Freshman year was a pretty light and fun time. I was thriving in a new environment and excited to meet new people everyday. My freshman year playlist reflected that summer party-like tone. This list’s order doesn’t really reflect how much I like the songs now, rather how they connected with me as a freshman (or first-year for my Evergreen friends).
Number 10: Medicine (The 1975)
Kicking of the list is a track that does not exactly go with the core theme of fun and excitement that defined my freshman year, but everyone needs that a relaxing down-time song. This 1975 single often helped cure my constant insomnia and put my racing mind to rest. The synth driven ballad also worked perfectly as background when I was having trouble focusing on a paper.
Number 9: Goldrushed (The Royal Concept)
The Royal Concept produced a laid back song that also managed to have energy in its slower pace. Goldrushed’s percussion beats the tone into the track as the guitar provides a playful little bit of picking. A lazy Sunday song if I have ever heard one. The track helped to clear my head when schoolwork began to pile up.
Number 8: Rollercoaster (Bleachers)
Another song with an incredibly memorable opening drum roll that bursts the tack into life by unleashing the synths, guitars, and a solid bass line. Rollercoasters opts for reserved verses and a perfect summer-loving chorus in both lyrical content and a bouncy synth and guitar race. This track brings me back to dancing carefree in the middle of my new classmates with someone I had never spoken to; something I could never imagine myself doing in high school.
Number 7: Rearview (Bad Suns)
The perfect song for when I was feeling homesick, the final track of Bad Suns’ album ‘Language and Perspective’ fields one of the most memorable bass openings I have ever heard, even rivaling “Seven Nation Army’s” iconic intro. Following an up and down lone bass intro, Miles Morris turns out a playful percussion beat as sporadic keyboards soothe you into relaxation. In addition to curing my homesickness at times, the song also helped me to keep my head forward and put the past in the rearview mirror.
Number 6: Dreaming (Smallpools)
A favorite of mine from FIFA, where I discover a lot of the music you’ll see in the future, the indie-pop quartet (now a trio) provided the fantastic debut album, “Lovetap!” The band’s most popular song, ‘Dreaming’ hits listeners with a duet of synth and keyboard right from the get go. This song sends me back to hanging out at my friends’ room and playing Xbox, watching TV, or just excitedly discovering that we had so much in common.
Number 5: For Baltimore (All Time Low)
Going to school in the city that my current favorite band grew up in was already pretty fun and then they went and wrote a song about the fast and fun times they had there. An in and out, methodically paced opening guitar coupled with Alex’s lullaby tone open the track. Gaskarth breaks the day-dreamy intro with an excited: “BUT I CARRY ON!” The track absolutely lets loose and becomes a year-defining chorus for me; capturing the innocence and optimism of my first year on my own.
Number 4: Shut up and Dance (Walk the Moon)
Easily the band’s most recognized song, “Shut Up and Dance” decided to take pop music back to a time when pop music was fun: the eighties! “Don’t you dare look back, just keep your eyes on me!” again reminds me that I was looking for a fresh start in my freshman year. This song is pure, unadulterated happiness and excitement for the future and finding “the one.” I’m pretty sure I played this song at every party where I had control of the music (and even some where I didn’t…).
Number 3: Sex (The 1975)
From the first time I heard the soaring opening guitar on this song, I knew it would become one of my favorite songs ever. Matt Healy’s beautifully confused lyrics and delivery perfectly fit a song about the fears of inadequacy and self-loathing from a teenage boy. Jealousy and paranoid delusion hadn’t manifested itself in such a powerful way since Mr. Brightside did it (to every “woo-girl’s” drunken pleasure). The song’s instrumentals convey the feeling of desperation and pressure (fitting for college) better than any song I’ve ever heard. The 1975’s magnum opus, this song embodies the feeling of wanting what you can’t have.
Number 2: Anna Sun (Walk the Moon)
Oh to be young, broke, and in love. I remember hearing this song blasting through the humid early May air on the field between my dorm, Dorothy Day, and Butler. The dream-like sound of the song’s final pre-chorus serving as the perfect soundtrack as I sat up on my picnic blanket, watching my classmates and friends playing Kan Jam and barbecuing. The lyrics: “We’ve got no money, but we’ve got our hearts,” remind me that the best things in life are free; a sentiment I’ll have to remember going into the “real world” next year.
Number 1: No Story Time (Smallpools)
“Don’t you leave me alone, don’t you let go.” Those lyrics remind me of how appreciative I was to have such amazing new friends and how much I wanted them to remain a part of my life for a long time. The opening conjures up thoughts of driving to the beach with my best friends with a light guitar tune. The chorus is absolutely mentally freeing, giving an ode to friends and the subtle fear of losing what you have. I can still remember belting out this song with my friends over in Butler Hall one last time before I left for summer.
Thanks for reading through my long-winded ramblings about music and memories! Make sure to check out a few of these songs. They make for a great summer playlist.