Curated Collection: The Back to School Playlist

Renee King, Contributing Writer

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The school year has already commenced, and for new students especially, the culture shock is probably still setting in. Homesickness, loneliness and the adjustment to tiring class schedules are all a part of the move-in experience, at least for the first few weeks.

But don’t worry, college is supposed to be fun! These songs are motivational, a reminder that you are not alone, and the embodiment of all the good things that will happen over the course of the year: Making new friends, exploring the surroundings and gaining determination.

 

#1: of Montreal – “Suffer for Fashion”

 

A track for the weirder set of ears, “Suffer for Fashion” is the fast-paced psychedelic pop carnival that opens Of Montreal’s 2007 album, “Hissing Fauna, Are You the Destroyer?” Written about keeping one’s family and friends bound together, it is an endlessly entertaining insight into juggling life and responsibility. “We’ve got to keep our little clique clicking at 130 B.P.M., it’s not too slow,” lead singer Kevin Barnes writes, “If we’ve got to burn out, let’s do it together.” Sonically, it is just as overwhelming as its lyrical themes. Feeling overwhelmed is normal though, and with our packs of important people, old and new, it begins to feel more fun.

 

#2: The White Stripes -“We’re Going to Be Friends”

 

“We’re Going to Be Friends” is the classic “back to classes” song for plenty of alternative rock listeners. Unlike the greater part of the White Stripes’ blues rock-influenced discography, it is primarily acoustic, and an easy listen for fans and all casual listeners. Jack White pens a heartfelt — cute, even — ode to meeting people from the perspective of giddy elementary school kids on the playground. It harkens a sort of nostalgia for youth that plenty of college students might feel, but it is also a reminder that these emotions should be carried on through this new experience. After all, it feels much more pure that way.

 

#3: Japandroids – “The House That Heaven Built”

 

Canadian indie rockers Japandroids created a modern anthem with their electrifying “The House That Heaven Built.” It is built wall-to-wall with powerful guitars, echoing stadium chants and the same gusto of legends such as Bruce Springsteen. It is a workout jam as much as it is an emotional song to jump to in the mosh pit. The chorus, with its sense of confidence in oneself and others, is completely life-affirming. “When they love you, and they will, tell ‘em all they’ll love in my shadow. And if they try to slow you down, tell ‘em all to go to hell.”

 

#4: Jeff Rosenstock – “Blast Damage Days”

 

Long Island punk legend Jeff Rosenstock delivers a healthy amount of “big friend energy” on this shimmering, punchy, three-minute song. Rosenstock alludes to our existence in the “binge-watching age,” where anxiety about our future reigns and people have to rely on each other to get through it (“When our towns fall to the ground, oh, it won’t shatter me and you”). Sure, student loans and textbook prices are scary for now, but somebody that you meet in school is bound to empathize with you. It is a pact: if you can survive college together, you can survive anything.

 

#5: Lorde – “Perfect Places”

 

A recent favorite from Lorde’s Melodrama, “Perfect Places” encapsulates the bittersweet nature of growing up – the loud parties, the wild drives home, the yearning for new and exciting experiences – into a wholesome pop song. In fact, the record’s title sums it up: poignant, overly emotional and glittering with hope. Its triumphant chorus sounds like it was ripped straight from the trailer of a 21st century coming-of-age movie. Even though she feels invincible, she still makes mistakes, but for the moment it does not bother her. She is dead set on finding those perfect places, because she is 19 and on fire.

 

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