Bob Marley was a genius, full stop. He channeled the soul of his battered and exploited nation and created something beautiful. He balanced the violence of his everyday with a transcendent love and a politician’s human canniness. He’s a towering figure.
But in this, he was absolutely wrong. Music is pain.
Or, at its best, it can be. We all have breakup playlists, even if they just exist in our heads. We all have songs that remind us of the time they ripped out our beating heart and just let it slow to stillness in the gathering dusk. We feel the ice in our stomach and the ache in our chest at the first note. We remember lying dramatically on the floor listening over and over to Tori Amos (or, some of us do).
Music both creates emotions, and reminds us of them. They are inextricably linked in experience and memory, much like how scent is intertwined with sex (as, for that matter, is music). So when the memory is miserable, so is the music.
And that brings us, as it always does, to the White Sox. I asked White Sox Twitter to let me know what songs remind them of the 2023 season — what captures this suppurating waste of a season, this feeling of an end of an era that never was, more a defeated sigh than meaningful Götterdämmerung, this endless nutpunch?
Well, White Sox Twitter responded, as it always does. I’m so grateful and impressed with the eclectic choices, the genuine deep cuts, the surprising picks, and the oddball choices. There’s too damn many of you for me to call you all out, but I’m proud of the lot of ya.
Edith Piaf. Polish sludge metal. Linda Ronstadt and SAINt JHN and Adam Sandler. Yo la Tengo and Drake and Linkin Park. Peggy Lee, Bruce Springsteen, several Alice in Chains, PJ Harvey (one of the most inspired selections). The Night Chicago Died. Tracy fucking Chapman. There’s something called Hatebreed, which I liked more than a little.
You dug deep into your well of despair. You blended humor with rage, wry frustration with sputtering annoyance, lyrical obscurity with absolute literalism.
Optimism, as we see, is not a running theme. Perhaps our own Ryiin summed up up with their pithy best:
Angsty unrequited love is def my theme— Ryiin (@rfoto) May 23, 2023
So how do we feel? A few gifs, and then on to the playlist.