DeJamz: Amber’s year of unrest and obligation


As I’m no longer Arts and life Editor, the public diary we call Dejamz has been replaced by my triumphant successor Lilly Keller, but I do miss the occasional jab I would make relating my personal life to songs I format specifically into this list. Since Lilly is so kind to allow me to do it again — I’m her boss — I am once again cultivating a playlist that perfectly replicates my emotional stability about how this past year has gone for me. So here’s what you missed in my year of unrest and obligation. 

1. “Under the table” – Fiona Apple

Fiona Apple is no question on this list. This song in particular resonates so much to me in how I hold myself. I look up to Apple a lot, especially with how she isn’t afraid to speak her mind.  It’s common for young women to feel obligated to not take up too much space or disagree with others, so as to not appear foolish. Growing up, I was taught to speak my mind, defend myself and others, regardless of the discomfort it may cause. I’ve been called a “bitch” in professional settings, where such derogatory terms would be disreputable in any other context. I am expected to ignore the way men speak to me, to lower my expectations of them, and to be more understanding of their private matters than I am of the women I have worked with. I’m told I care too much, I’m thinking too much into things or that I am wasting time. I am exhausted from having to apologize for situations when men cannot cope with women in leadership positions. “I would beg to disagree but begging disagrees with me” 

2. “Better off alone” – Alice Deejay

Turning 23 this year means I’m officially too old for No. 9’s demographic of 18-22 year old girls to objectify with the promise of free bottle service (overpriced champagne) in exchange for hanging out with the gross old men. No shame to the people who still do this but please don’t lower your standards to the grave — literally. 

Anyways I remember hearing this song, one of the too many times I was at No. 9 when remixes of Mo Bamba were still popular, and it kinda stuck with me. Maybe it was too much bubbly or the fact that I had to get up at 5 a.m. to run the next morning that caused a moment of recollection. I thought that, looking in the mirror five years later, I would be the same person and so worried that I would still feel so alone. It hasn’t been five years yet — only four — and I’ve given up the side part and the Juul and filled my life with people who love and care about me, so I think I’m in a much better place.

3. “Drunk Walk Home” – Mitski

Damn she’s including Mitski too? Yes, this playlist, “Unrest and Obligation,” is aptly named for how I’m feeling: obligated and unrested. Who better to express this than Mitski? “This track captures the snapshot of someone disillusioned with their life at the end of a night of sexual rejection and financial debt, they simply look into the “moving dark” before them, hopeless and small.” She’s just like me, for real. Anyways I felt this song in my bones and my pocketbooks, especially the part where she’s just screaming. Very therapeutic. 

4. “My alcoholic friends” – The Dresden Dolls

This past year, I’ve had this song on repeat. Its upbeat style and heartbreaking lyrics make it a winner in my book. It poetically discusses shame. I chose it to soundtrack my year of unrest and obligation because I found solace in the protagonist’s reflections on the decisions she had made in life, how she got there, and if she could escape. In some ways similar and in others different, I found the song to be an appropriate choice for reflecting on my adult life and the stupid choices I made when I was young. Her story was comforting in its exploration of being lost and alone even when you aren’t entirely alone in your early twenties.