When you can’t say it to their face
By Sonam Kaloti, Arts Editor
Passive aggressive indirect messages always find their way.
For all the times you have too much to say and don’t know how, or don’t think you can, playlists are a blessing. The perfect passive (sometimes aggressive) form of an extremely personal letter with all the bliss and targeting of an indirect tweet. Will they see it? Will they know it’s about them? It’s all part of the thrill. Though, I do recommend at least having them on the platform, so your message isn’t being completely thrown into the void.
You’ve probably heard of the classic “Everybody look! I’m in love!” type of playlist with all songs cheesy and romantic. This is an easy one since there’s very little risk involved—you’re already in a relationship, so there’s not much thrill. I’m sure your partner will listen to your playlist about them. However, it’s still a romantic gesture that woos hearts, and a perfect side gift for your Christmas darling.
Potential songs: “Paper Rings” by Taylor Swift, boasting the lyrics “I like shiny things, but I’d marry you with paper rings,” which is more than telling. An electronic song on the softer side, SLANDER’s “Superhuman” is a forward song with the lyrics “With you I’m superhuman / so keep me in this state of mind / tell me that it’s real life,” because more often than not, this love may be so good it feels like a dream. Finally, “Crystal Clear” by Hayley Williams is a beautiful love song with an analogy running through the track comparing her older water-themed songs about past relationships as feelings of drowning, whereas this new love makes her feel that no matter how deep she goes, “the water is crystal clear.” Similarly, “Oceans” by MisterWives is a powerful vocally driven ballad, coming back to the question “Let’s find out if love is the size of the ocean,” and ending with “you’re my everything.”
A more exciting approach is a “I’m crushing on someone but I’m not going to say who” playlist. The title is vague, and the description is probably some quotations from a conversation with that person, but no one else will know who it is, and the person in question may not even remember. They give you butterflies, and you want them to know how you feel, so you give yourself more butterflies by putting yourself in a situation where you may not receive any indication that they’ve found out about your true feelings. However, if they like you back, perhaps they’ll make a playlist in response, and that’s fun to look forward to!
Potential songs: “Hello?” by Clairo, which begins with the lyrics “Are you into me like I’m into you?” Dua Lipa has plenty of relationship-centric songs, but “Be the One” takes the cake for dancing in the middle of the street at night to your heart beating out of your chest: “Oh, baby come on let me get to know ya / just another chance so that I could show that I won’t let you down and run / ‘cause I could be the one!” Dayglow’s “Can I Call You Tonight?” is a floaty bedroom-pop vibe, with the chorus singing exactly what the title is asking.
A personal favourite is a “We’re kind of a thing but you’re pissing me off lately” playlist. Maybe you’re losing interest, a crush isn’t reciprocating, having an argument with a friend, or a long-time flame keeps making stupid mistakes. Regardless of what it is, the outcome is the same—you’re choked, and you need them to know. They’ll hear you (passive aggressive indirect messages always find their way). If you haven’t picked it up yet: vague titles, cover images, and descriptions are the way to go. The receiver will spend far to long trying to dissect not only who you’re talking about, but what the heck you’re saying (this is what you want—to get into their head). Then again, they’ll gather as much if they listen to the songs.
Potential songs: “Fools” by Troye Sivan is quite on the dot with the chorus singing, “Only fools fall for you, only fools.” Bad Suns’ “Disappear Here,” specifically the acoustic OurVinyl session, is a melancholic sad song for the ages, with only acoustic guitar and vocals singing, “Would you run after me? / Or do we disappear here?” Lastly, one of Bayside’s older tracks off their 2011 album Killing Time, “Sick, Sick, Sick,” is a fantastically angry song, with the chorus yelling, “You’ve made a mess of things, my what a mess you’ve made / I hate the way you make me feel sick, sick, sick.”
The music is just as important as the aesthetics. Try to aim for a playlist around an hour long, but the less the better. No one’s going to put effort into dissecting anything longer, even if they’re sure it’s about them. It’s just too much effort.
Do pick your songs carefully. Keep the meaning of the playlist concise (if you want to add a song or two a bit out of context that might work to throw them off and get them thinking deeper). Read through the lyrics and their meanings on websites such as Genius, and make sure they are saying exactly how you feel because the last thing you want is to give the receiver the wrong message. Make sure to listen to the playlist frequently, especially if you see that they’re online. This is the best way to make sure they’ll see it and curiously click. I wish you the best of luck on your passive journey, fellow music lover.