Bob Dylan lightly picks at his guitar, and the first few notes of “Don’t Think Twice, It’s All Right” fall gently on his listener’s ears. His voice is comfortable and intimate, singing about love and loss and everything in between.
It’s a fitting opening song for Julia Kiersznowski, a seemingly wholesome girl from Kansas and special projects editor at The Heights. Dylan’s familiar crooning sets the thoughtful tone for the playlist, which weaves through pop and folk and, surprisingly, only contains one Taylor Swift track.
Despite Dylan’s soft strumming, a listener should not expect to finish any of these songs feeling good—about themselves, their relationships, or life in general. An unexpected amount of angst permeates the tracklist, as evident in FINNEAS’ “Only a Lifetime,” where he pleads for gratitude and clarity about the meaning of life.
The Wrecks’ “Freaking Out” continues this concerning pattern, as it begins with its narrator lying on the bathroom floor staring at a picture of Kanye West.
In “First Class,” Rainbow Kitten Surprise’s distinctive vocals and energetic guitar take its listeners on a near-six-minute-long journey, as the narrator dares his significant other to take a closer look at their tumultuous relationship.
And you’re only on track two. “First Class” is followed by The Lumineers’ melancholic “Slow It Down” and Lucy Dacus’ biting breakup anthem “Brando.” Both incredible songs. Both with the potential to send the listener into a spiral about past failed relationships.
The only time Julia veers from her pop and folk roots is with 070 Shake’s “Guilty Conscience,” but the more upbeat venture doesn’t last very long. As the synthesizers fade into silence, “Freaking Out” comes in swinging, and the listener is pushed aggressively back into the depths of melancholy.
Caroline Manning brings the playlist to a close with “I Walked These Streets in November,” a hopeful and meditative track guided by Manning’s airy strumming of a ukulele. It’s the most upbeat song on the list and a satisfying way to reflect on the emotional turmoil of the nine tracks before it.
The raison-d’être of the iEdit series is to narrow down one’s extensive library of albums and playlists to 10 tracks that you could listen to for the rest of your life. Julia’s iEdit had a wholesome start and a wholesome end, with a bit of heartbreak, romance, and frustration in between.
It’s an apt metaphor for college—for the thrill of freshman year friendships, the emotional tumult of watching a Boston College football game, and wine-drunk conversations with your roommates about failed relationships. It’s for all the conflicting emotions of senior year, for life as we’ve known it, and what we know it can be.
I’ll make sure to shuffle these 10 tracks the next time Julia and I are stumbling home from The Circle at 2 a.m., the lights of the last Comm. Ave bus fading in the distance. Not that we’ve done that before, but just in case.