repeat During: Phnom Penh to Saigon.
I’m gonna swing from the chandelier, from the chandelier
I’m gonna live like tomorrow doesn’t exist
Like it doesn’t exist.
5. Disclosure – Latch (feat. Sam Smith)
Because it simply latched on to me.
On repeat in: Bangkok to Siem Reap
If there are boundaries, I will try to knock them down
I’m latching on, babe, now I know what I have found
I feel we’re close enough
I wanna lock in your love
I think we’re close enough
Could I lock in your love, baby?
4. Beyonce – XO
On repeat in: Japan
In the darkest night hour (in the darkest night hour)
I’ll search through the crowd (I’ll search through the crowd)
Your face is all that I see
I’ll give you everything
3. Ed Sheeran – Thinking Out Loud
Because it brightens up the gloomiest of days.
On Repeat During: Random breaks and commute to Batangas
I’m thinking ’bout how people fall in love in mysterious ways
Maybe it’s all part of a plan
Well, I’ll just keep on making the same mistakes
Hoping that you’ll understand
2. Sam Smith – Stay with Me
Because being alone on the road can make you long for someone.
On Repeat in: Phuket and Krabi, Thailand
Why am I so emotional?
No, it’s not a good look, gain some self-control
And deep down I know this never works
But you can lay with me so it doesn’t hurt
1. A Great Big World & Christina Aguilera – Say Something
Because I’m emo like that.
On repeat in: Paris
Anywhere I would’ve followed you.
Say something, I’m giving up on you.