Sound of Summer

Sound of Summer

Today is June 20th, the summer solstice, the first day of summer here in the northern hemisphere. The first day of summer is typically significant for me, so I’d like to introduce Sound of Summer, a personal project I’ve been working on since Memorial Day Weekend, the unofficial first day of summer in the United States.

In the summertime, I tend to feel everything more deeply than any other time of the year. While I was in high school, I could attribute it to the leisure; in college, the break from routine. Since graduating from school, leaving New York and working full-time, navigating those triggers has been hazy, especially because summers in Portland arrive late or not at all. Sound of Summer presents a timeline of every summer over the past 10 years, constructed from the playlists that have evolved over those summers.

I’m prone to bouts of nostalgia, always feeling like my best days are behind me. It was a pleasure to work on this project and recapture everything I’ve felt over the past ten summers as I culled each playlist, which, when exported from iTunes, originally contained between 120 and 220 songs depending on the season. I then pared each playlist down using my intuition as a metric: if the song made my heart feel like it was being squeezed or if I associated it with a memory, it remained. While working with the data belonging to summers of intense emotional involvement, more of the songs were sentimental to me, tied to memory, and difficult to discard, establishing the relationship between precarious emotional state and amount of media consumed.

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This is article 1 of 2 in the Sound of Summer series