It is pretty unusual for a Heights editor who’s left the board to have the chance to return for another semester. I definitely had expectations of what returning would be like, but learning about copy editor Olivia Joung’s emo phase—pioneered by her love for Radiohead—was an unexpected but very welcome surprise.
Although I was disappointed to find that Radiohead failed to make her playlist, Olivia’s iEdit is more than suitably emo to make up for the omission.
“Shark Smile” is the perfect introduction to Olivia’s playlist—and perhaps to her as well. The bizarre and angst-inducing intro of Big Thief’s smooth indie rock song was completely surprising based on what I thought I knew about Olivia’s music taste.
The thing with Olivia is that you may think you have her completely figured out, only for her to reveal or do something entirely unanticipated.
Picking up the energy, next on the playlist is “Lovesong” by The Cure. The lyrics speak to deep loyalty and commitment, which—not coincidentally—Olivia reflects in her own work for The Heights.
It was hard not to feel emotional whiplash as the playlist transitioned to “Forever (Sailing)” by Snail Mail. The lyrics are saturated with a deep hopelessness and sadness. You good, Olivia?
I was almost grateful to see that “Joey” by Concrete Blonde was next. Though the theme of sadness remained consistent with Olivia’s previous song, “Joey” has a more hopeful tone in certain moments.
“I’m not angry anymore,” Concrete Blonde sings.
Things get more hopeful as the playlist continues, and Olivia’s next song, “Here Comes Your Man” by the Pixies, speaks to patience being rewarded. Patience is crucial for any copy editor, and I think most editors on the board would agree with me in commending Olivia’s exceptional work ethic this past year.
I think the most surprising inclusion to the playlist is “Texas Sun” by Khruangbin and Leon Bridges. In fact, it was almost as surprising as the moment I found out Olivia went to high school literally down the street from me. “Texas Sun” may not exactly count as country, but its vibe and lyrics remind me of a long country road under the sun.
Things turn introspective again with the soft and soothing lyrics of Weyes Blood in “Andromeda.” Yet again, I’m reminded of Olivia’s emo past, something that may not come as a surprise to those who know her.
Next up is the most nostalgic song of the playlist, “If I Could Change Your Mind” by HAIM. Although the tune is rather upbeat, the lyrics reminisce about good times that have passed with that special person. The song is also tinged with regret, as the story of a girl who hopes to convince her former lover to return.
In my personal favorite addition to the playlist, “Absolute Beginners,” David Bowie remarks on his own sense of naivete as he serenades the person he cares about most. Although Bowie admits times can be hard, as long as that person remains in his life, nothing else truly matters.
How better to close out the album than with Olivia’s 10th and final selection, “Seventeen” by Sharon Van Etten. Dealing once again with nostalgia and regret, “Seventeen” provides an emotional reflection on what it was like to be 17 years old. It’s a perfect song for us college students, so fondly remembering past aspects of our lives—from having home-cooked meals every day to our pets greeting us every time we come home.
Olivia may not be the loudest member of the board, but it has been a privilege to share the copy couch with her. As demonstrated by this playlist and our most random conversations, Olivia has a lot to say, and I can’t wait to see what she has to say in the future.