When we first wrote about Reese Lansangan almost three years ago, we never had the idea we would be seeing her everywhere. But now, indeed, she is: after the release of her debut full-length Arigato, Internet! she’s a ubiquitous presence – you might have seen her on television, or her work on magazines, or photos of her in stores, or maybe heard her music while on hold at Sky Cable. She even wrote a wedding song for Bossing and Poleng! Now, the multi-hyphenate (rolled into one convenient sushi, in her words) shares the five songs she can’t live without – and in her picks, a sense of wonder permeates.
“Can’t Take It In”
Imogen Heap | The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (2005)
Prior to knowing that Imogen Heap was technically the same entity as Frou Frou, “Can’t Take It In” was my first ever Imogen Heap song. Imogen is a big deal because she is my FAVORITE artist of all time, so the magic of first discovery means a lot to me. I watched The Chronicles of Narnia with my family at the theater and I remember being swept away by the magnificent score of Harry Gregson-Williams.
I’m sure the movie was perfectly okay, but I was just charmed by the whole thing, presumably because the closing credits had Imogen Heap’s “Can’t Take It In” play the second the screen turned black. Even just writing about it now gives me CHILLS all over my body. That song is the very definition of MAGIC to me. It is my most favorite song ever. The lyrics, the melody, the highs, the arrangement… the song takes me to an almost state of divinity. It might not be the most complex song in the world but it literally takes my breath away. I walked out of the theater ENCHANTED, and absolutely changed since then.
Regina Spektor | Far (2009)
Aside from John Mayer’s “Stop This Train”, this is one other song that I WISH I wrote and came up with. This song is just SO clever and poignant and beautiful and it would hurt that I didn’t come up with it, but I know only Regina Spektor can pen the words to this genius number. It talks about faith and vulnerability, of pride and the idiosyncrasies of being human in such a relatable manner that makes you go YES, YES, YES that’s right, YES. AGHH.
“Is This It?”
Kate Walsh | Tim’s House (2007)
Kate Walsh is probably the only artist that I listen to in ANY mood, and it still would work – happy, sad, melancholic, nostalgic, angry, devastated. Like a tide, it washes me over and envelopes me. It makes me feel like a tiny person who wants to crawl in the inside of a conch shell to sleep forever. This particular song transports me to a really wonderful time in my life when I just fully immersed myself in reading and watching and consuming culture for a long period of time. It was like a sort of personal renaissance, if you will. This particular song reminds me of independence, ideals, and lofty dreams. It also paints me a picture of my future self in an empty white shack, perfectly content while staring out the window in the aftermath of the rain. Somehow, that is a very comforting image to me. Weirdly, this song (although sad sounding) gives me so much hope for the future – that I’ll get there, and I’ll be alright.
“Just Around the Riverbend”
Judy Kuhn | Pocahontas: An Original Walt Disney Records Soundtrack (1995)
Not only does Disney obviously mean a lot to me (and to the whole world too…) but this particular song is really special. I grew up listening to specifically the Pocahontas OST on repeat (on the very OG cassette tape, too) and I believe it is severely underrated! For a children’s song, “Just Around the Riverbend” sure packs in a lot of philosophical thought. “What I love most about rivers is you can’t step in the same river twice”. A lot of times I feel like I am always choosing between a fork road – which path to go. Often I choose the harder course whilst holding on to the possibility of a worthwhile journey… for which I have Pocahontas to either thank (or blame hehe). “Or do you still wait for me, Dream Giver, just around the river bend?” Hmm, beautiful.
“The Predatory Wasp of the Palisades Is Out To Get Us!”
Sufjan Stevens | Illinois (2005)
This song literally feels like a bandage for your heart. It is the most tender, most innocent song I’ve ever heard and it is just beautiful. Granted, I don’t even understand what he’s saying entirely, but the sentiment sure sounds pure and wonderful. Whenever I listen to this, I am reminded that there’s so much good in this world and one shouldn’t live in the dark when there are shining beacons of songs that exist such as this one.
[Photography by Kimberlee Balmes. Reese was talking to Niko Batallones.]