1. Silver Springs- Fleetwood Mac
    I'm 7, standing in my living room watching Vh1. This video comes on. I walk closer to the TV. For the first time, I understand enchantment. "Time casts a spell on you, but you won't forget me"
  2. In Your Eyes- Peter Gabriel
    I'm 7 and at my Aunt Patty's wedding. They're showing a montage of her and her new husband, and this song plays. To me, this is what love sounds like. I cry, because I understand something to which I cannot put words. I don't know the song's name. Years later, I hear it again, and the same profound feeling resurfaces. This becomes my definitive song, worked into all my screen names, scribbled across every journal. "Without a noise, without my pride, I reach out from the inside."
  3. The Quiet Things that No One Ever Knows-Brand New
    I'm 12 and I won't dare admit to my sister @rosemorrissey that I like any of the music she likes, but I press my ear to her door most nights and listen along with her. This becomes a bond between us we don't speak of until years later. "And though our kids are blessed their parents let them shoulder all the blame."
  4. You Get Me- Michelle Branch
    I'm 13 and on a road trip with my parents and sister. My mom goes into anaphylactic shock in the middle of Nebraska. Michelle's been the soundtrack to my life for months now, but never more so than in this moment. She sings out through my Discman as my moms face turns purple. "So I'm a little left of center. I'm a little out of tune. Some say I'm paranormal, so I just bend their spoon."
  5. Konstantine- Something Corporate
    I'm 15 and in the middle of an identity crisis. My best friend and I are drifting. The image we crafted together no longer suits either of us. She wants to take it farther. I want to pull back. This song, lifted from my sister's catalogue, perfectly encompasses my teenage angst. "I always catch the clock, it's 11:11, now you wanna talk. It's not hard to dream you'll always be my Konstantine."
  6. Falling- Florence and the Machine
    I'm 19 and unsure of where my life is going. I'm at a new college. I don't like it. I don't know what to do about it. I put this song on my iPod and walk down Wabash, headed to class. The music underscores my melancholia. "I'm not scared to jump. I'm not scared to fall. If there was nowhere to land I wouldn't be scared at all."
  7. Traveling Woman- Bat for Lashes
    I'm 20 and trying out a life quite unlike the one I'd envisioned for myself. Maybe I should just settle on it, I wonder. I play this song over and over, knowing I need to hear it but unclear on how I should apply it. "Never fall in love with potential. Cause you can't see with your own eyes. All the pretty faces and sorry words can take away your pride."
  8. Ghosts- Laura Marling
    I'm 21 and new to LA. I've fallen into a mess of a life. This song comes to me through a source I don't remember. I play it compulsively and find myself moved to tears each time. "Stood at the table where she sat and removed his hat in respect of her presence. Presents her with the pictures and says these are just ghosts that broke my heart before I met you"
  9. Steadier Footing- Death Cab for Cutie
    I'm 22 and climbing towards the other side of the mess I made the year before. This song gives me hope that it won't always be the way it is right now. "But we just talk about the people we have met in the last five years, and will we remember them in ten more."
  10. The Only Living Boy in New York- Simon and Garfunkel
    I'm 23 and too poor to fly home to Chicago for Christmas, so I'm stuck in Los Angeles. I need music that's on the nose. This song is all the false bravado I feel. "Half of the time we're gone but we don't know where, we don't know where."
  11. Jump- Van Halen
    I'm 24 and on a huge nostalgia kick. I'm driving down the PCH with my best friend Vince, listening to the radio, hoping to hear this song because I'm in a great mood and that synth intro is the only thing that could possibly make the day better. It comes on, and I start screaming. "I get up, and nothing gets me down. You got it tough, I've seen the toughest around."
  12. Good Intentions Paving Company- Joanna Newsom
    I'm 25 and having the best day of my professional life thus far. This song is on an old mix CD I've been revisiting. The driving piano at the beginning so perfectly suits the way I feel. I roll my windows down on the 101 and let it play. "Stars are just beginning to appear and I have never in my life before been here."
  13. Dance to Another Tune- First Aid Kit
    I'm 25 and ready for the new year to begin. There is a certain sadness mingling with all the hope I have for the coming year. My beloved red Sunfire was totaled in the summer, and with it went the identity I didn't realize I'd built around it. This song allows me to both honor and let go of the girl I used to be. "It's not the world that's spinning that's me. I go from nowhere to nowhere searching for the key."