Boston College students have arrived for fall semester and brought with them all their anxieties, their excitement, and their homesickness. Despite coming from all over the country and the globe, many BC students follow a few themes in curating their fall playlists, especially when it comes to dealing with the emotions that come with this new beginning.
In the name of research, I surveyed BC students, asking members of the club Avid Listeners of BC and stopping passersby in front of O’Neill Library about the songs that they have been listening to so far this semester and why they picked them. Their answers revealed a variety of tastes, feelings, and patterns shared between students.
The result is a Spotify playlist as chaotic as the start of the year itself.
By far the most common reason for listening to songs was for a sense of relaxation that’s subsided since the more carefree days of summer. The start of the year is a stressful time, between classes and reconnecting with friends, and some students use music to unwind in their free time.
“Evergreen” by Yebba, “The Heart of Worship” by Matt Redman, “Warm” by Dre’es, and “The Commission” by CAIN are a few of the chill songs that many students are leaning on. If you had professors that breezed over the syllabus on the first day and each due date will come with an element of surprise, these songs may help you keep your cool.
Some other students’ songs satisfy their nostalgia or ease their homesickness. Some students live 10 minutes from school, but others are across the country or even the world. They miss family, friends from high school, or even just a bed that’s more comfy than the school-issued twin XL in their dorm.
Those feelings are tough to shake, and sometimes letting the nostalgia or sadness wash over is the best way to feel better. Some of the songs that remind students of home are “I Am California” by John Craigie, “Burn, Burn, Burn” by Zach Bryan, “West Coast” by DVBBS and Quinn XCII, and “Start Right Here” by Casting Crowns.
These songs won’t magically send you home, but maybe they’ll help you come to terms with all the changes in your life.
The start of the year isn’t all stress and sadness though. There’s excitement for new possibilities and happiness that comes with the new semester, including the spirit of game days. The songs that capture the feeling of football victory for students are “Yes Sir” by Chief Keef, “Off the Grid” by Kanye West, “Verona” by Muse, and “Little Wing” by Jimi Hendrix.
We could all use a few more happy songs, and a few songs I’ve been listening to recently are “The Drunk” by Kiltro, “Dance Now” by JID and Kenny Mason, and “Watermelon” by Leo Kottke. These songs really capture a lot of my excitement going into my senior year.
Students are pulling from the depths of music history to more modern hits to curate their playlists. Everything from The Beatles and David Bowie to Maggie Rogers and Kanye West bring together these snapshots of hopes and musical moods of the semester.
Students are going through a multitude of emotions at the start of the semester, and music is one of the best ways they cope with the bad and celebrate the good.