I just graduated college, and I must admit, there isn’t much going on in my life. I have moved back in with my parents (who thankfully have Hulu Plus and Netflix) and I spend most days taking my dog Max out for walks, watching reruns of The Daily Show, and making playlists. Since the first two things mentioned aren’t worth writing about, here’s a playlist which hopefully captures the competing feelings most college grads are facing: 1) that we now have to be “grown ups” and 2) that it’s almost summer, and we’re young, so we should make it a one we can never forget.
1. “The World Has Turned and Left Me Here” by Weezer
Off Weezer’s Blue Album, their greatest album in my humble opinion, this song speaks to the feeling of disillusionment that we are all facing, the feeling that the world “has turned” and we have to suddenly find a way to turn with it.
2. “Delicate Cycle” by The Uncluded
The words of this tune, specifically Kimya Dawson’s parts, are basically reminiscing. As a fiction writer, I believe all we have of our lives are the stories we tell. Dawson and Aesop seem to believe that, too: “I miss the smell, the dust, the coins, the trust/The squeaky carts, the vibrations/The bucket full of bleach, the dryer sheets/The old pay phone, the giant sink.” We all have things that we miss from college. Already.
3. “But the Regrets are Killing Me” by American Football
This should be self-explanatory. We all have those awful woulda/coulda/shoula’s. The song is vague enough that you can project your own regrets onto its meaning. Also, the song (and whole self-titled album for that matter) is comprised of raw emo lyrics over intricate, melodic music. How about that for mixed feelings?
4. “Miles from Nowhere” by Cat Stevens
Cat Stevens, or Yusuf, is the master of writing words of wisdom without it feeling like you’re listening to a singing fortune cookie. “Miles from nowhere/guess I’ll take my time.” Amen.
5. “In-Between” By Title Fight
That is what this phase is, right? An in-between? An end, and a beginning? Listen to the lyrics of this hardcore band from Kingston, PA and wonder if they took it straight out of your journal.
6. “Hangover Dreaming” by Gorgon
Ok, first, listen to Gorgon’s Greatest Hits. This trio of Vermonters will melt your face. Second, appreciate the final verse, which brilliantly captures both the feeling of a hangover, and laziness in general. Most of us can identify.
7. “One Chance” by Modest Mouse
If you are a 2014 grad like me, you might feel like you were too young to catch that awesome wave of indie bands in the early 2000s, and consequently wish you had a time machine so you could see The Strokes, Modest Mouse, and The Yeah Yeah Yeahs when they first started making it big. On the other hand, you might not be like me, in which case you are probably normal. But anyway, we really do have only “one chance to get everything right,” so maybe I shouldn’t wish for time machines.
8. “My Generation” the Patti Smith version
Look. I know this is rock music blasphemy to not use The Who’s version, but come on. Patti’s version has more grit and anger, and it’s the final song on her iconic masterpiece of an album, Horses. Forgive me, because I really do love The Who. But it’s Patti Smith, kids. (Also, read her memoir Just Kids. It will change your life.)
9. “The Gap” by Potty Mouth
This really sticks it to anyone who tells you that there is one right of doing things. That’s just not true, fellow graduates. Whether it’s taking a gap year after high school to play in a punk band, or traveling abroad when you’re parents beg you to jump on the 9-5 hamster wheel, this song is an anthem for those who have their own way of doing things. Let the 19-year-old singer of Potty Mouth, Abby Weems, be an example of how hard work can pay off.
10. “Knocking on Wood” by Spose
I gotta represent my Maine rap. Plus, this song humorlessly and poetically explains that many of us forget to consider all the great things we have going for us. “I don’t need anything opulent as long as I got oxygen.” Ain’t that the truth? I know that post-grad life can feel overwhelming, but as Spose suggests, isn’t there so much that we do have going for us?
11. “Young & Wild” by Mean Creek
We are young. And some of us are wild. So as we take those first frightful steps into unemployment, or a new job, or a new country, or our parent’s basement, it’s important to never forget that our youth is precious, and it only lasts as long as our willingness to use it. So take a road trip. Teach yourself to dance. Tell jokes. Lay in the summer grass. Write a sonnet. Whatever. Above all else, make being young and wild have nothing to do with your age, but only your desire to see life as forever full of wonder and awe.
Rock on, class of 2014.