Like many people, I enjoy listening to music. So much so, in fact, that I occasionally dabble in creating my own playlists of particularly good tunes that I might like to listen to together. I might find a mood I’m in, or a genre that I’d like to explore, and I’ll put together a list of songs: some are short, with only 20 or 25 songs, and some sprawling hundreds of songs long. All of them come to me at a time when I need them most.
One of my shortest playlists, at only 17 songs long, is called “C H I C A G O,” and it’s about, shockingly, my hometown of Chicago. The songs here remind me of home, and I’ll play this list often when I am headed home for a break – just as I’ll be tomorrow, as I fly into O’Hare for Spring Break. Tunes like Frank Sinatra’s “My Kind of Town” and Aliotta Haynes Jeremiah’s “Lake Shore Drive” pump up my mood and are just magical to listen to as I fly over downtown before landing. Don’t get me wrong – I could write love odes to Baltimore and the home I’ve found here, but something about Chicago is magical to me. Come snow, come heat, come nearly-tornado-force winds, the answer to “where are you from” for me, will always be Chicago.
Others of my playlists definitely fit a calmer mood for me, for example my “70s Chill” vibe. I think folk rock from the 1970’s has a wonderful sense of melancholy that fits best when I’m doing some reading for a class on a Sunday morning. It’s quiet enough that I can stay focused, and pleasant enough that on a tired evening or early morning, I can sit and listen in peace. I don’t have to work very hard while listening to this music, and I can pay respect to one of my favorite musicians, Carole King (who graces the cover of the playlist).
Others still are playlists of solely my favorite artists, and my favorite songs by those artists, in particular the Italian group Il Volo, one of my favorite ladies ever, Lana Del Rey, and especially my favorites, the Beatles. The Beatles, I’ve been listening to a lot, since I recently discovered a 28-hour audio-only podcast/documentary of their entire careers. I’m only on about hour 9 or 10, but that’s been an interesting break in my podcast listening; usually I listen in the shower, as I get ready for the day, and as I cook, and usually it’s news or geopolitical podcasts, but this has been great fun. I’ve been rediscovering some of my favorite songs from the Beatles because of it.
If I’m in a hyper-studying-must-write-do-work-now kind of mood, I’ll throw on either my Opera, Classical, or Piano playlists, curated from my favorite pieces that I’ve seen performed, I’ve performed myself (when I was in high school band!), or that I hope to catch one day, or, in the case of opera, that I’ve studied in a course I took last spring called “Drama Queens,” which was all about the representation of women on the opera stage. My main man Giacomo Puccini is well featured on the Opera playlist, and it’s probably true that Italians in general are over-represented in my playlists but what can you do when you’re literally going abroad there in August ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
Finally, so as not to bore you, I’ll share what I call my “Sunglasses Emoji” playlist. Music that makes me feel good about myself, what’s going on in my life, and the world around. It’s pump up music that I’ll play getting ready for a fun night out, or at the gym, or just when I’m feeling great – all emotions that are perfectly encapsulated by the sunglasses emoji (which is probably my most used one, at that).
I know that I’m not the first, nor will I be the last, person that creates playlists on Spotify. But I’d like to make a huge shoutout to them any for offering Premium for only $5 a month so that I can rearrange my music library to fit my moods and feelings. Pretty much any time of day, you can catch me with music playing – probably to my roommates’ chagrin, as I play it pretty loud – but it’s the best possible way to fill space and time for me. Not to mention all of the songs that have been an integral part of my Hopkins experience! From way too much Fetty Wap on my pre-orientation program, to the Chainsmokers coming for Spring Fair my freshman year, all the way to all of the opera I listened to in my Drama Queens class, each of these songs hold something special for me from Hopkins.