BY EMMA WESTCOTT//
Up until about 12 days ago, I had not been alone for ten months. 304 days. Almost a full year. Yes, I had my own bedroom, and yes, I had moments to myself, but I had not been truly on my own in longer than was healthy. The energy I used every day to fuel these constant interactions never had enough time to replenish itself. It changed, though. As soon as I stepped foot into my apartment, it’s like all of that energy shot up through the hardwood floors that are older than my parents, sprayed out from the shower I stayed in for as long as I wanted, and soaked into me from the hand-me-down couch I got from my grandparents. It’s nowhere near perfect in here, but I am alone, so it’s perfect. So, now I dance.
I used to dance in the car, or sometimes the shower; I only danced when I felt like I was in some sort of private place and I knew no one would interrupt me, and those were the only atmospheres that I could have that. It was like this warm energy that moved through my arms and onto my face. Now, though, living alone in my own corner of this building and of the world, I can dance as much as I’d like. It’s like a release of animated vitality that’s been swirling around in my chest for ten months. I close my shades and curtains, turn my speaker on, and am the happiest lonely person you’d ever meet. I’ll try to paint the picture for you.
The first track is one you played to glide down the hallway from the front door as soon as it closed you in for the first time. “Heartbreak Weather” by Niall Horan bounces around all 300 square feet of your place as you do the same. Niall sings into his hairbrush too as the sunny title track fills the entire room. He makes way for Fleetwood Mac’s “Rhiannon”, which requires some musicality. Now is the time to shed your transparent skin and become the mysterious woman (in the best outfit you’ve ever seen) on the train; this is a dedicated performance. Following Fleetwood Mac is Sam Fender with “Hypersonic Missiles”. You’re in the band now; maybe you’re plucking on the bass, killing on the drums, or absolutely annihilating the saxophone solo before the bridge, but either way, the eyes aren’t all on you like they are the front man. This means you get to shred out all of Tuesday’s anxieties on this Wednesday night. After the venue (the kitchen) closes after the Sam Fender concert, and you’re off-stage, you make your way to the bar (the couch that’s ten steps away). Elton John is there to greet you with “Saturday Night’s Alright (For Fighting)”; a quick bar row with condensation-covered hands in a low-lit pub is a great follow up to your last performance. Any lasting aggression and agitation have slowly worked their way up your chest and neck and are now dissipating in the dusty air of your studio that’s just a bit too hot.
Now that you’re feeling a little less weighed down by the entire world, “Control” is the perfect track to coast around the room to. It’s best to accompany the Josh Gilligan track with some air drums and head bopping. Gilligan is a brief but necessary intermission that precedes The 1975’s “Love Me”. The funky, all-encompassing 80’s pop-inspired track covers the apartment in turquoise and pink lights, even down to the last cobwebbed corner. Now’s the time to bring out any flashy moves you’ve been holding out on; this song is a little weird, so you can be too. Once that’s over, the lights switch to golden yellows and oranges. You don’t even realize you’ve thrown your head back, closed your eyes, and started spinning to “Melancholy Hill” by Gorillaz. If you had a car, I’d tell you to drive around playing this at sunset, but since you don’t, smiley spins as the fireflies in your stomach start to wake up and fly out will have to do. Next, is a perfect karaoke song. A remote, toothbrush, fork, anything can be a microphone. There’s that one person in the room with you now as you belt “Kissing Other People” by Lennon Stella. Be the kind of person that would sing this song, because standing under the blue and purple lights on that stage (standing on your bed), you look like that person. Next, Ingrid Michaelson’s “Light Me Up” takes you to a festival performance. Big crowd in weird outfits that would never work in public, but that you’re extremely jealous of inside the gates of the event. White tents above the audience to keep in the ethereal energy created by thousands of people appreciating the same art. They are all watching you, in the best way possible; maybe you could even get away with crowd surfing.
The festival always ends though, and you’re back in your apartment. You’re making dinner or washing the dishes or cleaning the bathroom, you know, things adults do. That’s not to say you can’t multitask. “Remember When” by Wallows gives you just enough spark to bop your head, add some skip into your step. Maybe even throw in a Risky Business slide or two as you move from the kitchen sink to the shower. Banal, but untroubled. Simple, but effective.
Wallows leads you back into a performance headspace. Think about how crazy it is backstage (lots of work to catch up on), how you can’t find your jacket for the costume change before the encore (your favorite hoodie), or how the hairdo the stylists did for you is killing your scalp (a headache from staring at your laptop all day). Now, do the opposite. Don’t think about any of it. This is “ICU” by Phoebe Bridgers. You’ve got one last song to perform in this set. You’ve got one crowd to impress right now. You’re finally alone and you’re dancing in your studio apartment so why think about anything else. Just spend this last 3 minutes and 10 seconds basking in being a crazy person that lives alone. Bonus points if your shades are open and you have an actual audience at this point.
1. Heartbreak Weather by Niall Horan
2. Rhiannon by Fleetwood Mac
3. Hypersonic Missiles by Sam Fender
4. Saturday Night’s Alright (For Fighting) by Elton John
5. Control by Josh Gilligan
6. Love Me by The 1975
7. Melancholy Hill by Gorillaz
8. Kissing Other People by Lennon Stella
9. Light Me Up by Ingrid Michaelson
10. Remember When by Wallows
11. ICU by Phoebe Bridgers