The Playlist that turned into a Musical Diary

Sunday 23 April 2017. On a sunny afternoon I finally decided to turn a plan that had been in my head for a while into reality. A plan to make my own playlist with all my favourite songs from all genres mixed together. The most important rule: I can only add one song per day. The song I add may be linked to what music I listened to that day, what I did or how I felt. When I told a friend about this list a while back, she made the interesting comment that it’s actually some kind of musical diary. And that musical diary celebrates its third anniversary today.

When I started making this playlist, my main goal was to make a list with all my favourite music. For me, music is something personal that reflects me as a person. There is a reason behind every song I’ve added; sometimes because I find the text very beautiful, sometimes because it’s relatable to my life or a period of it, sometimes because it describes my thoughts or feelings, sometimes because it describes me as a person, and sometimes because I like the vibe of the song and it makes me feel good. Often it’s a combination of some of these elements.

The playlist currently consists of 336 songs. When I look at the list, I remember about quite a few songs what I did that day or how I felt. That way it has become a kind of diary. Below I have written a gigantic piece of text (I wrote this sentence after writing the gigantic piece of text of course), where the first part focuses on the way the list works, and the second part focuses on a whole bunch of very personal memories I have with the songs I added – both positive and negative.

I have created three ranks within the playlist: gold, platinum and diamond. The more a song means to me, the higher the rank of the song in my playlist. A higher rank means that the song is more often in my playlist, twice on platinum and three times on diamond, respectively. To ensure the diversity of the playlist, I set the rule that I can’t add a song by the same artist twice in a row. Preferably there are even five songs from different artists before I can add an artist again.

To get a song in a higher rank it has to be in the current rank for a certain amount of time. After all, sometimes you have periods in which you listen a lot to a certain song, while that may be over after that period. To make sure I only have songs that I really like over a longer period of time, I added that rule. I am convinced that if music is really good, you still appreciate the song after listening to it many times.

So my playlist, or musical diary, started on that sunny afternoon in April 2017. To immediately create a small playlist, I added three songs on the first day, followed by three days on which I added two songs. The first song of course had to be from my favourite band and also one of my first favourite songs from them; Satellite from Rise Against. Followed by a song from my second favourite band, and a song that dragged me through a very difficult period the year before; Prayers For The Damned from Sixx:A.M.. What is striking about my list is that I have listened to a lot of rock, punk and metal for years, These genres have a majority in the entire list, but many genres have been added over the years.

The first song from a completely different genre is song 43: Petricor by Ludovico Einaudi. It’s not very surprising given the fact that I have played the piano for almost fifteen years. I added the song on 11 July, 2017, two days after I went to Einaudi’s concert in Amsterdam. The diary part of the playlist. The discovery of new artists is also visible: for example, in September 2017 I added No Light, No Light by Florence + The Machine, and on 23 October, 2017 the song Mon Coeur Avait Raison by Maître Gims was added to the list, followed by Prayin’ by Plan B four days later and Stay by Hurts again four days later. Here you can already see the first signs of a development in my music taste.

In 2019 some real developments occurred in my music taste. Despite the fact that rock, punk and metal are still very much present, other genres are increasingly added to the list. On 21 February 2019, a hip-hop artist appeared in my list for the first time: NF with the song Let You Down. Tom Walker was listed on 19 May, followed by James Blunt two days later. James Blunt is, just like Hurts, Plan B and later that year also Andrea Bocelli, an artist that I listened to regularly as a child, but to who I re-started listening to. Andrea Bocelli’s song Un Nuovo Giorno appeared on my list on 29 July, the day after I bought tickets for his concert.

From November 2019 onwards I started to spend more and more time discovering soul music, which became visible in the list a month later. On 27 December, I added I Can Never by by Maverick Sabre, followed by Beyond by Leon Bridges a day later. More than a month later, in February 2020, On and On by Curtis Harding, Naomi by Leon Bridges (only listenable if you have the Japanese edition of the album, nowhere to be found online) and Colors by Black Pumas were added, of which I added the last one on February 12, three days after seeing them live in Utrecht. They’re all soul artists. Of all the songs I added to my list in 2020, 12 are rock, punk or metal. The other 20 songs are either soul, pop or hip-hop. This shows once again the broadening of my music taste, something I spend time on and enjoy doing so.

This playlists allows me to recall many events and feelings from the day when I added certain songs. 13 June, 2017, I went to a concert of the Swedish rock band Normandie in the basement in Dynamo in Eindhoven, where about thirty people were. It was a great night where I took photos with the band members and got a signed album and poster. A day later I added their song Loop Hole to my playlist. On Saturday 17 June, I added This Loneliness Won’t Be The Death of My by Being As An Ocean; the CD was on the doormat when I came back from a day in Germany. On 28 July, 2017, I added Breaking The Habit from Linkin Park. I came back from vacation that day, and it was the first song I added to my list since Chester Bennington’s death.

