Animal, Miike Snow - miike snow

When I first met my husband, it was clear we came from entirely different musical backgrounds. He grew up listening to Classic Rock; I want to barf every time I hear a three minute rock’n’roll guitar solo. I primarily focused on what people said in songs, so I was always honed in on lyrics by singer-songwriters; he still struggles to know the words to songs he’s known for years (to his credit, he’s the only person I know who dominates Billy Joel’s “We Didn’t Start The Fire” at karaoke). The few crossover similarities were our mutual love for N*Sync and Linkin Park, but I guess that’s better than nothing.

So when we first started dating, we tried to share some of our favorite artists with one another without pissing the other person off. I’d share some of the rock-ier songs by my favorite singer-songwriters, and he’d play it safe with some newer artists that bordered on “pop” instead of straight-up rock. The musical courtship was apparently successful (we’re happily married now and can mutually agree upon five CDs to put on shuffle in our living room) and the biggest perk was discovering some great new artists that I likely wouldn’t have found any other way.

One of the artists we found together was Miike Snow. They checked bits off both our lists: electronic dance vibes for Sam and thoughtful, ponder-worthy lyrics for me. Sam bought their CD and we were both instantly drawn to the first track: “Animal.”

“Animal” is more than just a catchy beat. The more I listened to the song, the more I was intrigued by the animalistic element in each of us


Animal, Miike Snow - world filled with darkness Animal, Miike Snow - in your eyes Animal, Miike Snow - Am i free or am i tied up Animal, Miike Snow - i change shapes Animal, Miike Snow - still an animal Animal, Miike Snow - when i slip Animal, Miike Snow - there is a hole


I’ll be the first to admit that my musical tastes tend towards two polar extremes: 1. emotional “indie” music that elicits unprecedented bouts of tears and confusing thoughts; 2. anything pop-pumped and worshiped by 12-15 year-old girls (i.e., Justin Timberlake, Taylor Swift, and the pinnacle of boy bands that is One Direction).

The kind of music I’ve struggled to listen to is that in-between realm of pretty much everything else. If it doesn’t make me want to curl in a ball and think about the meaning of life or jump around like the true lunatic fangirl that I am, it’s hard for me to get invested in listening to music just for the joy of listening.

Enter Grouplove. I stumbled across this band back in 2012 sort of on accident, but it was a stumble I was happy to take. Their music is playful but not adherent to the typical pop formula. Everything about their sound is pure unadulterated fun. I wasn’t expecting to fall for them as hard as I did, and now that I’ve found them, their Never Trust a Happy Song is integral to my Subaru’s summer CD rotation.

This Sight & Sound project was completely spontaneous. All the photos illustrating this Grouplove song–“Naked Kids”–were taken on a day back in the summer of 2014 up near Gaylord, MI. The perfect weekends up north involve some incalculable ratio of sun, lake, friends, and booze, but this Saturday was greater than the sum of its parts. We spent the day boating and swimming in the lake (including almost an hour in the water swim-pushing the pontoon boat back to the dock after we ran out of gas). We spent the night partying with some strangers to the raucous sounds of a rock/grunge band that played 90s hits at the perfect dive bar in the middle of nowhere.

It exceeded all of our expectations; it was the way summer is often portrayed in movies or commercials without any of the pompous, flaky calculations of posing for the scenes. When I think back on that weekend, I remember feeling truly free from everything and entirely present in the moment for one of the few times in my life. That kind of raw energy is harnessed in so many Grouplove songs, that it was a natural fit to put the two together.

oh yeah - naked kids grouplove


take your shoe off - grouploe


splashin in the water - grouplove


hot day mid june - grouplove


wild and free - grouplove


summer time fun


relax and stay young - grouplove


the water feels nice - grouplove


dive deep down under - grouplove


just one of those days - grouplove


blue perfect wave - grouplove


come out and join - grouplove


back corner table - grouplove


raise your glasses - grouplove


living out our dreams - grouplove

“Holocene” – Bon Iver

Sight & Sound is an ongoing study of visual representations of music lyrics. 

