Magazine editor Stephen Bradley walked me through the stages of his life with a perfectly crafted playlist that makes me think that he has everything figured out.
Coming from Los Angeles, I was happy to see America’s “Ventura Highway” as the opener to Stephen’s playlist. The song makes you feel like you’re driving down the Pacific Coast Highway on a 75-degree July afternoon. While I’m not sure this is something Stephen has done as a New Jerseyan, the vibes of the song fit perfectly into any summer playlist.
I have to be honest: I was expecting a slightly more depressing experience listening to this playlist. But Stephen’s second song, “1979” by The Smashing Pumpkins, is yet another coming-of-age, feel-like-I’m-in-a-movie song.
Stephen said this playlist “encapsulates different parts of [his] personality along with different eras of [his] life.”
The first two songs certainly evoke memories of childhood and the times when Stephen’s main concern was if his mom was going to let him have a sleepover with his favorite cousin on Friday night.
You can tell we’re getting into a new era of Stephen’s life with The 1975’s “Sex.” It’s a bit of a choppy transition from two happy-go-lucky songs to a song that says, “But if we’re gonna do anything we might as well just f—.”
The transition from “Sex” to Fleetwood Mac’s classic “Never Going Back Again” is flawless: a song about sexual awakening to a breakup song about not turning back. With these selections, I could tell I was entering his teenage years.
“Float On” by Modest Mouse was simply the perfect song to follow Fleetwood Mac’s moving-on anthem.
This takes us into Elton John’s “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road.” Clearly we’re in a transitional stage in Stephen’s life as the vibes build.
Frank Sinatra comes out of left field on this playlist, but, surprisingly, he fits somehow. When I looked at Stephen’s playlist, I didn’t think I knew any of the songs, but then when I pressed play, I immediately recognized the tunes.
And I think this says something about Stephen. I just don’t know what. Maybe it’s that he’s always one step ahead of everyone else. You’re just so elusive and cool, Stephen.
As we near the end of the playlist, Stephen hits us with 4 Non Blondes’ “What’s Up.” I think in this phase of life, no one really knows what’s going on. Stephen is about to go study abroad in Paris for four months, the rest of his life is rapidly approaching. Sometimes you need to go outside and scream “What’s going on?”
Stephen labeled this playlist as “very disjointed,” but I couldn’t disagree more. Every song on this playlist flows seamlessly with the song before and after it. It’s just too good. This will not be the final time I listen to Stephen Bradley’s iEdit playlist.