The music you love says a lot about the way you’re feeling and how you’re processing what’s happening around you. A tune or album can even offer sage life advice, like when you realize that a relationship won’t work because of how a similar one plays out in a song (looking at you, 1989). If you read it right, the music you connect with can help give you a glimpse of what you want and where you’re going.
Music can be a fantastic vessel for empathy, too, and 2016 so far has been full of deeply felt new work from some of the most important artists working today. We got new Kanye and Rihanna, Zayn finally made his debut, and Lemonade came crashing out of the sky.
Now that the first half of the year is almost up, it’s a good time to evaluate which album has meant the most to you — and what it can tell you about where you’re headed over the next six months.
If You Love Rihanna's Anti
The moment you stopped giving a fuck was the greatest moment of your entire life. You’re learning when to jump the hurdles and when to walk away from the track, and you know now that there’s no shame in either choice. Keep toxic influences out of your world in order to stay on your path. Nothing is worth slipping up on your grind.
If You Love Kanye West's The Life of Pablo
Every time you exorcise your demons, more pop up from depths you didn’t know you had. Really, no one ever becomes completely pure. There’s so much you want to accomplish that you can’t help wanting two or three lives at once, just to know what it feels like to live out your worst fears and your greatest desires. You don’t have to settle, but you might want to learn to center yourself — to become one person, complex but whole, living peacefully with your demons the way you do with your angels.
If You Love Zayn's Mind of Mine
You have a habit of looking at other people your own age and envying their purity of intent, the way they put their best foot forward into everything. Keep in mind that you’re seeing the people you admire through a narrow aperture; just because you can’t detect any doubt in them doesn’t mean they aren't harboring any. Your life isn’t a race and there isn’t any record to beat. You’ll get there when you get there.
If You Love Beyoncé's Lemonade
Good on you for finding your fire. Maybe some people don’t agree with the way you do things — too sharp, too tough, too direct — but you’ve been learning to let your own judgment speak loudest in your mind. Keep listening to that deep voice, the clear one, because the voices that try to shout over it won’t lead you anywhere you want to go.
If You Love Chance the Rapper's Coloring Book
No one knows better than you that optimism can be exhausting. It’s so tempting to curl into defeat, to give up. The charge of hope is a heavy weight on your back, but only because it’s so full of fuel. Find a way to switch it on and you’ve got a jetpack. You can go anywhere.
If You Love Drake's Views
Are you chasing what you need, or are you hunting down an ideal that you know deep down you’ll never be able to achieve? Are you hunting it down because you know you’ll never have it? Maybe it feels like everything will fly off the rails if you loosen your grip on how things should be, but you’ll be surprised how freeing it can be to spend some time with how things really are.
If You Love Fifth Harmony's 7/27
2016 has been going your way so far, but you can’t escape the feeling that for every success you achieve, there’s a failure just waiting to come crashing down. Your fears aren’t entirely unjustified. Shit happens and things go wrong. Hold tight to the person you are at your best to survive the inevitable worst yet to come. And remember: The bad stuff is temporary, too.
If You Love Ariana Grande's Dangerous Woman
This year has already turned a new leaf for you, and it’s about to get even fresher. You’re opening up psychic spaces you never thought you’d be able to access; pretty soon, you’re going to stop feeling like a stranger in them. Hold on to the curiosity that got you here. Even if you stumble, you’ll be glad you took the risks.
If You Love A$AP Ferg's Always Strive and Prosper
Sometimes it feels like all the hard work you do doesn’t fill the void, but only makes it deeper. The more you learn about yourself, the more you learn about your limitations, and the older you get, the more you can feel your alternate futures slipping away. But maybe this is the timeline you’re meant to be living. Maybe the darkness is just there to make the beauty around you burn brighter.
If You Love Meghan Trainor's Thank You
Lately, you’ve been torn between two versions of yourself: one that needs nothing and one that needs everything. You oscillate between scoffing at your own desire and indulging that desire so deeply you drown in it. That binary is a trap, and the path out of it is to embrace the shades of gray between the poles. Let yourself be a little needy while giving yourself a high-five for all the ways you’ve learned to be self-reliant.
