my year according to spotify

Orange, NSW 

Informal disco, by amtrac
I listened to this song in every context. Over and over and over. Swinging my legs off the kitchen bench in Pivotal labs at 9pm on a Friday night. With my phone tucked into the seatbelt against my chest, driving to Ballarat for dad's 70th. In noise-cancelling headphones on the bus from Redfern to the city. On the plane to San Francisco. Working. Working. Working.

My, my, my by Troy Sivan
Rhett and Link. I spent all of 2018 with them. Overuse of Good Mythical Morning is a harbinger of bad times. But I went to the deep south because of them, somehow, in a roundabout way. I came home in July from Honolulu to a half empty home and a weekend to sell everything and move out. In the peace of my home I listened alone.

Mariners apartment complex, by Lana Del Ray
I heard it on the radio, freezing in my Honda jazz. I thought she'd remade an Eric Clapton song, because she says "I'm your man" over and over. But it's her own song.

I'm yours, by Jason Mraz
I learned the chords on my ukulele, and practiced that C, G, F, A over and over again. One morning in a forest in  Colorado I waited for Rutger to wake up, sitting on a log, frost on his tent slowly melting in the sun, me in a San Francisco beanie playing ukulele to the squirrels and the birds and the bracken. I love those camping mornings alone, washing under taps in the early morning sun, filling water bottles, making coffee with my tiny propane stove, reading paragraphs from useless guidebooks, organising the car.

Promises, by Sam Smith
I heard it in the lunch room, on the playlist I assume the Brits on the front desk made. I listened to it on repeat through the first sublet in summer Hill in the apartment with the pink bathroom, through startup meetings with Onur and then Jack, through crappy months at a workplace that didn't need me.

If we were vampires, by Jason Isbell
The first song on a winter playlist by Rhett and link. I listened to this whole playlist over and over sitting my my parents front room in freezing wintertime, suffering after months acclimatizing  to Texas and Miami and Cuba. I didn't take off my hiking boots all day in the house, sitting in the front room in the white winter sun, designing screens shivering for freelance clients.

Where rainbows never die
Laying under the stars in a green oasis in the middle of Texas, drinking red wine from metal cups with flecks of grass floating in them, talking about philosophy and listening to night bugs and frogs and the stream trickling behind our heads and fireflies overhead. Later we swam in the spring, inky under the canopy, scrambling up the slippery tree roots to get out when we saw flashlights roaming.

Take me home, country roads by John Denver
Driving through Arkansas to Memphis and Tennessee to Nashville and then back south through Mississippi and Alabama and camping everywhere until New Orleans. In Mississippi the roads are the worst but the trees are the greenest.

Swim good, by Frank Ocean
The hangover of 2016. One night in summer in 2016, before everything went to shit, i watched a bad movie at summer Hill, drank café Patrón, went to a house party in Enmore, slipped in the hall, cracked my face open on a wall and ended the night in hysterics covered in blood at the hospital. The stitches in my eyebrow healed. they’re almost invisible now.

El anillo by Jennifer López
The streets of Havana are full of music, floating out of front doors and down from crumbly second floor balconies and old TVs in darkened rooms. Cubans are natural dancers. I played drinking games in the lounge area of Jakera Spanish school with Cubans and Germans and Swedes and Americans, and when anyone lost they had to dance Reggaeton.

My rush, by #1 dads
my January breakfast song. I was meant to be working on my business, or working on my book. I had summer off, sleeping late in my beautiful terrace in Redfern. I made filter coffee and eggs, lentils and spinach every morning for breakfast, listening to this song first every day. Google home wont understand "number one dads", so I needed to ask for "one dads", which feels offensive, to me.

Folsom prison Blues by Johnny cash
I sang this song in the shower with abandon in an Airbnb in the hood in Memphis while Rutger used my laptop to apply for post grad. Later I made Maren giggle in Spanish class when I told her I sing Johnny Cash in the shower. She said, you’re so cheerful and lighthearted.

Havana, by Camilla Cabello
Humid night walks on the malecon. The art factory on a Saturday night in the industrial suburbs of Havana. Sweaty mornings at Samuel's house, drinking the sweetest mango nectar and a 5c coffee from plastic mug you take yourself. 

Johnny b Goode by Chuck Berry
Dancing night after night in Frenchman street in New Orleans. Finding Rutger dancing alone in The Spotted Cat, his non-date chatting up an American in a baseball cap. Dancing and cackling til we were soaked in sweat, 35° at 2am. Wandering the streets of New Orleans late at night and stumbling on the oldest bar in town and sitting around the piano while a classic jazz pianist played anything you asked for off by heart.   And later, alone again in Key West, waylaid by drunks and staying because I was lonely, we sang Johnny b Goode by the pool.

I will possess your heart by death cab for cutie
The first time I heard the full version of this song in the common room of the Nashville Downtown Hostel, where I stayed for free in exchange for taking photos on my phone. I drove to the Loveless Cafe and ate crumbly biscuits and jam and fried green tomatoes and chicken and a banana pudding and listened to this album all the way there.

50 ways to leave your lover
I bought red pants in Urban Outfitters in New Orleans. After two months on the road, you need new clothes. It was the day of Mardi gras, but we didn't go. It was so hot. 

Lemon tree by fools garden
I heard it for the first time played in the living room of the school in Havana , by 18 year old Germans. They sang every word, but I'd never heard it before. A few months later I drank half a bottle of red wine by myself in my brother's house in Melbourne, the first time I'd spent more than a few hours with him in my life, and danced to this song in his living room alone. 

Nicola Rushton