On 30 September, 2017, Papa Roach’s Face Everything and Rise entered the list; the night before I had seen them live for the second time, this time in Tilburg. On 19 February 2018, I added Major System Error from Marmozets, which I had seen live the night before in Utrecht. On that day I also exceptionally had a big fight with a friend of mine, which luckily had already been solved that evening. Quite useful if you can’t stay angry for long. On 19 June, 2018, I added Some Kind of Heaven from Hurts, a love song, and that described my feelings at the time. 30 June, 2018, I added I Refuse from Five Finger Death Punch, because I was feeling pretty bad and the song was able to express and describe my feelings quite well. 3 July, 2018, I added The Black Market from Rise Against, because I talked to a friend about it that day and I realized how beautiful it was again. 27 August, I added Miracle (Ghost Note Symphonies) from Rise Against. The album had been released a few weeks before and this song dragged me through the summer a bit; it’s not my favourite season to be honest.

6 December, 2018, I added The Grey from Icon For Hire. I remember feeling pretty bad that night and texting a friend, and I immediately deleted the messages. However, he wanted to know what was going on and told me that I could tell him everything, even though we don’t see each other very often. 2018 wasn’t a particularly good year for me, so I ended the year with This Is Letting Go from Rise Against, and started 2019 with Grateful from Plan B; a matter of letting go and being thankful for everything you have in life. On 19 February, 2019, I added Agape from Bear’s Den, a band I discovered through a colleague of mine and a song that really calmed me down at the time. On 26 February, I had a conversation with a friend of mine who’s struggling with being open about herself, and I sent her My Life Inside Your Heart from Rise Against, because that song can be interpreted in a way that it’s relatable to her situation. On 20 March, 2019, I added Heal My Wounds from Poets of the Fall, because I went to the concert the night before and bought a few albums, and because I also felt bad and the song was quite recognizable.

3 April, 2019, I added So Alive from the Goo Goo Dolls. “Looking in the mirror making peace with the enemy” is a quote that is quite recognizable to me regularly, and was very applicable at the time as the first three months of 2019 weren’t very easy. However, I felt good that day, and the song is cheerful. That night I also went to the cinema alone for the first time, to the movie Darkest Hour about Winston Churchill. It was a good day. However, on 4 April, the day after, I added If You Want Love from NF. Appropriately given the quote I just mentioned; I would be lying if I didn’t say that I regularly have some negative thoughts about my love life, or rather about the lack of it. This also shows that my feelings can change from day to day; one day I feel great, followed by a less good day. On 10 April, I added Breaking Down from I Prevail. It was a retrospective of when the song came out during my lesser period in February, but the album didn’t come out until the end of March, so I added it in April.

On 19 May, 2019, I added Leave a Light On by Tom Walker. The day before I went to his concert in The Hague as a birthday present for my mother, and I also travelled to Amsterdam to have an interview with someone for my thesis. A good day. On 21 May I added James Blunt’s Carry You Home; I rediscovered my love for his first few albums. On 8 July, Est-ce Que Tu M’aimes from Maître Gims entered the list; I listened a lot to the album when I went to several second hand shops with two friends two days before. 29 July: Un Nuovo Giorno from Andrea Bocelli. The day before my sister came up with the idea to go to his concert last month (which has been postponed for a year), so I started listening to his music again. 1 August High On Life by Smash Into Pieces entered the list; that day I came back from a sleepover with some friends on the other side of the country, and that night a friend came to stay with me and we listened a lot to I Prevail; their song Bow Down was added to my list the next day. Plans for the following week were cancelled on 7 August, so out of disappointment I added Dead Man’s Ballet from Sixx:A.M.. On 8 August, City of Angels from Thirty Seconds to Mars came into the list, because I had been to their open air concert at the NDSM shipyard in Amsterdam a few days before. On 11 August, a friend of mine travelled all across the country to spend half a day with me, which I found very sweet. Temple of Thought from Poets of the Fall was added to my list. The next day I went to catch up with my former piano teacher, which was also a very nice day. I added Vivo Per Lei from Andrea Bocelli.

In November and December I felt well, which is visible from 6 December (I Don’t Belong Here by I Prevail), 8 December (Gone Away by Five Finger Death Punch), 9 December (Paralyzed by NF), and 25 December (Only by NF ft. Sasha Sloan). However, there were also good days, such as when a friend came over on 28 December (Beyond by Leon Bridges), and when I added John Newman’s upbeat song Try. 2020 also has both good days (29 February, How It Feels to Be Alive by James Blunt; 2 March, Laurel Wreath by Bear’s Den; 8 March, Come Fly Away by Maverick Sabre; 21 March, Injection by Rise Against) and less good days (29 January, Fade Away by Tom Walker; 31 January, Hate Myself by NF).

As you can see; the list is a reflection of who I am as a person. All songs together form a collection of experiences, thoughts, feelings and events, both in a positive and negative sense. I can write as many messages for this website as I want, but maybe the playlist will tell you a lot more about me. Despite the fact that the playlist contains both positive and negative tracks, I notice that I listen to it a lot more often when I feel good; at that moment I can handle all genres and emotions present without problems.

The full list can be found on Justin’s All Time List page and I will update it regularly. To tell about one more song; 24 March, 2020, I added I Need from Maverick Sabre. Perhaps not entirely coincidentally that I threw this website online that day and also immediately published an article about that song. Talking about a diary.

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