Mixtape Music

Et Musique Pour Tous Presents: Les Auteurs — Ashley Hefnawy

We love the trials and tribulations of relationships. If you’re a regular reader of EMPT, you probably already know that. We love love. It’s a complex, difficult, struggling aspect of life, and yet, it’s so easy to rant about. I personally appreciate it because I am not currently in love. Because of that, I geekily analyze every song that even mentions love. All of it is intriguing to me, the beginning, the plot line, the plateau, and the eventual decline. In some rare instances, we find ourselves in situations of “everlasting love.” If you’re in one of those situations at the moment, then you have that extra level of faith that it will continue for you, and you know that it will never falter, no matter your circumstances. I believe I’ve experienced a love like that with people in my life, not necessarily intimate, and I cherish that.

So when Indie Shuffle came to us and asked us to build a themed playlist, I relished the notion of creating a themed playlist that could be about anything I wanted. For the record, every fabulous EMPT writer will have the chance to put together and publish a playlist using Indie Shuffle’s “collections” — which is basically, internet technology that allows you to make playlists and share them with others on your blogs. It’s a beautiful thing.

In this first edition, you’ll notice that the song titles are particularly specific to certain levels of a relationship. The beginning, for me at least, is the friendship that you don’t realize, is turning into something more. It’s the surprise, the moment you go to one of your friends and question, “Is it possible that he likes me? He’s been hitting me up a lot more than usual lately, I honestly thought we were just friends…But he’s so sweet.” Without even realizing, things begin to fall into your lap, and all of a sudden, you’re in blissful love. You stare at each other in parks as if there’s no one around; you know every fleck of brown and orange and yellow in their green/blue eyes. Your heart is on the verge of heart attack every time an intimate moment occurs. It’s easyOne day you wake up and your world is dictated by someone else — how did this happen? You’re so New York City independent, you foxy woman, you. You have your own life, your own friends, and your own weekend plans — but all of a sudden, you don’t. You want to know what they’re doing before you even know what you’re doing. And that scares the shit out of you, causing to look at life with a fearful eye — you’re afraid. And you tell them. But they respond with fear, too, and you both embrace it. If you’re going to fall into this hole, you’re going to fall down together. So you bask in this lavish glory, one of you treats the other like a precious diamond and you go out to expensive dinners and wear expensive shoes. Your life is suddenly wild and you have no idea how it happened.

And then one day you wake up next to this person and you don’t even know who they are. Life’s caught up to you and you’re disgusted by yourself. Or, alternatively, they have that realization about you. Either way, you just wish things could stay like they were before. You want to go back to the park on the water, where you both admitted fear and love all at once. Where you cried because it was overwhelming. You want them to stay. And like that, you’re attempting to move on. It’s over and you’re trying to heal your heart, trying to heal the universe that’s been built around you. You want to get better, but you don’t know how. So you numb the pain. And it turns you into this uptight alternate version of yourself. Or sometimes, it doesn’t. Sometimes, it just makes you into this seemingly carefree human, devoid of emotion, wanting to “experience it all.” You’re trying to embody the idea of a twenty-something.

But deep deep down, you know the environment in which your heart belongs. You just don’t know who should hold it.

This mix is for the love-missers. Hell, I know I miss it. Yeah, I love different people in my life. I allow that emotion to embody different moments of my days, and sometimes, I’m so overwhelmed by it, that I cry. But I never cry in the way that I do when I’m in love with just one person in just one way. And that’s what I miss. I think we all miss that.

Without further ado, please enjoy this first edition of Les Auteurs. And thank you, Indie Shuffle, for giving us this awesome opportunity to tell a story with a playlist.


Vacationer – Gone

Gone, gone
I will be waiting for you here
You’re gone, gone
No matter how long
You’re gone, gone.”

I don’t know how best to begin this post so I am just going to let my thoughts flow. I’m at a loss of how to describe where I am, what’s going on, and how I feel. Music has been my medicine, my side-kick, and my crutch this week more than it has ever been before. I lost one of my very good friends on Monday and have been floating through time and space since the news broke. Nothing seems real but the sounds and words I’ve poured into my head. I’m not going to ramble and philosophize about death and dying; that’s not why you’re here or what you want to read, I get that. But I feel like it necessary to wonder and reflect on the power of music in times of pure, raw emotion and confusion.

Why is it that when we’re feeling down (not just melancholy, but an honest sadness) that we turn to down songs? I’ve tried listening to upbeat jams, some house and pop, but they resonate the wrong way in my head. Perhaps we turn these tracks up because we want to know that someone else has felt the same way; we want to feel what they’re feeling because it parallels what we’re feeling at the time. It’s not to bring ourselves further down, it’s a coping method. It’s okay to feel this because this artist has felt this – I am not alone.

One of the songs I’ve had on repeat this week is the title track from Philadelphia band Vacationer’s first release of the same title. The light sounds paired with lyrics that mix hope and longing seem right. The sounds simply fit together nicely. There isn’t a trace of sadness or anger. The lyrics are matter-of-fact. The repetition of “gone” is a means of accepting that this person it out of their life – at first it doesn’t feel real, but the more he repeats it the more he comes to understand his situation and begins to move on. Simple instrument play and an easy bass line keep the song upright and lends to the band’s goal in creating music that acoustically resembles a vacation (see their mini manifesto on their Facebook page). It’s easy to dive into the track and leaving its sonic space is not something you may want to do, but – like a vacation – you know it must end sooner or later. As the weekend quickly approaches and the week’s happenings are beginning to wind down, Vacationer is good company to kick-back with.

And so, here’s to music and its healing abilities. Here’s to sounds for their visceral qualities. Here’s to the community music generates. And here’s to my friend whose life was as amazing as your favorite track – inspirational, motivating, and powerful enough to resonate with you for years after you’ve listened to it.

Vacationer – Gone