If You Love Anohni's Hopelessness
It looks bad out there, doesn’t it? It almost looks like the whole world is about to collapse with you at the very center. If fighting for the continued survival of the planet seems useless, maybe it’s time to narrow your scope a little. Offering comfort to those around you and receiving comfort in return can be as big of a gesture as throwing yourself into an asteroid headed straight for Earth.
If You Love Panic! at the Disco's Death of a Bachelor
You pretend to be annoyed when your friends worry about you, but deep down you’re glad when they do. It’s probably time for you to discern between the friends who flatter your illusions about yourself and the friends who keep you humble; you aren’t as young as you used to be, and you’ll find it’s actually freeing now to start shedding fake friends like so many frayed sequins.
If You Love The 1975's I Like It When You Sleep, For You Are So Beautiful Yet So Unaware Of It
Irony can make you likable but it can also hold you back from feeling the way you really want to feel. Instead of fixing everything in the lens of your sarcasm, try being really, deeply serious for a minute. Try genuinely and directly asking for what you want. Sometimes it’s better to be sad than it is to be snarky. Sometimes it’s better to take off the armor and breathe.
If You Love Radiohead's A Moon Shaped Pool
You knew life could get bad, but you didn’t know just how bad; you didn't anticipate the beautiful diversity of badness that human experience has to offer. You probably also didn’t anticipate just how much grace there is in losing everything you once thought you’d be able to rely on. Life is very long and its story lines don’t wrap up neatly. You are not the hero in a popular film; you are one suffering organism in a mosaic of suffering organisms called Earth, and it’s your job to live through your loss the way you've lived through all your triumphs.
If You Love Kaytranada's 99%
It’s easy for you to be fascinated with your own ideas; it’s harder to share those ideas with the world. But if what you come up with on your own time delights you, odds are it’s going to delight somebody else. Tap into your desire to be understood and muster up the bravery to creep out of your shell, even if it’s just a little bit at a time.
If You Love Macklemore & Ryan Lewis's This Unruly Mess I’ve Made
There’s self-reflection and then there’s navel-gazing. You know the difference, but sometimes you still find it hard to see beyond your own belly button. Instead of chattering your way through your problems or trying to fix them by being busy all the time, try finding a quiet space where you can just be, problems and all. You’ll find that if you sit still for long enough, problems start to look less like monsters and more like passing shadows.
If You Love Skepta's Konnichiwa
Like a forest fire, anger can be cleansing, renewing, healing. It’s definitely preferable to boredom or stagnancy, and it can carry you far in fighting for what you believe in. Just make sure your anger doesn’t sour into cruelty. Keep the kindness in your fire and let it light the way for those around you.
If You Love Death Grips's Bottomless Pit
We get it; you vape.
If You Love M83's Junk
You’ve got mountains of longing inside of you, but what is it all for? Do you even remember the past well enough to want to return there? It’s time to square your nostalgia with your growth; just because something’s over doesn’t mean that it’s better.
If You Love Modern Baseball's Holy Ghost
There’s only so much guilt you can hold on to before you start to lose your grip. Everyone’s hurt people, it’s not just you, and everyone has the chance to move on from the pain they’ve inflicted — and the pain they’ve received. Stop seeing your downturns as punishment and start thinking of them as challenges. How much hurt can you let go of? How free can you get?
If You Love dvsn's Sept. 5th
Yes, you will have sex someday, and no, you won’t like it as much as you think you will.
If You Love Car Seat Headrest's Teens of Denial
Eventually, you’re going to have to learn to be the kind of person who says “hi” first when you pass someone you know, if only to give yourself some power on the day to day. Try to get out of your house before noon. Try to walk under the sun more. Remember you’re a part of the world, not a prisoner of it, and the only way to ease your suffering is to accept that suffering is just part of what it means to be alive. Love is, too. So’s joy.
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