by Molly Mitchell/Lion Staff
It was a couple months ago when I was road tripping with the ‘rents, sitting in the backseat with my earphones in, on full volume might I add, so I didn’t have to listen to them pelt questions about college at me. (In their defense, I didn’t end up making my final decision until about four hours before the deposit was due.)
I shuffled through my saved songs on my Spotify, and as the rain poured down while my dad creeped across I-75, I exemplified teen angst, as I rested my head against the foggy window, with my eyes following the blur of green that passed to my right every second.
And it was when these songs played that I realized that I actually am going to miss car rides with my parents, as well as many other mundane things that I constantly take for granted. It was also then when I decided to put all of these songs together, among many others, and make a playlist called “nostalgia.”
So as my farewell to newspaper, high school, and all that came with it, here’s a first and last playlist from yours truly:
“Banana Pancakes” by Jack Johnson
“Banana Pancakes” appeared as the third track on Jack Johnson’s album In Between Dreams, and is what I would refer to as one of his more well-known songs. It is just a kind of silly, feel good tune that makes people want to sing along. While the actual topic of the song reminds me of Saturday mornings as a kid when I would make waffles with my dad, I also think about when my older brother would drive me around with all the windows down, blasting Jack Johnson and the Red Hot Chili Peppers. Ever since then, Jack has remained one of my favorite musicians, because of his music obviously, but also because of his work to preserve the environment. He donates all of the money he gets from touring to eco-friendly charities and programs that support art and music education. I got to see him live for the second time this past September, and it was probably one of my favorite shows I’ve been to. We ended up being like 3rd row, and while he played all of the classics, he also performed songs off his most recent album, All the Light Above It Too, which he released in September, and I highly recommend giving it a listen.
“Ivy” by Frank Ocean
It’s kind of funny, talking about nostalgia and including Frank Ocean on this list, because his first album was called Nostalgia, Ultra. And while that was before I really considered myself a Frank fan, I think that there are elements in many of his songs from his most recent albums that can make the listener feel undeniably nostalgic. For some reason, whenever I listen to Frank Ocean I immediately think of two things: Vine (the app of 6 second video clips) and Chris Ocana (the 2018 SGA president). One of the first Vines I ever watched was the little boy with the potato on a string, mis-singing the lyrics to Frank Ocean’s popular song, “Thinkin Bout You,” off his 2012 album Channel Orange, chanting “A potato flew around my room…” Additionally, I just remember sitting next to Chris in AmStud last year, and many of our conversations were about Frank Ocean, both his music and his persona. His song “Ivy,” off of his 2016 album Blonde, alludes to youth and innocence, but also contains references to more mature topics. And with the lyrics, “You ain't a kid no more / We'll never be those kids again,” it’s hard not to feel some type of way.
“Home” by Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros
“Home” is a feel good, sweet sort of song, with the message that home is not a physical place, but rather in the people you spend time with is where you find a home. One of my favorite parts about this song is the bridge, which is a dialogue between Alex Ebert and Jade Castrinos, who were the lead singers and also a couple at the time, and Alex tells her about the moment he fell in love with her, “While you were sitting in the back seat smoking a cigarette / you thought was gonna be your last, I was falling deep, deeply / in love with you, and I never told you till just now!” Even though the two aren’t together anymore, I still associate it with such purity, as a fourth grader hearing that for the first time. I also had a major crush on Alex Ebert, the lead singer, for a while, and I actually got to live out my middle school dream of seeing him live at Shaky Knees Music Festival in 2014. “Home” is the sixth track off of their 2010 album Up From Below, and if you’re having trouble with making yourself try and feel nostalgic, or anything, I would give this entire album a listen.
“American Teen” by Khalid
This song is about, you guessed it, being a teenager in America. It was off of the new and upcoming artist, Khalid’s, EP that came out last March, also entitled American Teen. Khalid is a 20 year old artist and while he is actually from Georgia, he’s grown up in El Paso, Texas. A lot of Khalid’s music focuses on the idea of youth and innocence, hence some of the titles of his other songs, like “8TEEN” and “Young, Dumb, and Broke.” It’s got a pretty good beat, and another reason I put it on here is since his album was released in March, his songs played a lot throughout the summer, and for me, last summer was one full of happy memories. I also just think that this was the whole point of the song: being a teenager and just enjoying life with little responsibility.
“Yesterday” by The Beatles
Of course I had to include a Beatles song in here, for many reasons. One being that I wrote my junior year term paper about their influence on America (and me). And many of my friends and people around me know me for being a Beatlemaniac. The most covered song in recording history, “Yesterday,” was released on their 1965 album Help! and is a sweet song about a breakup, with an even better melody. For a belated sixteenth birthday present, my mom and I flew out to DC two summers ago to see Paul McCartney, as I bought the tickets off of eBay three days before the show. They were floor seats, and he played a 33 song set, with an additional 5 song encore. I can distinctly remember a few of the songs he performed, like “Something” when he said “This one’s for Georgie” in his British accent, or when he explained how the idea for “Being for the Benefit of Mr. Kite!” came directly from an old circus poster in John’s old bedroom. But “Yesterday” stuck out, as it was the first song of his encore, and being the first song individually recorded by a Beatle (while they were still together), it was the only moment where things would’ve been the same 50 years ago at a Beatles concert: just McCartney and his acoustic guitar.
“Mary Jane’s Last Dance” by Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers
I felt like it was only appropriate to include a Tom Petty song on here, as he just passed away this past October, and his songs have contributed greatly to the soundtrack of my life thus far. Besides its musically satisfying sequence of notes, one of the reasons I like the song “Mary Jane’s Last Dance” is because even though the song has a deeper and more mature meaning, I personally think that any person could listen and hear a song about a young girl who wants to get out of a town. Another, more practical, reason is because something that you are likely to hear often during your senior year, is pretty much anything along the lines of “live in the moment,” since you might not have the opportunity to do some things again. Well, even though this was last spring and I wasn’t a senior yet, this reigned true. Tom Petty came to Atlanta and for some reason that I can’t even remember, I couldn’t go. And the fact that I don’t even remember the reason just goes to show how insignificant it was. So my personal piece of advice for your senior year, and life, is that whenever an artist you really like comes to your city, you should splurge and see them, because you don’t know when your next opportunity will come, and like my this case, it won’t. And for the most part, I think I’ve done a pretty good job of that, which my bank account can certainly attest to, as I have seen the majority of the artists on this list in concert.