The Earworm: A Reader Playlist Spotlight on Tori Groves

(Illustration Credit: Brian Rea-New York Times)

Playlist: Tori Groves

The Assignment

In December, I asked the readers of Super No Bueno to come up with a list of three songs that best describe them and their taste in music. Shortly thereafter, Tori Groves inboxed the group page to let me know that she was up to the task.

I don’t know Tori personally, but we’ve chatted online. She is a 25-year-old attending grad school in Northeast Ohio. She likes horror movies and loves tattoos. Her list is composed of two prominent female voices in contemporary rock and a pop punk band from Wales.

Time to hit “play.”

The Playlist

Hayley Williams: “Asystole”

This song means a lot to me, and it was my most-played song of the year for 2021 and 2022. This last year was pretty hard for me, I went through a big breakup in June, and I’ve been having some general mental health struggles. The song has a very calm and comforting sound, and it has actually helped bring me out of panic attacks before. If I really think about it, this song sort of describes my mentality after the breakup. I didn’t (and sometimes still don’t) feel whole, or feel like “on my own I’m worthy.” And towards the end of the relationship, it did feel like we were “talking to each other on the other line.” I originally fell in love with this song when I didn’t know what the word “Asystole” meant. I thought it sounded like the name of a Greek myth or something, “the song of Asystole.” So the revelation that it’s a medical term for when your heart stops was a shock to me, but it also made sense.

Regina Spektor (feat. Only Son): “Call Them Brothers”

This is a song I always come back to. I would say it’s my go-to song if I don’t know what to listen to. Honestly, I don’t really know what it’s about, but it’s very comforting to me. I’ve heard that it’s about the fall of the Berlin Wall, or the fall of the Soviet Union, or just about a relationship, but the meaning isn’t really significant to me. This song just feels like Fall, which is my favorite season. The acoustic guitars, the harmonies, the key changes, the background singing. Everything about it is beautiful. I think my favorite part of it is 1:27 to the end. The harmonies in the verse, how it transitions into the bridge, and then back into a quiet verse are all so beautiful. There’s another version (by Only Son, featuring Regina Spektor) that has what sounds like a quartet in the background, and that one is beautiful as well, but feels more like Winter.

Neck Deep: Gold Steps

This has been one of my favorite songs for YEARS. I started listening to Neck Deep in 2017, listening to bands who were going to be playing the Warped Tour that summer. I was working at an ice cream shop. On a particularly rough day, “Gold Steps” came on while on my way to work and I really listened to the lyrics for the first time. It’s uplifting to me, especially the chorus. This sounds dramatic, but the song makes hard days easier to get through. I even put a quote from it on my college graduation cap:

“Moving mountains that I once had to climb.”

To me, it just means that I can stay strong and get through anything. It’s become a year-round staple for me, especially in the summer because a lot of pop-punk music just feels very summery and fun.

-Tori Groves

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