Music Mood Board: Reflecting on Love and Genuine Human Connection

I've been thinking a lot about human connection lately — what it means to love and be loved, what it means to spend your time on this Earth with someone who cherishes the real you. It's something I've pondered long before this epoch of self-isolation and social distancing, but maybe spending so much time alone has made me confront it more profoundly. Regardless, my postulations about relationships of any sort — romantic, platonic, anything in the middle — have deepened.

I've reflected on how people develop authentic bonds and the double-edged sword of forming that connection. It's a beautiful thing to find someone who values you and wants to be around you, but it's also terrifying. It's scary trusting someone with your sensibilities and developing an interdependence. Because, one day, that person might decide to disconnect from what you thought was a good thing. And few things are as psychologically painful as feeling like your existence is an obstruction or an inadequacy.

As someone who's pretty guarded, I often cite the fear of hurt and rejection as reasons to keep my emotions in a glass box — visible, but barricaded. It's the bleak side of the human connection coin. However, I've recently become more intrigued by the rosy facet of intimacy that makes vulnerability worthwhile. The journey of finding a genuine soulmate definitely has bumps in the road, but I don't think I'm nearly as scared of those setbacks as I used to be. This is something I've personally grasped in terms of romance, but the concept of wholly and lovingly connecting with someone can apply to friendships, familial relationships, etc. It's wonderfully universal, which is why the songs ahead have been on repeat this past week.

click to play video

"Deviate" by Tora

This track from Australian electronic band Tora underlines the deterioration of humanity by way of technology. Lead singer Jo Loewenthal encourages us to realign with the ethos of humankind to keep from straying away from what really matters. "Searching for connection / We forget to live in the now," he says. "And hide behind the smokescreen / That we've created, it's deviating."

click to play video

"How Do You Feel?" by Post Animal

Yes, Post Animal is making another appearance in the Music Mood Board column. I've been really into their latest album Forward Motion Godyssey, OK? According to the band, this song is about "the confusion and eventual acceptance of complicated emotions." For me, personally, this explanation has a duality. My shift in perspective when it comes to vulnerability and connecting with someone can pretty much be summed up as "the confusion and eventual acceptance of complicated emotions." So, bravo, Post Animal.

The song also feels like a story of someone striving to maintain their connection with a loved one, as if they're standing on opposite sides of a canyon. The "How do you feel?" that echoes in the chorus is like a bridge or an extended hand anxiously waiting to be accepted. That display of concern is a paradigm of what it means to deeply care about a person, even if you're not on the same page.

click to play video

"Eventide" by Jordan Mackampa

Mackampa lends his comforting vocals to this tune about enjoying someone's company and feeling like your true self around them. He emphasizes the beauty of human convergence, crooning, "Covered in night / Our senses collided / So there's no need to hide / In this eventide."

click to play video

"Human" by Dodie feat. Tom Walker

Dodie's 2019 EP Human is perhaps one of the most succinctly and accurately titled collection of songs in my Spotify library. The British singer explores various aspects of what it means to be human, especially in relation to another person. The title track encompasses the yearning to learn about someone on a deep level and establish a special kind of trust. "Will you share your soul with me? / Unzip your skin and let me have a see," Dodie sings. "Paint me in trust / I'll be your best friend / Call me the one / This night just can't end."

click to play video

"Holy Water" by Orion Sun

With warm evocations, Orion Sun explicates the charm and luster of committing to someone and having that devotion reciprocated. "Water, my cup overflowing / Abundant, your love got me floating," Orion Sun intones. "Upstream, you and me onto bigger things / Planning the future with our eyes closed."

click to play video

"Ocean" by Vérité

This might be my favorite song off of Vérité's 2019 album New Skin. It details the feeling of losing yourself in someone when you first start to connect with them. That's something I used to think was negative — and it certainly can be — but there's also a beneficial effect, depending on how and why you're letting a part of yourself go. In this particular song, losing yourself is the result of finding refuge in someone who takes you out of your anxieties.

click to play video

"Chin Up" by Yoke Lore

In a Genius annotation, Yoke Lore revealed this pensive track is inspired by the end of a friendship. "This is not a song of anger," he wrote. "This is almost like what I want to say to the person now. 'This is done, we're done, but keep your chin up because even though our closeness is over, I still believe in you as a human who can bring good rich light into peoples lives.' I just can't be there for you anymore."

Even when you lose someone in a certain regard, you can still maintain some level of investment in that person and what you hope for them. And while things might not work out, the time you spent together is too precious to wish for anything but sanguineness. It's a notion that concedes how powerful and eternal interconnectivity truly is.