So we’ve been MIA for the past few months. Oops. The last semester of college kind of took a toll on both of us. But as we shout to the rooftops for being finished with undergrad and awkwardly step foot into adulthood, we intend to revive the blog. I have to say, personally, I’m experiencing zero nostalgia towards graduating. I’m ready. But I also realize it’s the perfect opportunity to reflect on the music that’s defined the past three and half years.
It’s been a ride. To be honest, I’m not sure I chose the right college for undergrad. I spent about two and a half years trying to find my place at this school, only to realize I didn’t really have one. That said, it was a school that challenged me academically and socially. I’m walking out with a small group of friends I care deeply about, a degree that’s impractical but that I’m passionate about, and a temporary post-grad plan I feel content with. To write off these years would ignore important experiences and people in my life. Ultimately, it was a worthy ride.
My musical horizon definitely expanded over these years, as well. I came from a tiny school where I was considered indie just because I listened to the Killers. I went on to be surrounded by people who listen to some really obscure shit, which apparently makes you cool? Anyways, I gathered some artists along the way that widened my interests and marked personal milestones, setbacks, and absolute lazy days. So, here we go, the music that shaped my college experience.
The Love Club – Lorde
Lorde was up and coming fast as I started college, which was perfect. It’s fun music to listen to, but also mad angsty. Likewise, starting college sounded fun, but was actually mad depressing. I consider myself extremely lucky for the friendship of the fabulous, strong, talented women I lived with freshmen year. Yet we were all miserable and it wasn’t until well into the year that we felt at all comfortable at school and able to actually appreciate each other’s company. We’d all been “severed from the people who watched us grow up” and college was nothing like we imagined. It’s fair to say no one fought to be our best friends, but between us there was a serious bond. Slowly we let others in (shoutout to the honorary 719 members…really just two guys…love you, dudes). Slowly college actually became fun.
American Boys – Mouth’s Cradle
This song is the epitome of the fun times. Around our last week of freshman year, we discovered this utterly bizarre, purely entertaining song. Lauren and I went on to get matching tattoos of lyrics from this song so I’d it was fairly significant to us.
Cocaine’s Gonna Kill Me – Damn Tall Buildings
This playlist wouldn’t be complete without DTB. Marathon Monday of our freshmen year, we discovered this Berklee band in the Common. Their raw folk sound drew us in and led us to their album release party later that week. This was maybe the only fun party of freshman year. We spent the next few years following their Boston shows and becoming—we hope not creepy—friends and fans. They were among the first people to highlight the best part of going to college in Boston: all the other universities. Over the years, I made friends from Berklee, Northeastern, New England College of Optometry and they made my experience so much richer. For whatever reason, this is my favorite DTB song, but be on the lookout. They’re deserving of endless praise.
Goddess – Banks
So sophomore year sucked, especially first semester. There’s nothing like heartbreak and hospitalization. (Take care of your tonsils, kids. College germs are foul.) I listened to a lot of depressing music then, probably a reflection of myself at the time. I wasn’t taking care of myself. I was making poor choices. I was extremely unhealthy and unhappy. So I listened to a ton of Banks. I was big on “Beggin For Thread.” “Goddess” is probably the most optimistic of the music I listened to then. A lot of what happened that year was my own fault, but this song allowed me to remove some of that guilt and see that despite everything I was still trying. It allowed me to realize that feeling small and weak didn’t make me either of those things.
Fall Short – Läpsley
Second semester was definitely better. I was abroad and, though I’d do it differently now, I wouldn’t trade that experience. But I had no idea who I was or where I belonged. I was falling short. Still, I was also getting super into pbr&b at the time and that interest in music drove me. Discovering new music I quickly became obsessed with was really fun and made the day to day genuinely enjoyable. I can’t hear this song without remembering running along Maas river in the Netherlands, and that’s a truly special memory to be able to have.
Novacane – Frank Ocean
So, I know this song came out in 2011, but I bumped to this song the summer of 2015. I was working crazy hours and missing my college friends (finally I really had some!). My life existed in coffee breaks and driving home from work or vice versa. But this was just such a chill yet hype song and as I got burnt out I felt a bit numb. And regardless of what’s going on in your life, you can’t hear the line, “cocaine for breakfast, yikes” and not chuckle. Plus, that fall my roommates and I made a friend solely because I hijacked a party playlist to put on this song.
Monster – Kanye West
The start of junior year was still a bit messy, but (generally speaking) in a more fun way. I spent a solid chunk of my time with one friend who played this song all the time. At first, I wasn’t feeling it. But, of course, I then became obsessed with it. It’s a party song, it’s a running song, it’s a crying song, it’s a chilling out song. It always reminds me of a friendship I really value and of some fantastically fun times. And then in February when I broke it off with a guy I was really falling for because feelings are scary, I did feel like a motherfucking monster.
Take Me Out – The Wooden Sky
Luckily he was able to overlook the fact that I’m a monster and fought for me. Feelings are still scary, but this has become our song and he gave me a life outside of college, one in which I’m happy and in love. Gross, I know.
Sand on the Beach – Cheap Fakes
We play it at work and I actually really enjoy my job. My first semester of college I had to take a public speaking class. It made me want to vomit and curl up into a ball. I’ve always feared public speaking, be it in front of people I’ve known a long time or a group of strangers. Obviously when I interviewed for the job of a tour guide at a brewery, I didn’t tell them this. My first few tours I was super anxious, but in time the job diminished that fear and gave me a confidence I never expected to have. Now I have a job that’s both challenging and rewarding, I work with genuinely great people, and I’m happy to say the first few months of post-grad will be spent there.
Hotline Bling – SRNO
This is an incredible, super sexy and relaxed cover of Hotline Bling. It’s also my way of saying I listened to a weird amount of pop this summer and fall. I think it’s a product of being busy. There’s not much time to discover new music and pop is easy. There was a decent amount of Sia. A little Ariana Grande. Last year—I’m having convulsions admitting this—my roommates and I blasted Bieber (I misspelled his name the first time so now I feel slightly better). We made a really cute friendsgiving dinner to it, though, so I can’t ignore it. And this fall I got really into Halsey. I think it’s disturbing that she seems to want to be Amy Winehouse on stage and all her fans are teens, but she falls in between Lorde and Lana and it actually really works. Then on the popular rap side, I listened to Chance, Kayne, and Gambino’s albums on repeat pretty consistently.
On Hold – The xx
I’m going out on my favorite band. I was thrilled to hear a new release from then and am beyond pumped for the new album. I’m finishing off school more invested in my work and personal life than my college one; I’ve “found a new star to orbit.” But I’m also beginning to realize that college has been a constant, providing me with people and lessons I seriously value, even if I’ve put some of that “on hold.” Now friends are starting and planning to disperse. It’s oddly like a breakup. But I think we’re all ready and I know we’re not actually saying goodbye.
Now that I’ve gone through this all, there may be an ounce of nostalgia. As ready as I am to be done with undergrad, I’m also surviving on the fact that I’m starting out in the “real world” not as the person I was out of high school, but instead the person I am with all of these experiences from my time in college. These are the songs that remind me of that. I hope you enjoy, I love all of you that were a part of this time, and I promise more to come!