Monday Playlist: 6 Songs for the First Weeks of School

I have no musical talent whatsoever. Absolutely none. I’m an awful singer and I can’t really keep a beat and although I tell myself that I look cool enough to be in a band, I probably don’t. Despite all of that, I have an insanely intense connection with melodies and chord changes and how free music can make you feel. I think it’s natural instinct, something that I was born with. You can sit through hours of music lessons or vocal coaching, but I don’t really think that you can be taught to love music with everything you have. It’s just something that exists in your soul from day one.

Since I can’t play anything, I seem to replace the hours that a musician would spend practicing with hours spent scouring the internet for new bands and old favourites. It’s a good pastime, and sometimes I end up with dozens of songs to go through. I also get attached to tracks very easily, and I have a huge need to share them with anyone who will listen. And that leads me to making 8tracks playlists and writing posts like these. School is starting up again, and although I am beyond excited to start this new chapter of my life, a little music helps to soften the blow of heading back into hours of essay-writing and researching and note-taking. These also happen to be my favourite tunes right now, so if you’re not going back to school, then I hope they will at least give you something to dance to.

  1. “Bros” by Wolf Alice

When I can be bothered to listen to anything other than The Vaccines, I’ve usually been gravitating towards Wolf Alice. I recently got around to listening to their debut record, My Love Is Cool, in full, and I can confidently say that it’s one of my favourite albums of 2015 – so far. “Bros” in particular is extremely catchy. It starts off slow and continuously builds into the kind of song that makes you want to spread your arms out really wide and run around a forest with your best friends. And that’s pretty much exactly what the song is about – finding that person that makes you feel like yourself, who knows you better than anyone and who you have an insanely close bond with. First of, the lyrics are beautiful. With lines that scream “I’ll keep you safe, you keep me strong” and murmur “You tell me all the time, I got plans,” you can’t help but be reminded of the people you’re closest to. That, combined with the soaring, bubbly pop melody, it provides an almost instant pick-me-up. It’s essentially a three minute and forty-five second dose of happiness. The track is mindless and free and extremely easy to listen to on repeat for hours on end. And I would definitely recommend doing that.

  1. “Molecules” by Atlas Genius

This song crept up on me a little bit, as Atlas Genius had pretty much fallen off the radar for me. Two years ago, their single entitled “Trojans” was a pretty big hit, but the hype died down fairly quickly. This year they released “Molecules,” and I was completely in love with it as soon as I heard it. The track starts off with a bang that doesn’t die down until the song is over. It’s steady and danceable – I’m struggling to sit here and listen to it without getting up to flail my arms around and sing along. It’s summery and fantastically catchy. It’s a lot more upbeat than the band’s previous releases, and I find it very refreshing and freeing. Sometimes you just need the perfect song that allows you to stop thinking and start dancing, and that’s exactly what this track does.

  1. “Give Me A Sign” by The Vaccines

I think it’s pretty safe to say that I pretty much cannot create a playlist without including at least one song by The Vaccines. I love this song with my whole heart – enough to get its title tattooed on my arm forever. I know I’m quite obviously biased, but think it’s incredible. To be honest, it sounds like it could probably be sung by One Direction, but for some odd reason, I love that. It’s a pop ballad that starts slow and builds and builds until the chorus comes bearing down on you with harsh drum beats and the smoothest vocals you’ve ever heard. In my opinion, Justin is at his peak in this song – his voice is strong and rich and he delivers every lyric with the perfect use of emotion. The verses are soft and subtle, but the chorus is powerful and in your face in the best way possible. The melody changes with ease, and the small guitar solos are well-placed. It’s an insanely dynamic and engaging song and listening to it feels almost like being transported to another world. If you listen to any song on this playlist, please let it be this one. I mean, who wouldn’t want to take four minutes out of their day just to be able to yell “give me a sign” at the top of their lungs?

  1. “People Have the Power” by Patti Smith

At this point there’s no use in trying to hide my intense love and admiration for Patti Smith and her work. I discovered this song a few months ago while scouring the internet for protest songs, because that’s the kind of thing I do in my spare time, and I felt an immediate attachment to it. It’s a track that carries a lot of weight and importance. It’s inspiring and uplifting and it provides a sense of reassurance every time I listen to it. It serves as a beautiful reminder of what we’re all capable of. With all of the horrific events that are occurring in the world, from the Syrian refugee crisis to missing and murdered Aboriginal women to police brutality, it’s important that we remember the power that each individual holds, as well as our extreme potential when we join forces. Although this song is over twenty-five years old, its message is still one hundred percent relevant today, and I’ll keep listening to it until it loses that relevance.

  1. “Blank Generation” by Richard Hell and the Voidoids

The most important thing about this song is that it makes me feel like a moody, dissatisfied, angst-filled teenager, and sometimes I like feeling like that. I like playing this track and staring blankly into the distance, singing along in disgust and imagining what Richard Hell would have looked like spewing the words into the dirty mike at CBGBs. The song is classic. It was the anthem for a group of kids who felt like outsiders, out of place with nowhere to go. It’s sultry and steady and foggy, like you’re listening to it through a cloud of smoke. The name alone gives off an unsatisfied vibe, although the track is full and effortlessly performed and leaves the listener feeling anything but that. Needless to say I like it a lot. It makes me feel cool and it’s a good song for walking across campus like a badass. Just listen to it.

  1. “Delilah” by Florence + the Machine

Oh, Florence, how I love thee. This song is freedom, pure and simple. It’s airy and it can’t be contained and it’s extremely hard not to love. This band is doing everything perfectly right now, and “Delilah” is no exception. It instills power in the listener and it’s captivating and it makes you feel like you could move mountains or tear a black hole into the universe. The melody changes feeling and emotion as the song progresses, drawing you ever closer to the lyrics and the feelings expressed through the music. It is absolute perfection. It makes you feel limitless and filled with passion and opportunity. It’s also one of those remarkably catchy tunes that allows you to let go of everything and get lost in the sounds streaming through your speakers, no matter how idiotic it makes you look. I’m not sure that there’s anything better than that. This track makes everything feel good.

Although summer is over and it’s time to get back to class, I find that music is always the best companion. I’ m completely obsessed with every single one of these tracks, and there is no doubt that they will be on repeat as I brave the new school year. I hope that they will instill some happiness and emotion in you, and if not, then I hope you have your own favourite tunes that do exactly that.

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