by Destiny Nava
According to the American Psychological Association, synesthesia is “a condition in which stimulation of one sense generates a simultaneous sensation in another.” Some people will see colors when looking at letters and numbers (grapheme-color) or associating different periods of time like a day of the week or a month with a particular order or direction (time-space).
There are a few artists I know of who have synesthesia. Billie Eilish has been open about her synesthesia for years, even having a museum pop-up (“The Billie Eilish Experience”) back in 2019. Each room represented each song off of her debut album when we all fall asleep, where do we go? with different colors, shapes, temperatures, textures, and smells.
Lorde also has synesthesia and in her “73 Questions” interview with Vogue, she answered that Pure Heroine is green, Melodrama is violet, and Solar Power is gold. Tori Amos, in her book, described songs as having different colored light patterns and appearing like a kaleidoscope. The list goes on and on including Patrick Stump of Fall Out Boy, Mary J. Blige, Billy Joel, Frank Ocean, and Alessia Cara.
While I personally wouldn’t claim to have synesthesia, I do associate colors with songs. I didn’t realize it wasn’t a common experience until I mentioned it to my partner and friends since most of them didn’t visualize colors when listening to music. If they did happen to picture anything in their head at all, it was more like thinking of a music video to go along with the song. My partner gave me the idea to try keeping track of songs and their colors via playlists. Here are just a handful of songs and what colors I picture in my head while listening to them:
- Pink: “Just for me” by PinkPantheress
Pink (pastel and neon), black, violet, lavender. Reminds me of candy and the clear Macs and Gameboys, but probably because of how robotic the vocals sound.
- Red: “Nikki” by The Licks
Red red red. A bright red, some maroon, and more pink during the second verse. I may or may not have helped influence the color of the cover because of this.
- Yellow: “Thinking of You” by Katy Perry
Golden and a soft yellow. Warmth of sun on your skin, golden hour during the summertime.
- Green: “I’m Like a Bird” by Nelly Furtado
Sage green, very light blue, white. Kind of reminds me of clean laundry at some parts (Don’t ask. I can’t explain this one).
- Blue: “Fade Into You” by Mazzy Star
Last but not least is my favorite color. I think it’s hard to narrow down a favorite color when it comes to songs and music, but I just really love the energy that bright green songs have. But some light blue or violet songs are really nice. This song is a deeper blue, with hints of very dark purple and baby blue.
Here’s a playlist of these songs just for you: https://open.spotify.com/playlist/0jgkc29sx9CqKHTWQdJEvh?si=226aa98109f34555
What colors do you associate with these songs? Let us know in the comments.