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Portrait of a Playlist: Grey’s

A glooming shot of dark, deep water swirled on the television screen in front of me. Quiet piano chords echo through the speakers -sending shivers down my spine. The words All I need is a bitter song/to make me better follow a monologue by Meredith Grey. The next shot is of Meredith struggling to tread water -then slowly giving up and sinking into the dark waters. 

It was 2010, I was 14. I preferred to be creatively independent than around people. I often sat in front of the TV or ran around making up stories in my head. The episode of Grey’s Anatomy’s third season, “Drowning on Dry Land”, only made me more reclusive. My mom and sister were fans of the show, they had the DVD box sets of the first five seasons. I binged those seasons as fast as I could (in a weird way I invented binging before it was binging -but that is just a weird flex, isn’t it?). 

That summer, there was no chance of me leaving the living room. I was mesmerised by the grim but funny storytelling, the cast of characters, the knowledge -and most importantly: the music. The music choices have a way of pulling out the emotions of each scene -and doing the same to viewers. As “Bitter Song” plays while Meredith contemplates her life, I can feel the desire to end her pain -without knowing a thing about her. It’s Grey’s Anatomy that made me fall in love with music -and music as a storytelling device. 

It didn’t take me long to search the songs played throughout the series. I found them on the internet, downloaded HUNDREDS of dollars worth of music, made a playlist on Itunes, and listened to them on my black Ipod nano. “Portions for Foxes”, the opening track in the pilot, rang in my ears on the bus to school every morning. It filled me with the sense of adventure –this is where my story begins. I lamented in “Fools in Love” after pining for the obnoxiously straight jocks at my school. Like Meredith, my character flaw is falling for someone awkwardly inappropriate. To this day these songs fill me with the same emotions -as if I am rewatching scenes in my head. 

This is how I listen to music now -as if I am watching a scene. I think of specific colors that mimic the music. I place myself in scenes. The way I listen to music is imaginative because of Grey’s Anatomy. This show is the reason I create playlists so methodically. I plan to touch on the other playlists I’ve made -each have their own specific genre, mood, feeling, and color -in hopes that listeners can enjoy them as much as I do.

My Grey’s playlist is simple: a homage. It puts together all the best songs in one place. For fans of the show it’s a great playlist to sing along to indie hits, as well as cry to some of the saddest songs ever made. The playlist fills me with nostalgia and reminds me how brilliant the medical drama is.

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