Track by Track Series: Monarch Barista cherishes the comfort in music, shares mix

Track by Track Series: Monarch Barista cherishes the comfort in music, shares mix

Photo courtesy of Kaitlyn Clements

"Track by Track" is a series where students share their daily musical diets in a Spotify playlist.

Before working at Monarch Espresso Bar, Kaitlyn Clements, a senior majoring in social work, preferred playlists to albums. 

Now, having worked there since the coffee bar opened in February of last year, she's a seasoned album listener. Through listening to coworkers' choices and playing her own favorites – like Americana folk singers Family and Friends–, too, Clements can easily maneuver between playing more relaxed tunes for a slow morning to spinning upbeat tracks when customers start pouring in. 

"That's also something that Monarch has taught me, that I've learned to appreciate an album for itself," said Clements, who started out as a catch-all employee and baker at Monarch but is now primarily a barista. "And I was like, 'I never do that.' Then I started doing that throughout working there."

Clement's family and childhood have big influences on her musical tastes.  She remembers riding in the back of her dad's car as he blared Hall & Oates, Kenny Loggins and Marvin Gaye. Then, as she got older, her sister influenced her with bands like Tuscaloosa locals CBDB.

"If I'm not talking with someone, I'm listening to music," Clements said. "It's a form of comfort and relaxing." 

Her playlist, attached below, is filled with many of those songs that are the most comfortable and familiar. Lord Huron are her all time favorites for relaxed yet fast-tempoed music.

"I like songs that are very like calming but still like have an upbeat vibe and very poetic lyrics," Clements said. "Lord Huron is my top favorite band and that's just someone my roommate my sophomore year showed me."

Clements lists her favorites from the playlist below, and elaborates on what each song means to her. 

"She Lit a Fire" – Lord Huron

"It's very sweet but just like the descriptions of the girl are very poetic and beautiful. It's not just a song that's like, 'Oh here's this fun beat, this girl's in my bed, blah blah blah.' It's very sweet and kind lyrics."

"Always" –  Tyson Motsenbocker

"It's cool because listening to ["Always"], you think, 'Ok, this is about a girl that he loves.' Yes you can interpret it that way, but if you look up the meaning behind it it's about his mom that had passed away a few years prior. And he shares that at their shows and such. They're all very thoughtful words."

"I love concerts so much. [Motsenbocker] came out with a new EP and I [messaged him on Instagram] 'Hey, this is so good; I need you to know,' and he was like 'If we see you in Birmingham be sure to stop by.' [They were sold out] and he was like 'I got it . Don't worry.' So when they came to Birmingham he got me two tickets. It was so fun."

"In Memoriam" – The Oh Hellos

"I've listened to it probably a thousand times, but every time I'm always like 'Oh my gosh this is the best song ever!' With poetic stuff, listening to it you could say like 'This is cool,' but it's describing characteristics of the Lord in a very poetic way."

"IV. Sweatpants" – Childish Gambino

"Through his lyrics he's basically saying you thought I wouldn't make it but here I am. And then by the end everyone's wanting to be what he is. It's a coming of age for him. It's a super cocky song, but I still love it so much."

"Vestiges" – Family and Friends

"If I'm at work, I'll put [Family and Friends] on a lot and I'll just play through their album. Their song 'Vestiges,' again, similar to Lord Huron, is a very adventurey song, and their lyrics have a lot of repetition."

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