Thought Catalog Comes to KCRW

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Thought Catalog on Twitter when someone retweeted one of their articles. I started following them and quickly became obsessed because they have — by FAR — the best headlines of any publication anywhere.

This is no small thing.

I’m a publicist so I’m constantly trying to come up with snazzy ways to say things. It’s hard. And they nail it on a regular basis.

Even if I don’t read the whole thing, I always want to take a peak at articles like, say, “Quit Asking Me to Watch Your Computer“, “How To Kill Your Creativity” or “Things People Should Stop Pretending to Hate”. (Some are completely silly and some are outright naughty, but they all amuse me.)

Ryan O’Connell is the 25-year-old editor of Thought Catalog and main writer (check out this gem: “8 Songs That Will Put You To Sleep Faster Than an Ambien”) and I asked him to do his take on the Guest DJ Project via the blog.

Not surprisingly, his choices are insightful and funny like all of his writing.

1. “Harvest Moon” by Neil Young

This song is basically my childhood wrapped up in a pretty classic rock bow. My mom’s favorite musician is Neil Young and our house would always be flooded with his music. I didn’t like a lot of it when I was younger—it took me years until I could appreciate his genius—but I ALWAYS loved “Harvest Moon.” It sounded so tender and romantic, like a song you could play at your wedding or something. My mom would put it on sometimes and slow dance with my father (before they divorced, oops!) Whenever I listen to this song, I’m reminded of my mother in a dress with her long flowing back hair, having her head buried in my father’s shoulder. I don’t have many good memories of the two of them together so this song is especially poignant to me.

2. “Keep On Livin'” by Le Tigre

When I came out of the closet in high school, I was such a little wannavbe gay boy activist, so it made sense that Le Tigre was my favorite band. Their music was not only fun to dance to when you were wasted at a house party, it was also totally feminist and inspiring. You could be getting down to a song and not even realize until later that it was about, like, Communism or something. Their track “Keep On Livin” held particular resonance for me because it was all about being gay and loving yourself.During my closeted days, I would listen to it and repeat the lyrics in my head—”this is your time, this is your life”—until it finally gave me the courage to be honest. ~~~CUE THE VIOLINS~~~~

3. “I Am Waiting” by The Rolling Stones

When I was 20 years old, I got hit by a car in San Francisco and had to spend three weeks in the hospital having all of these surgeries, including a painful skin graft operation. It was miserable, to say the least. I’m usually someone who listens to music all day every day but I was honestly too depressed to even do that. For a whole month, I didn’t listen to anything besides the sounds of my own violent sobs. But one day, while recovering at home, I decided to get out of bed, put on some street clothes, and play some music. It may not seem like a big deal but, at that point, I had been so checked out that even the slightest movement was considered an achievement. I chose to put on this Rolling Stones song for energy. I had never even heard it before but it was in my iTunes so I figured, “What the hell?” and played it over and over again until I could get dressed, which ended up taking me an hour and a half.

I know it sounds dramatic but the whole process was very emotional. After spending a month immobile, dressed like a homeless person, and surrounded by deafening silence, it felt amazing to see myself inching back to normalcy. In a way, this song was like my battle cry. I was going to get better. I was going to get my life back, one cute outfit and Rolling Stones song at a time.

4. “Dreaming My Life Away” by Best Coast

I listen to Best Coast a lot when I’m writing. Not just because their music is catchy as hell but because I think we’re often inspired by the same themes of love and loneliness. “Dreaming My Life Away” is definitely one of their darker tracks and playing it always put me in this weird, hazy mood.  I listen to it whenever I need to write about something that makes me uncomfortable or if I want to do something that’s less direct and more poetic. I don’t know what it is about this song but it always turns me into a raw nerve, and all of a sudden I’m just purging my feelings out on the page. I love it.

5. “I Only Have Eyes For You” by The Flamingos

This is the perfect love song, in my opinion.

It’s eerie, romantic and a little creepy, which are all the hallmarks of good love, right?! Whoever dates me next is going to have to slow dance with me to this song a million times. Preferably on some New York City rooftop in the summertime.

— Ryan O’Connell