My New York Playlist (Oct.10-17)

Music has always been my diary documenting the various phases in my life as I’m one of those people who may listen to a song (or album) consecutively over and over again weeks, if not months. Since I was young, I would go through various music phases and whenever I revisit the song or piece of music, it would very vividly take me back to that time in my life. In a way, it’s much more accurate than a photo album or writing since music really takes you back to not just the physical aspects but the feelings, emotions, smells and really brings that to life. So following such a successful and amazing first New York experience, I thought it’d be fun to share my playlist for my first, of many, New York trips:

1. “GOOD LIFE” by OneRepublic

For every trip, I’ve always had a ‘main theme’ song and this was the one for this trip. I particularly loved it for walking around in NY whether it was going to meetings or exploring the city. The amazing vibe and mood of the song just adds to the experience in such a fantastic city; fun and upbeat but still very moving as my trip neared an end.

2. “IN MOTION” (from THE SOCIAL NETWORK soundtrack) by Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross

This was my favorite subway-walking song. The beat is driving and the track is just simply divine. I also used it a lot when rushing to meetings, of which I did a LOT over this past week. :)

3. “PIECES FROM THE WHOLE” (from THE SOCIAL NETWORK soundtrack) by Trent Reznor & Atticus

This was also a big piece for walking around town, especially towards the middle of the trip when it was drizzling slightly in the city. This is the PERFECT track to be hearing while you’re walking down an avenue or street and it’s cloudy and drizzling ever so slightly but you’re still in the middle of a bustling city filled with life.

4. “SON OF MAN” (from the TARZAN soundtrack) by Phil Collins

This was totally one for the (many) train rides in from Stamford to Grand Central, especially on Saturday afternoon after my incident with the train going in the opposite direction (which I’ll blog in more detail later); going into town at around 3PM with the train bustling with life and the sun illuminating trees and the amazing scenery from the beautiful fall of Connecticut to the quiet suburbs of New York.

5. “GOOD TO ME” (from the SHUTTER soundtrack) by Nathan Barr & Lisbeth Scott

Another perfect moody and ‘internal’ song for a beautiful and drizzly New York afternoon/evening, this song was one of the staples of my playlist several years ago as I walked through Bangkok when I was back there for the “Memorial Concert” project for HRH Princess Galyani Vadhana. 

6. “POUR QUE TU M’AIMES ENCORE” by Celine Dion

A favorite of mine for a while now, “Pour que tu m’aimes encore” captures the calm but powerful mood of night in NY perfectly. I believe I also used this walking down the cobblestone streets in the amazing SoHo, which was one of my favorite places in Manhattan this trip.

7. “ON NE CHANGE PAS” by Celine Dion

Another Celine favorite of mine for the past several months, I would listen to this on the train ride back from Manhattan to Stamford a few of the nights, looking out the window and seeing the majestic calm of night. On most of the other nights I was either too tired or half asleep so I had to play lots of much more upbeat stuff or I’d have ended up somewhere near Yale or Boston. :S

8. “SOMEBODY TOLD ME” by The Killers

This was one of the more provocative tracks I’d use when I was walking down a sunny NY street and wanted to pump up energy and excitement for where I was headed (which, to be honest, was pretty much everywhere). Fortunately I got off the addiction, but I used to listen to this song non-stop for almost a month whenever I’d go out in Los Angeles. LOVE the combination of electronic and rock and the chorus is of course, very catchy.

9. “FINALE” (from my score for DRAGON AGE: REDEMPTION)

Now one doesn’t like bragging or self-promoting, but I really did listen to this track quite a bit on this trip, especially on my way up to Central Park after an amazing lunch with my composer-friend T yesterday (Sunday). Not only did I feel very proud and humbled of this amazing series I was able to contribute my music to but it also reminded me of one of the biggest reasons of why I made it to New York (and changed my life) in the first place. Thanks Felicia, Peter and the entire Dragon Age: Redemption team!! Check out Episode 2, coming in about 3 hours!…(promotional break over. please enjoy the rest of the show)

10. “NOW WE ARE FREE” by Hans Zimmer & Lisa Gerrard (feat. Lisa Gerrard)

This was definitely saved for my Central Park visit yesterday (Sunday) on my last day in Manhattan. The combination of this piece and Central Park was absolutely divine and I can honestly say it was one of the most blissful and peaceful moments in my life. The sun glistening  down through the leaves as you look up and around was magical and just to be surrounded by this serene nature in the midst of New York leaves you breathless. I’ve found a new meaning for this track now. :)

11. “TRYOUTS” (from the RUDY score) by Jerry Goldsmith

This was probably the most “Americana” part of my trip, which I played on the second part of my Central Park visit as I photographed families picnicking and kids playing in the open grass in Central Park on a Sunday afternoon. I suddenly felt very “American” and it was AMAZING. I also played this track as I approached the south-west lake in Central Park. The grandeur of the scene and also watching couples and families rowing boats through the lake was idyllic; reminds me of those classic scenes from films like Tess, Chinatown and Death in Venice

12. “COLLIDE” by Howie Day

My good friend Ayla-Louise Ucok first introduced me to this song many years ago when we were seniors in high school. It’s been a favorite on my playlist ever since and has a certain sense of serenity, hope, and sadness all mixed perfectly together. This was my pre-final song on my Central Park trip as I walked past all manners of people enjoying their Sunday afternoon in the PERFECT fall/winter weather in Central Park that day. 

13. “I WILL ALWAYS RETURN” (from the SPIRIT: STALLION OF THE CIMARRON soundtrack) by Hans Zimmer & Bryan Adams

Appropriately enough, this was my song as I was leaving Central Park (and indeed nearing the end of my last day in Manhattan). It certainly left me quite emotional but at the same time very hopeful about returning…

14. “YOU BELONG TO ME” by Taylor Swift

I’ve always loved the fun energy of this song and played it whenever I felt frisky and having a particularly playful moment in New York; or just walking down the streets after an awesome meeting. 

15. “FRIENDS WILL NEVER SAY GOODBYE” (from THE ROAD TO EL DORADO soundtrack) by Elton John

Even though Elton John’s singing about “friends” here, somehow the song relates perfectly with the amazing and deep relationship I feel I’ve come to have with New York over this past week. So naturally, this was one of the songs to end the trip. 

16. “SOMEDAY OUT OF THE BLUE” (from THE ROAD TO EL DORADO soundtrack) by Elton John

I’m listening to this right now as I’m writing this on my flight back to LA. This brings me back to my high school days, being around some very close friends, saying goodbye to something great but at the same time looking forward to another phase in my life that is filled with excitement, opportunities and bursting to come to life. Without being pretentious or cheesy, I’m definitely going to say that New York has totally changed my life and introduced me to a place I could truly call home, in all matters from growing up with classical music and watching opera performances at the Met to the foreign and art film community to the fresh and bustling world of fashion. And of course, there’s no other proper way to end a trip right? Without Elton’s voice it just wouldn’t be a proper farewell….just saying. 


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