Sight and Sound - Bon Iver 1 mstych

Bon Iver’s “Holocene” is one of those songs I didn’t think was possible. I’d already been thoroughly blown-away by Justin Vernon’s work on his album For Emma, Forever Ago, so, naturally, I assumed that he’d reached the pinnacle of his musical mastery on his first full-length album and that would be the end of that.

It hurts to think I’d seriously lost that much faith in someone who was clearly wiser than the sum of his work thus far.

My brother burned me a copy of his second album (Bon Iver, Bon Iver) a few weeks after it was released. I had just graduated college and was grappling with the emotional baggage I brought with me when I moved back to my hometown and starting working at a prestigious art camp (one that I was never prestigious enough to attend as a camper), uncertain about so many things in my life. My future was entirely undefined; I felt like I was drifting through a fog where opportunities were just beyond my vision, lurking somewhere nearby but with no tangible form that I could grasp.

The workday at the camp were short so I had a lot of time to run around the campus, take long walks in the woods, re-read all the Harry Potter books, and converse with other summer employees who seemed just as unguided, yet somehow less bothered by the weight of what happened when August ended. My boyfriend lived nearby, but I spent every night alone in my linoleum-floored dorm room, staring up at the bottom of the empty bunk above me, listening to the buzz of cicadas, a distant French horn practice session, and camper chatter outside my window as the long summer days faded into night.

It was the closest I’ve come to living alone–no roommates, no family, no boyfriend–and as someone who thrives off social interaction, it was a major adjustment for me to spend so much time by myself, with only myself. I did a lot of thinking and self-exploration, trying to listen to what my heart wanted, desperately pushing aside feelings of inadequacy and the fear of where I would be in the next year (or the next ten years). Perhaps this is what happens to all children who are loved and supported their whole life; perhaps this is not wholly unique to me. But during that summer, I felt isolated by my inability to understand what I really wanted now that I had the chance to do whatever I wanted.

It is a terrible thing to be alive for 21 years and still not know who you are.

“Holocene,” to me, is the epitome of the self-injected poison of personal inadequacy, a feeling of utter insignificance in the scheme of a whole big world. It’s the sudden realization that I am a microscopic speck in a universe expanding with every breath. And, yet, I am still as significant as I choose to be in the time and space granted to me in each of those breaths. It’s a philosophical push-pull that consumes me if I let it.

When I decided to use this song for a Sight & Sound session, I knew it had to be in winter and it had to convey the kind of vacant loneliness I felt that summer after college.”Holocene” can pull me down into the darkest of places sometimes, but the emotional journey I take each time to climb back to the top and understand myself better is why I still love listening to this song.

Sight and Sound - Bon Iver 8 mstych Sight and Sound - Bon Iver 6 mstych Sight and Sound - Bon Iver 5 mstych Sight and Sound - Bon Iver 2 mstych Sight and Sound - Bon Iver 9 mstych Sight and Sound - Bon Iver 11 mstych Sight and Sound - Bon Iver 10 mstych Sight and Sound - Bon Iver 3 mstych Sight and Sound - Bon Iver 11 mstych Sight and Sound - Bon Iver 7 mstych



These are various graphics I’ve made over the years with lyrics from songs I like.




I made these posters for my husband. Jack Antonoff, the lead genius behind the band Bleachers, is a lyrical wonder. His songs embody the mysteries of love, restless summer nights, and the energetic buzz of neon lights in a city on a weekend.

right from the start i knew you'd set a fire in me - bleachers lyric poster, mstych

i will find any way to your wild heart - - bleachers lyric poster, mstych

i will love your shadow when the lights have all gone dark on you - bleachers lyric poster, mstych

I'd rather be sad with you than anywhere away from you - bleachers lyric poster, mstych

i carry you with every breath, i won't let up until the wind is gone - bleachers lyric poster, mstych

I wanna get up to the rhythm of your wild heart - bleachers lyric poster, mstych