I think the phrase “dance like nobody’s watching” might have been invented to describe the way Heights copy chief Isabella Pieretti reacts when “Hips Don’t Lie” by Shakira comes on. Any time I’m with Isabella and I hear the song’s opening trumpet notes play, I instantly look around to find her and see her reaction.
Every time, her face lights up, and she proceeds to hit every single lyric.
With that being said, I wasn’t surprised to find that “Hips Don’t Lie” by Shakira and Wyclef Jean is the first song on Isabella’s playlist.
The rest of the tracklist, however, created a completely different vibe. The second track, “You Are the Best Thing” by Ray LaMontagne, instantly pulls at your heartstrings. LaMontagne’s raspy and soothing voice feels like a warm hug. This song, combined with the subsequent “Stand by Me” by Ben E. King, sends the playlist in an extremely soulful direction.
The vocals only get more and more impressive with “God Only Knows (feat. yMusic)” by John Legend and Cynthia Erivo. It makes sense that Isabella’s song choices are vocally stunning since she’s a singer herself.
Isabella told me she has fond memories of listening to the next track, “You’re Beautiful” by James Blunt, with her dad. Many of Isabella’s picks reminded me of the songs I’d play in the car with my dad growing up. This sort of comforting vibe is one I associate with Isabella, who seems to always have the right words to say to me when I’m having a rough day.
The playlist then departs from these childhood memories into “I Drink Wine” by Adele, which captures the pains of growing up and navigating relationships. This was my first time hearing the song, and it made me tear up.
“Viva La Vida” by Coldplay was the perfect pick-me-up for those tears. I couldn’t help but tap my feet and shake my head along to the song’s contagiously cheery beat.
The next two songs, “Your Song” by Elton John and “For All We Know” by Donny Hathaway, offer up wholesome reflections on love. The gentle and contemplative lyrics on these two lead perfectly into “Midnight Train to Georgia” by Gladys Knight & The Pips, which felt like the perfect closure to the experience of listening to Isabella’s playlist as the song’s outro echoed “I got to go,” over and over.
If I’ve learned one thing from listening to Isabella’s playlist, it’s that she is an old soul. If you had shown me this playlist on a random day and asked me to guess who crafted it, I would have probably guessed my grandpa (ignoring the Shakira—that part would have thrown me off).
When I was on a trip to Maine with Isabella in May, we quickly went from dancing on elevated surfaces to reflecting on our freshman year together all in one night. She’s definitely wise and reflective, but the old soul doesn’t overshadow her young spirit.