iEdit, Arts

iEdit: Sophia Maher’s Playlist Contemplates the Beauty and Uncertainty of the Future

Does anyone else cry on their birthday? It’s happened to me. 

I love my birthday, but recently, the passing of another year is about more than my favorite chocolate pie and the blue bike I wanted. It comes with rising pressure to figure out who I am. 

After listening to her iEdit, I know Heights associate multimedia editor Sophia Maher also has strong feelings about getting older. 

The playlist starts with Yellow House’s “Love in the Time of Socialism”—a song I had never heard before. It immediately transported me to a lonely windowsill wondering about the chance of being happier elsewhere. A softly strumming guitar and seamless harmonies suggest that it doesn’t matter where you are if you have the people you love with you. 

The slow, sentimental theme song vibes continue with “Acolyte” by Slaughter Beach, Dog, and “Midnight” by Toby Sebastian featuring Florence Pugh. In these two songs, there’s an enduring feeling of restlessness and young love.

“We could fly to Ireland / You know I’m good for the ticket,” frontman Jake Ewald sings in “Acolyte.” 

Sophia happens to be Irish and loves to travel. This playlist is a peek into the heart of someone who really cares about the people around her, making a difference, and having fun. 

The next song, “Love & War in Your Twenties” by Jordy Searcy, feels a little on the nose based on the title but actually signifies a shift in the mood of the playlist, taking a more upbeat direction with strong drum beats throughout the chorus that make you want to sing along. 

The energy continues when the opening notes of Queen’s “’39” begin to play, and I knew I was listening to a song I would play again. An upright bass and soaring classic rock vocals turn this folk song into an emotional and musically unique anthem with lyrics worth Googling.

One of only two songs I recognized when I first looked at the playlist, Noah Kahan’s “Northern Attitude,” plays on the theme of growing up in a cold, Northeastern winter and the feeling of time slipping away. 

I imagine Sophia might relate to this song on different levels. We both grew up in Massachusetts suburbs and trudged through frigid winter months in the plaid skirts of our all-girls high school. It could be that she relates to woodsy winter imagery, that she can understand the lyrics that reference the highs and lows that come with transitions in life, or she might just love how instrumentals build up to the powerful chorus of this song. 

A song that takes our playlist in a happie direction is “Valerie” by Amy Winehouse—a favorite on The Heights. Interweaving drums, guitar, and saxophone behind soulful sing-along lyrics give us a little bit of hope in the love we were searching for at the beginning of the playlist. 

“Freakin’ Out on the Interstate” by Briston Maroney leads into the phase of this playlist that feels fitting for driving around aimlessly and screaming at the top of your lungs. It’s a strong alternative rock sound and the conclusion that we all deserve love no matter who we are. 

Bleachers’ “Chinatown (featuring Bruce Springsteen)” is one that Sophia hasn’t just sung in the car—she has jumped up and down to the song with her friends at a concert and associates it with a lot of happy memories. For Sophia, this American indie track and some other favorite songs represent finding the people you love and celebrating that. 

The journey ends fittingly with Annie DiRusso’s “20,” an indie rock ballad with clear, honest vocals that covers the joys and growing pains of entering a new decade. 

“I’m still 20 and have no idea what’s going on, but I’m here for the journey,” Sophia said in agreement with the song.

The use of the word “still” in that sentence is a chance to rethink how we view aging: We’re not “already” 20 and running out of time—we’re “still” 20 and have a whole lot of life left to live. 

Sophia, your future will be as bright and beautiful and full of love as you are.

November 6, 2022