Boston College students are back at school, and they’re popping in their ear buds to walk down Comm. Ave., rush to their next class, or take a stroll around the Res. Everyone needs a soundtrack that captures the hope of the new semester—or maybe just makes the commute better.
The arts editors weighed in on their playlist-making philosophies and what they’re listening to at the beginning of this semester.
How do you organize your music playlists? Do you usually make playlists depending on the season? Mood? Something else?
Katherine Canniff: I love new beginnings. I love the start of a new year, a new routine, and the excitement of new possibilities. And I’m usually looking for a new soundtrack for a new season (please refer to the opening song, “Seasons Change” by MorMor). For this playlist, I wanted to leave behind the songs that I played on repeat this past summer, so I took a deep dive into the discography of Blood Orange. That dive led me down R&B and electronic rabbit holes that gave me “Sutphin Boulevard” by Blood Orange and Dev Hynes and “Mirror” by Grace Ives. The dancing beats add haste to my daily hustle to campus.
Pat Tran: I usually organize my playlists by different genres. I have one that reminds me of the music my parents listened to when I was growing up, mostly ’90s music like The Police. Another is all the music I listened to during my first months at BC last year, which was primarily slow rock. I’ve been listening to both a lot recently because I like being reminded of where I was when I used to listen to them those first times.
Josie McNeill: I tend to organize my playlists around one song that I love. I just add the songs that come to mind when I am listening to the first one. I have a playlist based around “Wish You Were Here” by Pink Floyd that mostly has songs from the ’70s and ’80s. It feels nostalgic even though I wasn’t alive during that time.
PT: I love Pink Floyd. Anyway, I think that the most common playlists are built around moods like chill songs for the end of the day and new songs that people discover and categorize under specific months rather than seasons.
KC: Well, I’m not talking about patterns of weather. I’m talking about the seasons of life, man. And I want to be listening to “Choreomania” by Florence + The Machine while I’m running away from the library during exam season.
Have there been songs that you have been listening to on repeat in the last few weeks?
JM: All the songs on my fall playlist, such as “Ivy” by Frank Ocean and “Frances Forever” by Mitski, were on my On Repeat playlist on Spotify. There wasn’t really a theme in mine. Those are all the songs I am listening to going into fall. But I found “Lottery” by Romancer last year, and I feel like it is the perfect fall song because it talks about autumn leaves falling. I always think about it during this time.
PT: Mine doesn’t have a theme either. But really recently I’ve been listening to Arcade Fire, Interpol, and the Pixies—sort of the same sound that my own band wants to go for as our practices pick up again this semester.
KC: I think I’ve listened to “Catholic Country” by Kings of Convenience and Feist at least 2,000 times in the past couple of days. “Better Place” by The Q-Tip Bandits has also been on repeat and balances out the more mellow songs I’ve tacked on the end. They’re an indie-rock group that makes songs you can’t help but dance to with trumpet and saxophone instrumentals that shine through.
What is a favorite song you have on the playlist?
PT: My favorite song on my playlist is probably “Light My Fire” by The Doors. I feel like it’s great walking music, which, going into the semester, I have to do a lot of to get to classes from Lower Campus. There is a long, four-minute instrumental in between Jim Morrison’s singing, where the keyboardist Ray Manzarek and the guitarist Robby Krieger riff and do a lot of improv. The tempo is very walking-esque.
JM: I absolutely love “Just Like Heaven” by The Cure. It’s one of my favorite songs of all time. Listening to it always puts me in a good mood. Robert Smith also always has cool eyeliner, which is something I aspire to have.
KC: Speaking of artists whose style I’m loving and aspire to right now: Japanese Breakfast. Frontwoman Michelle Zauner is an absolute queen with a best-selling book, a world tour, and her amazing punk style. “Be Sweet” by the band was one of my favorites for the summer, but I went for an older track, “Road Head,” to close out this playlist, looking for a softer sound that’s perfect as background tunes while doing work.
What is a new song you’ve discovered?
PT: A new song I discovered was “You Know What They Do To Guys Like Us in Prison” by My Chemical Romance (MCR). I had never listened to an MCR song before this month, but that changed in preparation for its Boston show that I got tickets to. Turns out, I really love MCR. I am past my angsty teenage phase, when most people get into MCR, but it is never too late to explore more emo genres. I like how catchy the lyrics are.
JM: I never left my emo phase. MCR will always be one of my favorite bands. But a new song I discovered was “Control” by Mannequin Pussy. I’m always looking for new female-fronted punk bands to listen to, and I think Mannequin Pussy’s sound is really cool. The band mixes indie rock and punk in a way I have not really heard before.
KC: I also never left my emo phase. A little bit of emo never hurt anyone. I’ve had the magical experience of rediscovering old favorites that sound new again after not listening to them for a while. I’ve returned to Fiona Apple’s “Under The Table” to absorb her cool and I-don’t-care-what-anyone-else-thinks vibes. “Sweet Jane” by The Velvet Underground is another returning classic, and I’ve revived my obsession with “Still Feeling You” by Couch after I saw it in concert.
How does your music differ from last fall and over the years?
JM: I was really into the “Sad Girl Autumn” trope last year, but this fall I am trying to listen to more upbeat music
PT: “Sad Girl Autumn” is an interesting genre because it’s really carved out its own niche in alternative pop music but is also really mainstream at the same time.
JM: My version of Sad Girl Autumn is Nirvana and Mazzy Star with the occasional Taylor Swift song.
PT: That’s really interesting because Nirvana is the opposite of what people usually think Sad Girl Autumn music is. Personally, I have a very consistent music taste I feel like, which mostly includes weird British rock from the ’80s and ’90s like The Smiths, David Bowie, Blur, and Joy Division. But I’d say I’m definitely exploring new genres, including becoming a big fan of Metallica over the past couple years.