Newsletter editor Natalie Arndt and I always joke that we are a prime example of how opposites attract in friendships. She’s Apple Music and I’m Spotify. She’s Los Angeles and I’m New York City.
Well, I’m from New Jersey, but you know what I mean.
Once I got past the fact that Natalie sent me an Apple Music link and honed in on the music, I realized Natalie and I may be more similar than we both thought. I expected songs like “Birthday” by Katy Perry, which I associate with Natalie’s bubbly presence, to dominate this playlist. Instead, I found myself listening to songs I’d add to my own playlists.
Natalie opens up her tracklist with “Sunday Morning” by Maroon 5, a song that transported me to a busy coffee shop near the Boston Common, reading a book for my philosophy class while rain splatters on the sidewalk outside. In reality, Natalie’s Sunday mornings are spent in the Heights office—a much more chaotic setting than the café that this song took me to in my mind.
The lively vibe continues on “American Kids” by Kenny Chesney. I’m going to be completely honest here—I’ve never understood why Natalie, who hails from California, loves country music so much. But I’m not surprised that she loves a song that is as Americana as this. I’ve never seen someone more obsessed with hotdogs than her, and what’s more Americana than that?
Just as you settle into the land of the red, white, and blue, the playlist takes you across the Atlantic with “Vienna” by Billy Joel. Paired with the subsequent “Renegade” by Big Red Machine and Taylor Swift, “Vienna” drives the playlist in a more wistful and yearning direction.
Kacey Musgraves’ “Happy & Sad,” a song about the fleeting highs and inevitable lows of life, is followed by Swift’s “August,” which details a romantic connection destined to end poorly from the start. Together, these songs paint a complicated picture of the harsh realities of life and of love.
“Flower Shops” by ERNEST and Morgan Wallen also details the trials and tribulations of a relationship, but this time, we get a man’s perspective on apologizing to a woman he hurt. I appreciate the gesture, but I’m still convinced Natalie is too good for any man out there, even if he were to buy her all the flowers in the world.
The playlist ends on a high note with “I Love L.A.” by Randy Newman. I can picture Natalie blasting this song as she cruises down California’s Pacific Coast Highway, and although I’ve never been to L.A. myself, I can only imagine that I, too, would fall in love with Natalie’s hometown in that moment.
Upon first glance, Natalie’s playlist may seem like 40 minutes of emotional whiplash. But, after listening to it in its entirety, I’ve realized it embodies how special and balanced of a person Natalie is. She loves a fancy dinner at Sycamore just as much as she loves her classic Eagle’s Nest deli sandwich with exactly three slices of turkey.
She can switch from a cry session to dancing her heart out with her friends and brightening their lives within minutes. She feels her feelings, but never takes herself too seriously. I’ve truly never met someone else like her, and I don’t think I ever will.