For the frankly criminal amount of time we’ve both spent sitting on the same blue couch in the Heights office over the past semester, I still do not know fellow copy editor Gabe Wallen very well.
So, going into writing his iEdit—nearly two months after associate news editor Amy Palmer signed us up to write each other’s in order to, in her words, “force copy bonding”—I felt as unprepared as ever.
As it turns out, though, being unprepared was an ideal mindset to have as I embarked on listening to this playlist, as nothing could have made me ready for the unexpected turns Gabe’s playlist takes.
Gabe kicks off his 10 songs with “Changes” by David Bowie, a classic both in and out of Mac 113 as well as a subtle nod to his British roots. As Gabe nears the end of his time at Boston College and on The Heights, I found this song to be a fitting choice—one that captures the joys of youth while also confidently celebrating the “changes” that the future brings.
The next two songs—“All Night Long (All Night)” by Lionel Richie and “City of Blinding Lights” by U2—continue this theme of living in the present while also nostalgically revisiting the past. The latter particularly resembles the kind of song you’d hear playing over the closing credits of a coming-of-age movie.
But Gabe takes no time to laugh at my foolish hubris for thinking I had already deciphered the theme of his entire playlist when the jarring fourth song “When the Levee Breaks” by Led Zeppelin starts to play.
The band’s signature lengthy guitar intro delivers quite the musical whiplash after the soft, gentle notes of the U2 track before it. The shift abruptly lets the listener know that the introspective, John Hughes–esque songs are over and that the edgy, dive-bar, hard rock part of Gabe’s playlist has officially begun.
Following Led Zeppelin’s song are “Tears Dry On Their Own” by Amy Winehouse, “Grounds for Divorce” by Elbow, and “Live Forever” by Oasis—all songs that feature varying levels of early 2000s angst and frustration (trying to tell us something, Gabe?). “Tears Dry On Their Own,” in particular, reflects this sentiment, with Winehouse’s trademark raspiness beautifully delivering lyrics of bitter heartbreak.
“We coulda never had it all / We had to hit a wall / So this is inevitable withdrawal,” Winehouse sings.
Gabe’s final three tracks start with Pink Floyd’s “Wish You Were Here,” a poignant song about separation and loss. It is a favorite of mine as well.
Immediately after is the auditory chaos of “By the Way” by the Red Hot Chili Peppers, which I can’t help but interpret as Gabe’s way of reluctantly acknowledging his true origins as a Southern Californian despite his “completely authentic” British accent. Saying this as a native of the godforsaken state myself, you can only run from California for so long—it’s only a matter of time before it takes hold of you.
Gabe closes out his playlist with the song “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road” by Elton John, a return to the wistfulness and sentimentality of the first three tracks.
“Oh, I’ve finally decided my future lies / Beyond the yellow brick road,” John sings.
With the end of the year—as well as my time as a copy editor alongside Gabe—swiftly approaching, the song’s optimistic lyrics hit close to home, reminding me of the hopeful uncertainty of what lies ahead and providing a satisfying end to one rollercoaster ride of a playlist.