Arts, iEdit

iEdit: Josie McNeill Reflects on The Passage of Time in Melancholic Playlist

It is no secret that arts editor and WZBC member Josie McNeill has a special affinity for music. I remember finding Josie’s Spotify account last semester by stalking The Heights’ Spotify following list, and although I don’t follow people on the app unless they’ve followed me first, Josie was an exception. I was intrigued by her playlist-making habits. 

Some Sundays ago, Josie came to production and one of the first things she asked me was if I had listened to the new song by The Strokes, “What Ever Happened?” As an avid fan of the alt-rock band, I sat up in my chair excitedly and exchanged a few words about my favorite lines.

Josie starts her playlist with this intensely emotional song, which is basically composed of Julian Casablancas’ non-stop screaming and begging for some understanding.

“I wanna be beside her / She wanna be admired,” Casablancas sings complainingly, trying to justify the incompatibility between him and a certain love interest. 

Despite his inability, or perhaps unwillingness, to fulfill his partner’s wishes, Casablancas later screams in a painful realization that she has moved on sooner than him.

“You don’t miss me,” Casablancas sings in an angry tone, then immediately after, in a hopeless tone rather than a condemning one, he adds, “I know.”

The track is meant to be loud and chaotic to represent Casablancas’ catharsis. In this way, Josie kicks off her playlist by waking up the listener’s senses and preparing them for what’s to come. 

The song that follows is Joe P’s “Don’t Wanna Love U.” Again, the song centers on the artist’s acknowledgment of a toxic or impossible relationship, but Joe P shares his tendency to linger on the memories and pieces his lover provides. 

At this point in the playlist, I started to see a common theme, one about conflicted intentions toward a special someone.

What follows is “Lazy Eye” by Silversun Pickups. It is a mostly ambiguous song that centers on the singer fixating on someone they shouldn’t be looking at, but cannot avoid looking at because of their “lazy eye.”

Although this may sound sad, the next track left me with a deeper feeling of unease. “I Don’t Know You Like I Used To” by Mercury is a song about a relationship that had no closure, but it also highlights the passage of time and everything it takes away from people.

“The time is passin’ like the scenes out of the window of my car / I didn’t realize it would move so fast and now you look so far / And I don’t know you as I used to,” lead singer Maddie Kerr sings.

As Josie ends her journey at Boston College, the inescapable feeling of time running out overarches her playlist.

This idea is reflected again on the sixth track, “Sport Mode” by The Sewing Club.

“Don’t you think it is miserable? / Keeping everything inside? / I’ve been waiting for a miracle,” Hannah McElroy sings in this mellow track. 

To pick up the playlist’s mood, Josie places “Canary Islands” by Goth Babe as her eighth track. The song has a danceable beat, but if you focus on the lyrics, the same theme becomes present.

“You know that I’ve had this feeling / Weather’s changing and it’s getting too cold / You know that this is the way to my heart / We’ll sleep on a sailboat / And cry until we get real old,” Goth Babe sings, contrasting the song’s upbeat melody. 

As the fall semester comes to an end and the weather becomes cooler, it is hard not to get down about the idea that we won’t be able to revisit certain memories. 

From a quick glance at Josie’s playlist, I did not expect it to be so consistently thematic. A deeper look at her tracks’ lyrics suggests that Josie is being haunted by the inevitable end of an important stage of her life and things that did not resolve themselves.

Adding on to this idea stands the rock track “Set Me Up” by Bluphoria, a song that expresses the singer’s search for clarity about a relationship that has ended. 

Although it is uncertain if Josie is reminiscing on a past relationship with a special someone, it is certain she is nearing the end of a very special relationship: her direct connection with BC. 

After finishing listening to this playlist, I could not help but think about my own college career and the little time that is left. This is a playlist that I’ll definitely come back to once I’m in Josie’s shoes.

November 21, 2023