Assistant metro editor Connor Siemien is no side character. He is the protagonist of his very own coming-of-age, John Hughes-esque movie set in the busy Philadelphia neighborhood he hails from.
His iEdit playlist is the soundtrack to that film.
The first four songs on Connor’s playlist convey an all-consuming and haunting sensation that comes from love and opportunity lost, questions of what could’ve been, and the regret of words left unsaid. The order and message of his playlist simulates Connor’s life as if he were a movie character.
The first track, Jeff Buckley’s version of the Bob Dylan classic “If You See Her, Say Hello,” is the perfect opener, painting scenes of Connor playing street football and hockey around the block with his friends. Buckley sets the tone for the nostalgic and quintessential coming-of-age movie of Connor’s life.
The song describes a traveler meeting the singer, asking to pass along a message to a lost love. The traveler speaks with remorse and restraint.
“We had a falling-out / Like lovers often will / And to think of how she left that night / It still brings me a chill,” Buckley sings.
For a person famed for meticulously crafting grammatically perfect, paragraph-long text messages full of em dashes and colons, it is hard to believe Connor is one to leave anything left unsaid.
Perhaps Connor, like the talented songwriters he features throughout his playlist, claims ownership of his thoughts through his care for written words. Whether it be a detailed text or a thoughtfully constructed article about veterans’ mental health, his prose is articulate and calculated, akin to legends of music.
Slow and composed piano keys open Dylan’s “When I Paint My Masterpiece.” Through his lyrics, Dylan embraces the messiness of life and its various transitory phases.
“Someday, everything is going to be smooth like a rhapsody / When I paint my masterpiece,” Dylan sings.
George Harrison’s and Dylan’s contemplative words and calming guitar strums inhabit “Run Of The Mill” and “Just Like Tom Thumb’s Blues.” These tracks are perfect for the summer days Connor spends at the Jersey Shore biking between his house, the beach, and what he described as his “grueling but endlessly entertaining shift at the arcade until 1:00 a.m.”
The playlist’s tone then shifts from peaceful to animated with an energetic harmonica in Bruce Springsteen’s live version of “She’s the One.” I envision the song playing during a pivotal and freeing moment in which the protagonist learns to fight for the things he loves, just like the character in Dylan’s song. Here we see Connor finally coming into the clever and friendly Heights editor we know him as today.
In its final tracks, the playlist jumps from classic, singer-songwriter artists such as Harrison, Dylan, and Springsteen to contemporary artists Snail Mail and Clairo. These may represent our protagonist’s journey to self discovery. Although Connor will always have strong roots in his past, he is finding his own taste in music and defining his own path in life.
Connor’s last song, “Sofia” by Clairo, reflects what Connor looks for in both music and women: me.
I imagine the electropop song blasting over shaky car speakers as Connor and his high school friends drive off into the distance at the end of their senior year. I picture them screaming the words “Sofia, know that you and I shouldn’t feel like a crime,” with feelings of independence and adventure as they prepare to part ways and dive into further self discovery in college.