The Main Character’s Playlist

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Illustration by Drew Buchanan

Kimberly Kryshak

Contributing Writer

From a young age, I think I’ve had what is now referred to as the “main character complex.” I was a young girl with a purple iPod Nano filled with songs that I thought made me “angsty” and did things like walking behind my family at the airport, thinking it would give the illusion that I was a mysterious preteen traveling alone. With my headphones in, my imagination ran free.

Feeling like a “main character” carries a sense of self-empowerment that allows you to romanticize the little things in life and recognize the power of being in control of how you see yourself. By creating this playlist, I’ve created my own movie soundtrack without playing or producing a single note of music. 

1. BØRNS, “Electric Love”

There are some songs that make everything seem like a movie when you play them in the background. This is one of them. This is the kind of song you play with your closest group of friends as you hop on your bikes, just as the sun is creating that beautiful pastel canvas across the sky. The wind blows through your hair and a sense of euphoria becomes tangible, creating a blissful moment. It seems as if you are moving in slow motion, without a single care in the world.


2. FINNEAS, “Let’s Fall in Love for the Night”

You’re at a social gathering (pre-COVID-19, of course). The music is way too loud and the people are unfamiliar. You sit and observe until you happen to look over your shoulder and see someone already looking back at you. I know that might come off as creepy, but that isn’t what I mean. I am referring to the kind of look that you exchange where your heart skips a beat and your eyes start to glisten. It seems as if the timing could not have been more perfect, as you feel the fateful push to go talk to them. Now I know this story seems too good to be true, but it is actually inspired by the story of how a close friend of mine met the love of his life at UC Santa Barbara. I’m telling you, main characters exist. You just have to decide you are one. 


3. Harry Styles, “Canyon Moon”

Now, I did not hear this from Mr. Harry Styles himself, but I have to assume this song was literally made for road trips. One that has a route with a beautiful view, like down Pacific Coast Highway or up a mountain somewhere. It’s all the clichés: windows down, sing-along songs, beautiful scenery. But it’s still paradise. You are able to enjoy the feeling of getting away with the people you care about the most. 


4. Frank Ocean, “Godspeed”

It’s a Saturday night and you are walking home from what was a fun night out with your friends, feeling the adrenaline from the night start to dwindle. As you look up to see the stars, they start to become out of focus as your eyes well up with tears. There is a new unfamiliarity in doing things alone that you once did with that one special person. Kind of heartbreaking, but every main character has to go through heartbreak in order to have the epic comeback and happy-ending credits, right?


5. Vampire Weekend feat. Steve Lacy, “Sunflower”

This song is one of my favorite songs to blare in my headphones. Sometimes, I skate to a local coffee shop and think I can come off as some cool skater girl getting her “usual” order from the barista. Other times, I go to the grocery store and make eye contact with other people my age, thinking there is some unspoken tension. The groovy instrumentals are enough to make me want to go on a walk down the street, matching my steps to the beat, and take the time to just ponder on whatever I am thinking about.


There you have it. The pieces of my soundtrack that remind me to feel like the main character in my own life. You and I have the power to create whatever storyline we feel like, so you might as well create one with a fun playlist to go with it. For many of us, going to college serves as an opportunity to rebrand ourselves in any way we want. Although you may have different music tastes for your own playlists, they will all serve as a personal attachment to healthy mentalities and great memories to guide you into the sequel. 

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