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  • Writer's pictureMyla van Lynde

I Need to Start a Garden: On Growing Up and Moving On

Zoe Moss '24


What better to accompany the commencement spirit than a hauntingly beautiful acoustic album with resounding themes of growth and self-cultivation? Graduation is a difficult time, especially for the school seniors who are now transitioning into a life outside of the Mesa. I Need to Start a Garden, a short album released in 2018 by Haley Heynderickx, embodies a fleeting, youthful spirit alongside powerful, weighty lyrics. Heynderickx, originally from Stockton, California, is a young Filipino-American singer and guitarist who sings with distinct folk and indie pop inspirations. She broke into the local musical scene through this initial album and has continued to make music since.

Of all the songs on the album, which are individually worth a close listen, the most notable are The Bug Collector and Oom Sha La La. The Bug Collector is a melancholy acoustically finger-picked tune, centered around supposed “bugs” that the narrator is capturing in order to appease someone else. The song ruminates on the experience of attempting to help another person with their own personal struggles, only to give up a part of oneself in the process. The narrator endlessly captures these “bugs” all in the attempt to make the other person feel safer and more secure, but ends up exacerbating the situation further. It is reflective, soothing and on the whole, an inspiring way to start off a noteworthy album.

Oom Sha La La, a stream-of-consciousness-musing-turned-masterpiece, was originally written by Heynderickx in a song writing contest and workshop that her closest friends hosted. Heynderickx explains in an interview with Clunk Magazine that the song is a vulnerable exploration of her own personal growth into adulthood, which seems a perfect tribute to Cate’s own graduating class. The track examines the feeling of being stuck in one place, weighed down by a senseless existence until, all at once, it turns into an uplifting and raw expression of the need to grow and change. Heynderickx begins to repeat that she, “Needs to start a garden,” which essentially underlies the song’s transition away from its initial stagnant, simple tone, into something transformative.

At the end of the year, many students tend to get weighed down by the stresses and strains of daily life, so why not take 30 minutes for an equally melancholy-but-hopeful album full of rich lyricism and calming melodies? Good luck, everyone, congratulations to the Class of ‘23, and happy listening!



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