YCA Blog

Elena's Playlist

Elena's Playlist

By Elena Wilson

Often, we overlook the meaning of a song while listening to the catchy beat. But when we look deeper into the emotions and meaning behind a song, it makes the music that much more enjoyable. Three different songs from three different genres. What they have in common: The entertaining stories, melodies, and atmospheres.

Ed Sheeran, "Castle on the Hill"

In "Castle on the Hill," Ed Sheeran talks about the people he grew up with during his childhood and teenage years when he lived in Halifax, England. Unlike his other single on the album Shape of You, which has techno aspects, the sound of Ed’s signature acoustic guitar has a strong presence in "Castle on the Hill" and makes it feel more down to Earth. The song has a nostalgic mood, and as Ed reminiscences about his past, it feels like he’s talking to the listener directly. The lyrics are also very relatable because Ed’s story is very real. He shares the dumb and even illegal things he did when he was younger and then goes on to describe the misfortunes the people around him faced as they all got older. He didn’t have a faultless upbringing and it helps many of his listeners connect with the song.

Ravyn Lenae, "Venezuela Trains"

This song can be interpreted in multiple ways. When I listen to it, it paints the picture of a relationship that’s falling apart due to misunderstandings and neglect. Ravyn says, "You always call back when the sun’s down and the night’s black." This suggests the person that is the object of this song is only seeing her when they need her, even though, "If she had her way they’d be her major plan." Throughout the song, she indicates that she wants to break it off, but many lines sound like she’s second guessing herself, such as, "Mark my words I hope you understand," which starts off sounding vengeful but then ends with her sounding almost guilty. From the start of the song her tone sounds disappointed and sets the mood, which is somewhat somber. This song holds many mysteries in its lyrics, rhythm, and beat, which only adds to its captivating beauty.

20syl ft. Rita J, "Voices"

Rita J talks about the insecurities we all have in the back of our minds and how she "rewrote the song." From washing away problems with alcohol to "staying inside the box," "Voices" highlights that our insecurities control us and cause our lives to spiral into a mess. The song has a trance-like quality due to elements like the ambient background music and many electronic components that really makes the listener feel like they’re lost in their own head. The lyrics are motivational, but Rita raps it in a way where she sounds slightly frustrated, especially in lines like, "Fully stocked of excuses, doing it is useless" and "I cram to understand your life flipped and flopped." The aggressive encouragement definitely gets the point across and is only one of many reasons why this song is so endearing.