Whether it’s coming along to the airport on short notice to welcome a Turkish political leader to the United States or beginning his Sundays with me at Kupel’s Bakery—our favorite Brookline bagel shop—assistant arts editor Pat Tran’s composed curiosity shines through in the adventures he seeks day in and day out. His playlist reflects just that.
Pat’s playlist starts with “There Is a Light That Never Goes Out” by The Smiths. The song feels like one that would be played at the beginning of a television show as the camera pans over the cast members and sets the stage for what’s to come.
This song is the beginning of a day in the life of Pat as he hops in his Acura and goes for a cruise around his South Boston neighborhood of Dorchester, living out the lyrics “take me anywhere I don’t care.”
Continuing his affinity for The Smiths, “Still III” and “Nowhere Fast” bring out Pat’s longing for new ideas and places to explore, and remind me of Pat’s calm and even-keeled demeanor. Every now and then, he reminds me to take life just a little bit easier.
“We cannot cling to the old dreams anymore,” The Smiths sing in “Still III”.
The Smiths’ lyrics make me think of how some people try to rush through life thinking they’re always two steps behind. Pat, on the other hand, takes a step back and envisions the full picture of life when not all of us can.
“Love Will Tear Us Apart,” Pat’s fourth song, foreshadows a relevant shift in the playlist as Pat moves from alternative to rock.
“We’re changing our ways, taking different roads,” Joy Division sings.
Pat’s interest in the ’80s shines not just in his provocative clothing style, but also through his musical choices, as these first four songs exhibit.
“Kill the Poor” by Dead Kennedys marks a fast-paced turn in the playlist. With heavy guitar chords and strong lyrics, the song reflects Pat’s busy schedule as a researcher at a BC lab and his balancing of academics and work for The Heights. Perhaps Pat listens to this forceful song to find the drive to get him through it all.
The relaxed melody and guitar strokes of “In Dreams” by Ray Orbison and “Mind Frame” by Twin Peaks sound like the type of music I’d hear if I walked into one of the many record stores Pat explored during his quest to find The Soft Bulletin by The Flaming Lips. Listening to these two songs, I envision Pat reflecting on all he has done so far in his life and what’s to come—dreams that will become realities and a myriad of adventures to embark on.
“Taste the Ceiling” by Wilco reflects Pat’s relaxed inquisitiveness with friendships and relationships, while encapsulating the idea that adventures need not be wild or out of control. Rather, they can be calm, composed, and understood through self-reflection.
The final two songs “Father of Mine” by Everclear and “In the Aeroplane Over the Sea” by Neutral Milk Hotel bring the playlist to a calm and fitting end. The songs weave together a message of living in the moment by remembering the finite amount of time we have.
“Then he walked away,” echoes as Everclear’s song comes to a close.
And one day, we’ll all have to walk away—from The Heights, from BC, and from life itself. But until then, Pat can keep making playlists like this one—and I’ll keep listening.