Travel by train: The journey calls for an early rising time, dark coffee, and school reading. The long-awaited long weekend presents the ideal opportunity to see my sister and father in New York City. I sit alone, leaning against the glass where the sunlight flickers through the trees, and look up several times thinking that the lamp above me is dying. The passing towns and woods, the bodies of water, the rattling of the train along the sidelines of life, all against the backdrop of a peaceful playlist.
- “Good Times” by Dragon Roots
Ah, the pleasure of lofi, the musical genre of purposefully sounding like you make your music on Garageband, or actually in your mother’s basement. I am so into this type of music that it’s silly. It’s really quite silly. I place this song in the beginning of the list so as to gradually build up energy as the morning turns into day during the three-hour trip. This particular instrumental bop was made by an artist so lofi that he doesn’t even have a website (although he does have a Twitter which has 299 followers as of February 16, 2019).
- “imagine” by Ariana Grande
This song is lazy, sexy, comfy, and dripping of a night in, sipping wine-spiked hot chocolate and slipping in your socks to the sway of the music. In a train, it’s the curl of your body across the seat and the rhythm of the cars flashing by.
- “Too Good” by Drake ft. Rihanna
Trains are inevitably like showers in that I will find myself reflecting on my past week, my past choices. This song is all of those times that I realize what I should’ve said when it’s too late.
- “Love Lockdown” by Kanye
Kanye’s best is still this jam from my lower school days. The incessant beat, the drumming, the clapping, the pounding heart, contrast so sweetly with Kanye’s elongated, laid-back syllables.
- “Jungle” by Tash Sultana
This song always transports me to another world. Magical beasts and time travel almost seem possible, and the road ahead stretches and divides into multitudes.
- “Ride” by Twenty One Pilots
This band’s uncategorizable music still steals my heart with its earnestness and originality. Who sings about how potholes wake up the sleeping passenger in their car? These two.
- “Get Free” by Major Lazer
Getting free is exactly the kind of feeling that riding the train by yourself on a sunny morning or shy night brings about.
- “Catch & Release (Deepend Remix)” by Matt Simons
The song that never fails to put me in a good mood, reminding me of the ebb and flow of life.
- “I Am Free” by Cosmos & Creature
Last November I walked by two young people playing music in the middle of Westfield Mall in LA. They were playing this song, and I think I Shazam-ed them on the spot. Another song about freedom—What can I say? Traveling has always been about unbridled personal agency for me.
- “Faded” by ZHU
I played this song every single drive back home during high school. This isn’t everyone’s cup of tea. I realize it’s just two sentences on repeat. I stand by my choice.