The Sounds of an On-Going Existential Crisis, Part Two

Kristen Carbone
3 min readJan 27, 2023


Music is life itself. -Louis Armstrong

At the Bottom of Everything

-Bright Eyes

This is best played when you’re contemplating the meaning of life and have that what-is-the-actual-point-of-anything feeling and you need and uppity melody to pair with the darkness.

Love You So Bad

-Ezra Furman

This is best played when you’re feeling overwhelmed with love even though you thought you’d abandoned the idea of this particular kind of love a long time ago and maybe aren’t sure if the depth of your feelings are matched. Alternately, it can be good when you’re thinking about a fling from high school who is dead but who was maybe the one that got away.

Jim Cain

-Bill Callahan

This is best played between zoom meetings when you just need a second to reset your humanity.

Anything by Amy Grant

This is best played with another woman who was growing up in the 80s while you both wish to teleport back to a simpler time when your idle time was spent making up dances, finding the perfect shade of blue eye shadow (I’m still looking, by the way) and wondering if you’d ever feel less awkward (not really, honey).

On The Radio

-Regina Spector

This is best played when you can turn up the volume and let the sound press down into your chest with the crushing weight of nostalgia and inevitable heartbreak caused from simply being alive. I mean, whose heart is pumping your blood?!


-Beastie Boys

This is best played when it takes your by surprise and your heart actually swells trying to recapture a moment from being in your high school friend’s car that was so simple, so perfect and formative in a way that has buttressed your sense of self in such a way you’d forgotten about until juuuust now.

Dirty Dishes

-Deer Tick

This is best played when you need a reminder about Providence. Perhaps that you arrived on these streets looking for exactly what it has delivered and that each phase of life here has been exactly as it’s meant to be and you can trust that more will unfold and swaddle your spirit.

You’re On Your Own, Kid

-Taylor Swift

This is best played in the car with your 12-year old daughter.

New Slang

-The Shins

This is best played when you’re doing something truly mundane, like refolding all the things in your pajama drawer and you want to tap your feet and hum.

Before I Knew

-Basia Bulat

This is best played when you’re imagining an alternative life where you play ukulele and travel the country doing gigs in coffee houses and living on tips and wearing Doc Martins with ripped tights.


-Tom Petty

This is best played when you’re trying to recapture your memories of your paternal grandmother who you once caught swaying gently in the hammock in your brother’s room loudly singing Tom Petty with her eyes closed.

Where Did Our Love Go

-Soft Cell

I’ve said it before and stand by that this is best played when wondering where our love went.

A Butterfly’s Wings

-Michael Giacchino

This is best played when you’re imagining the song that might play in a movie where you’re at a dinner party and the lights dim, start to twinkle and the camera slowly pans across the laughing faces of a group of people who are actually a little bit sad.



This is best played when you want to smile and be unable to sing along.

I Got You, Honey

-Ocie Elliot

This is best played when thinking about doing Karaoke with you, but like if we could go back in time.

How Lucky

-Kurt Vile and John Prine

This is best played when you wonder if you’ll ever get to stroll down a street you’ve been walking on for a very long time and be on the other side of this great effort and feel ease.



Kristen Carbone

Just trying to understand the tiny space I occupy in the cosmos without becoming too distracted by the laundry.