The Paper Kites, and Other Music to Breathe To

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Words can’t express to you how important music is to me. In fact, isn’t that how music came about in the first place? Because words alone aren’t enough? Sometimes I forget how much I need music to function — not only that, but to create, to have the chance to feel the emotions I didn’t realize were living deep down in my gut.

It’s essential for writing. At least writing the important things.

It used to distract me from writing term papers and doing my homework. Maybe because it aroused too much fervor to dance, to move, to sing. No, the stuffy silence of the library was necessary to conduct research and finish those 1,000-word essays the night before they were due.

But music. Music is necessary to allow the important words to break the surface.

One time in a cruel game of “would-you-rather,” when asked whether I would rather be deaf or blind, I chose blindness. Sunsets are pretty but they won’t bring tears to my eyes quite like the acoustic guitar.

On Sunday night I went to a concert. This is not a normal occurrence for me. Normally, I find the prospect of a crowded room and music so loud you can’t think, to be completely off-putting (good in theory, though). But these were The Paper Kites, an indie folk-rock group from Melbourne, Australia. They make music I can breathe to — and what I mean by that, is it makes me aware of being alive again. The combination of comfy clothing, noise-canceling headphones, and The Paper Kites’ melodies in my ear creates the ultimate safe space to be melancholy, alone in my room and be perfectly content about it.

But on Sunday I got to experience them in a different way. Surrounded by people. We swayed to the deafening but calming music together and I realized that listening to The Paper Kites there in that public space was just as good.

Midway through the set, lead vocalist Sam Bentley asked for all the lights to be turned off. He told us he likes to listen to music in the dark. Only vaguely aware of the other bodies surrounding me, I listened to the song “Holes.” I remember wanting to cry, but the song was over before I could.

It was the right song at the right time. When it was over and the applause started to die out, someone in the crowd yelled, “Do it again!” But the thing with concerts is that you can’t press replay.

I use and abuse my favorite songs. It’s usually love at first listen. I won’t listen to anything else for days — I replay, replay, replay until I get sick of it and toss it aside. In a few days, I always come back to it again. I add it to a playlist and listen to it before I write, while I write, when I’m feeling down. They are the songs I “breathe to” when I need it most.

Here’s my current playlist.

“Third of May/ Ōdaigahara” by Fleet Foxes

“3WW” by alt-j

“Greenlight” by Lorde

“Ribs” by Lorde

“Renegade” by The Paper Kites

“Holes” by The Paper Kites

“Closer” by The Tiny

“Sweet Disarray” by Dan Croll

“Soon, My Friend” by M83

“Radio” by Sylvan Esso

“Plans” by Elephante, feat. Brandon Burnette

“80s Films” by Jon Bellion

“Helplessness Blues” by Fleet Foxes


I hope you all are having an excellent week.

[Also, any music recommendations are welcome. I’m always looking for new stuff.]


Photo by Kaboompics.com

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