Arts, Column, iEdit

iEdit: Inside the Brilliant Mind of Sofia Laboy

Sofia Laboy’s iEdit playlist begins with the upbeat and irreverent pop tune “BSC” by whimsical British pop artist Maisie Peters. Though I wasn’t initially familiar with the song, I quickly discovered “BSC” stands for “batshit crazy.”

“You think I’m alright / But I’m actually bloody motherf—king batshit crazy,” the chorus cries out.

Oh, the time I could have saved if Sofia had expressed this sentiment as early in our friendship as she did in this playlist.

Next in the queue is Lucy Dacus’ “I Don’t Wanna Be Funny Anymore.” The lyrics lament the disappointment of being constantly reduced and siloed to your most superficial characteristics.

Anyone who knows Sofia knows she is so much more than just funny. She’s also from New Jersey.

Following is “Mess” by Noah Kahan. I figured there had to be at least one Kahan song on this playlist, because everything about his songwriting screams Sofia. It’s witty, strikingly self-aware, and poetic, but never self-aggrandizing.

Next up, “Cleopatra” by The Lumineers. The chorus to this song was … grim. 

And when I die alone, when I die alone, when I die I’ll be on time,” the melancholy ballad bemoans.

Sofia, if you’re reading this, send me a text.

But the playlist takes a sharp, rainbow-hued turn with the next song, “You Need To Calm Down,” by Taylor Swift.

When I took Sofia to the NYC Pride March last summer, this song was her anthem. Donning a pair of cryptically heterosexual Free People jeans and a modest floral top to boot, she marched around Lower Manhattan loudly chanting the lyrics to Swift’s hymn of queer solidarity.

“You need to calm down / You’re being too loud,” she belted, conducting an invisible orchestra of gays with her arms.

Sofia Laboy is the ally no one asked for.

The good vibes don’t let up after that. The next song, “Tiburon,” by Proyecto Uno, is five minutes of Spanish house music mayhem that Sofia says “is played at every Hispanic wedding ever.”

It reminds me of a night out with Sofia—exhilarating, chaotic, a little longer than it should be, and vaguely reminiscent of a Hispanic wedding.

Following is “Don’t Take The Money, by Jack Antonoff’s band Bleachers. Fun fact: Sofia is an o.g. Antonoff fan. He was the guitarist at the first concert she attended, and she’s had a poster of him in her room since the seventh grade. She knew about him way before any of you posers (me).

Sofia then takes her playlist on the road, so to speak, with Zach Bryan’s “Hey Driver,” featuring The War and Treaty. The song follows its protagonist on a long, introspective drive back to somewhere that feels like home.

Sofia lives life in an introspective cab ride of her own. She’s not one for the unexamined life, and she’s not prone to settling where she is. Like Bryan, she often ponders her yearning to abandon the North for a quiet life down South.

But perhaps unlike Bryan, she has a litany of Bostonian comrades who would miss their late nights spent chatting with her, laptops open, legs crossed on the living room floor.

In an emotional crescendo, Swift’s “mirrorball” sits as the penultimate song on the playlist. Sofia is the mirrorball of all mirrorballs. She’s the first to put the room at ease with a laugh, set the wants of others above her own, and bend over backward to assuage those around her.

A cynic might mistake these mirrored tiles of her being as opportunity, or a green light to exploit her good nature. But her true friends know and cherish this rare benevolence for what it really is: a heart of pure gold.

In a touching finale, Sofia closes her iEdit with a live version of Billy Joel’s “Summer, Highland Falls.” As Joel ponders the “sadness or euphoria” that consumes each human experience, I can’t help but wonder if this is the way Sofia silently reflects throughout her own life.

Never fully divulging how much she knows, and never quite revealing how much grit she has, Sofia is a woman of infinite layers. These 10 songs are but a glimpse into the unyielding spirit, incomparable friend, and brilliant mind that is Sofia Laboy.

March 22, 2024