guys guys I made another playlist
So it’s almost the end of spring semester and I should be writing papers, but what am I doing? That’s right, internet, I’m making you a spring mix, because I’m bad at being productive and good at being nostalgic. Lately I’ve found myself drawn to the music I listened to in high school - not the early years, when I had an embarrassing attachment to Rascal Flatts and Joe Nichols, but toward the end of my senior year, when I began to come into my own in terms of actually having taste. I think this is because I have an acute case of pre-graduation jitters: I’m graduating from college in just under a month, and the prospect of having to be an adult in the real world is looming. Bills? Taxes? Probable unemployment brought about by having a degree in something nobody cares about? NO THANKS GUYS, I’LL JUST BE A KID FOREVER. Calling everyone with a Peter Pan complex, the next flight to Never Never Land is boarding now.
Anyway, the following is a solid little mix of indie rock, soft acoustic-y stuff, and jams from the late nineties/early 2000s, to ease into spring (and possibly adulthood) and help you coast through those end-of-the-semester doldrums.
(Note: These are likely to download out of order.)
1. J’ai Deux Amours - Madeleine Peyroux Because everything sounds better in French. Also because it’s been stuck in my head for months. And because it’s from the soundtrack to An Education, so the resonances are astounding, OKAI?
2. Quelqu’un M’a Dit - Carla Bruni See above about the French. Also, anyone who can resist Bruni’s gentle, husky alto clearly has no soul.
3. May You Never - John Martyn A British folk take on the Irish blessing everyone knows and loves. May you never lay your head down without a hand to hold; may you never make your bed out in the cold.
4. The Boy With the Arab Strap - Belle and Sebastian “Colour my life with the chaos of trouble” took the internet (aka teen girls’ facebook profiles) by storm when a certain manic pixie dream girl used it as her yearbook quote in (500) Days of Summer. The propulsive piano undercurrent and percussive guitar playing make it infectious, but thoughtful lyrics make it unforgettable.
5. Chelsea Morning - Joni Mitchell If this song doesn’t start your day off right, I’m not sure there’s much anyone can do to help you.
6. Cherry, Cherry - Neil Diamond This song is irrepressibly happy. Don’t you dare dis the Diamond.
7. The General - Dispatch Do you remember when this song came out? Yeah, me either, because I first heard it on the local college radio station in eleventh grade, by which time I’m pretty sure this Middlebury-based band had broken up. Regardless, the catchy guitars, the harmonies on the chorus, and the compelling narrative of the lyrics made it an instant favourite, recently unearthed again for your (aka my) listening pleasure.
8. Galileo - Indigo Girls At a time when any misstep can seem the difference between the life you’re just realizing you want and a lifetime of mediocrity, Galileo “king of night vision, king of insight” seems just about as valid a soul to appeal to as any other.
9. Transatlantique - Beirut “All along, I was your home.”
10. Die Alone - Ingrid Michaelson Because you won’t, dumbass, and because Ingrid is in fine form on the first track to her breakout album Girls And Boys. Above her staccato chords, Ingrid sings about an essential existential plight, or that moment of transformation when we realize we’re in flux. I’m exaggerating, but only slightly.
11. Ahead By a Century - The Tragically Hip Does it make me tragically hipster to like these guys? Obligatory pun aside, this is my favourite Hip song. No dress rehearsal, guys. This is our life.
12. Up From Below - Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros Not as famous as “Home,” but just as good (although maybe not as gut-wrenchingly adorable).
13. Ashes - KT Tunstall Because I never get tired of hearing her growl “Fuck you, little princess, who the hell d’you think you are?”
14. Chicago - Sufjan Stevens The essential song about going places and doing things and learning and changing. I’m also a particular fan of this cover (thank you tumblr/internet/Caitlin Dullea), which I think is pretty much perfect.
15. Electric Twist - A Fine Frenzy One of those jams I discovered early in my college career, at the insistence of a close friend that I buy the album. Is there a better way to describe the stomach-dropping lurch of first love(s)? “You give me the electric twist/and it kicks and it kicks like a pony.”
16. Dance Anthem of the 80’s - Regina Spektor Hands-down my favourite Regina song, just above “On the Radio” and “Dusseldorf.” This song is perfect, and the video is just as good.
17. Antarctica - The Weepies My favourite Weepies tune, not just for the pun (“Antarctica, my only living relative”), but also for the lines “carnelian stars and the bars down below/serve only vodka and gin.” I think it’s the internal rhyme of carnelian and stars that gets me, coupled with the line that follows - “try to stay drunk, so nobody knows.” This song is about making it through.
18. Do Wah Do - Kate Nash Is there anyone as deliciously snarky in her music as Kate Nash? Having lived most of my life reminding myself to be less intimidated by pretty people because my brain will get me everywhere, her lyrics strike a chord. “Well, I’ll just read a book instead/I don’t care if we’re just friends/I can hang out with myself/Old enough now to pretend.”
19. Stars - fun. Y’all can bitch about the autotune all you want, and while I tend to agree that it’s totally unnecessary, this song is still totally awesome. It feels epic - like a late-night summer concert with all of your friends, when everything still feels infinite. Which is appropriate, given that this is the band you might know better for a little song called “We Are Young.”
20. No Such Thing - John Mayer Have you listened to these lyrics? They defend themselves for inclusion on this list. While John has definitely engaged in some douche-y behaviour, and while I wouldn’t recommend him as a role model, there is still a teenage soft spot in my heart for some of his earlier work.
Enjoy, internet. I’ll see y’all on the flip side.