Author’s Note: The songs mentioned below are my soundtracks for five occasions. I am in no way claiming these are the only songs for the occasion but are totally worth a listen. It is recommended to listen to each song while reading.

  1. Graduating high school

Ah, the last day of high school and the day we’re freed from the reigns of childhood. We are fresh 18-year-olds, college is waiting for us at the end of summer, and we have our whole lives ahead of us. Needless to say, we are stoked. If I could score my life in that moment of time, “17” by Youth Lagoon is the only song I would choose.

The melody is soft and it carries me all the way to the hook. Trevor Power’s voice drags along with the keys of the piano and it gives me the feeling that I’m floating in a dream, waves of nostalgia rushing over me. The beat picks up and one lyric resonates,

Don’t stop imagining because the day that you do is the day that you die

We are so, so young at 17, even when all we want is to move away from home and live our lives. This song holds such a great message; always keep your mind racing, do what you love and never grow up fast.

  1. For the days that you really feel like dancing and singing along (lyric memorization optional)

Guitar notes ease you in and all of a sudden–
“LA LA LA.”
The drums start their rhythm and you look down to see your foot tapping away to the beat. Maracas crisscross through your headphones and you’re hooked. “Breezeblocks” by alt-j is like a rollercoaster of melodies with words flowing so smoothly, for those that can decode it. “Did he just say I’ll eat you whole?” No, I think he said, “I need you home.” Oh well, who cares? You’re still going to sing along and you can just look up the words later. Turn on An Awesome Wave and prepare for it to drift you away.

  1. Studying in a coffee shop while your crush sits two tables away

In the first 10 seconds of “I Need You by M83,” you can already imagine yourself slow dancing the night away and — “Chai for Haley!” — reality hits. By this time, the saxophone is in full effect and you’re in a different world again. The lyrics are so simple yet the vocals and chords in the last minute hit every bone in your body just right. Chills. From breathtaking high notes to those warm drum rips (Yes, please.) you finally have that confidence you’ve been building for weeks to say ‘Hey!’,  hidden just beneath the perfect combination of euphonious genius. Thanks again, M83.

  1. On a drive with your best friends

The best memories always occur inside your best friend’s car.  For example, you’re on I-35, Austin, Texas is your backdrop and you have the rights to the aux cord. The familiar first notes play on the piano and all conversation stops. For a song we know in and out, it was obvious that all of us matched pitch in sync.

It’s your heart, it’s alive, it’s pumpin’ blood

Life feels pure during this song. In a matter of four minutes, it takes all your worries away.

  1. The song that is always there for you

I first heard “Wonderwall” by Oasis during my awkward middle school years and it has traveled with me ever since. It debuted in 1995 and is a record adored by millions of people. Some might say it’s overplayed but that definitely doesn’t discredit how great this song is for the soul.

Today is gonna be the day that they’re gonna throw it back to you

You can feel such power and emotion in Liam Gallagher’s voice and his lyrics. It reminds you of your first love. The way the sun sets over your favorite place. The one person you can always count on, even if that has to be yourself. It’s the perfect play for days that you need a good pick me up or a simple reminder of how great life can truly be.