College is a time for transformation and self-discovery. At least, that’s what popular culture will lead you to believe.
I definitely agree with this statement as I am an entirely different person than who I was as a freshman. Whenever I have an overwhelming emotion, I have a tendency to make a hyperspecific Spotify playlist. Here are the songs I’m currently playing to start my year off right:
“Sound of the Bell” by Veruca Salt
Veruca Salt is, in my opinion, the best grunge rock band with a female lead singer. The lyrics in “Sound of the Bell” explore the feeling of being a child with some very adult undertones, which I think is very fitting for college. The song talks about finding how to love and be loved in a way that works, underscoring the importance of finding identity outside of how you were raised.
“New Partner” by Palace Music
This song reminds me that even though I “have a new partner riding with me,” as the song says, I can still remember and become fixated on the past. Even though I move forward, I’m not losing pieces of myself from years ago.
“Kutcher” by Sports Team
This is a bit of a silly song, but I think that every playlist is incomplete without an incomprehensible British song. I also love Ashton Kutcher, despite him not showering often.
“Alpha Beta Parking Lot” by Cake
I’ll admit, I’m in a Cake phase. I love bands that have fun with their music and Cake is one of them. This song perfectly captures the feeling of detachment from reality that college embodies while also pointing out the beauty in the mundane. It’s the only song I listen to that acknowledges Greek life, so I felt the need to include it.
“My Way” by the Sex Pistols
“My Way” is an incredible song. This cover is objectively terrible, but I love it anyway. This kind of music is exactly what can be found at a random house show on any given weekend around Bloomington. This is not to discount the talent of the artists performing. The electric nature of this cover reminds me of the energy exuded by the local bands.
“I Wanna Sweat” by Car Seat Headrest
“What are you doing? / People have died / Shame on you for being alive.” This lyric resonated with me so much during my freshman year. It always reminds me to live for the moment and live for myself. I love this band so much, so I had to include them somewhere.
“Blue Monday” by Ayesha Erotica
Clearly, I have a thing for covers. Navigating the sea of “Blue Monday” covers is a feat within itself. I believe this is the best version of this song, even better than New Order’s original. I will claim that it changed my brain chemistry after hearing it once.
“I Wanna Get Better” by Bleachers
Jack Antonoff is consistently one of my favorite producers and artists. This song was one of my most played songs when I was in middle school, and it makes me feel like I have endless time ahead of me to change and get better as a person. The catharsis this song provides is insane.
“Byzantine” by Weezer
Weezer is the epitome of modern college rock. REM started the genre and Weezer picked up where they left off. It’s an earworm; I don’t think I’ll ever get it out of my head.
“Talk to Strangers” by TV Girl
College isn’t all good times. It can’t be. This song is gorgeous, but very depressing. Most parents will agree with the part where they sing “...you should have listened to your mother.”
I don’t think I’m alone in the need for hyperspecific Spotify playlists. I tried to add something for everyone while still being true to my music taste. Take a listen — hopefully, there’s something you like.