Whether it’s after an exam, a long day at work, or a tough workout, music can always help us decompress. Everybody’s tastes are different, but if you’re looking for a new soundtrack to help you power through this week, here are the 5 artists and albums that got me through my freshman year.
1. Billy Joel: Glass Houses
Billy Joel has got to be my favorite artist of all time, and he still puts on a great show, even at 70 years-old. His rock music is timeless, and his out of this world piano playing never fails to put me at ease.
Glass Houses is Joel’s 1980 album that has the perfect mix of hits and some tracks that flew under the radar, but have some hard-hitting lyrics if you’re in the mood to really listen and reflect.
The rocking classics of “It’s Still Rock ‘n’ Roll to Me”, “Sometimes a Fantasy”, and, “Close to the Borderline“ are great songs to bolster your mood if you’re looking to keep your energy up. These are great to put on a workout playlist, as they make any exercise feel super badass.
On the other hand, the more angsty “Sleeping with the Television On”, “I Don’t Want to Be Alone”, and “All For Leyna” are super relatable after a rough week. All of these songs are about relationships and dating, but they take a really unique perspective on it. They’re specific and relatable without repeating what the radio already tells us.
All in all, this album was what I needed no matter what kind of day I’d had, and I’m not sure how I’d have gotten through freshman year without it.
2. Panic! at the Disco: Death of a Bachelor
It just so happens that Panic! at the Disco’s album Pray for the Wicked was a huge part of the playlist that got me through sophomore year as well.
Panic!’s upbeat lyrics and tempo are extremely motivating, and if you listen hard, most of their songs have a little bit of a deeper message just below the surface.
“Victorious” and “Hallelujah” make great background music to celebrate when things are going your way, while “Death of a Bachelor” is a perfect song for when you’re in the mood to sing loud and proud. “Emperor’s New Clothes” should be on everyone’s playlist, and is also one of the band’s biggest songs.
Panic! at the Disco has become pretty mainstream nowadays, which is certainly well earned, but there’s a lot more to their music and the band than their most recent album and a lead singer who does flips on stage.
If you’re getting into their biggest hits, definitely take a change and delve into this album, and their even older ones too!
3. Simon and Garfunkel: Bridge Over Troubled Water
Older music- which is now apparently commonly known as ‘Dad music’- is slept on.
Simon and Garfunkel owned the 60’s and 70’s, and their folk music captures every mood. “Cecilia” and “Baby Driver” (which plays at the end of the movie that shares its title) are fun and upbeat in a way that we don’t really get with today’s music.
Art Garfunkel’s voice never fails to astonish in “Bridge Over Troubled Water”, a song that is guaranteed to make you tear up as you remember to fully appreciate your friends. “The Boxer” and “The Only Living Boy in New York” are a couple slower songs that tell great stories.
If you haven’t listened to much folk music and are ready to branch out, these guys are the real pioneers of the genre. If you love folk and haven’t checked this album out yet, it’s a must.
Whether you’re looking to laugh or cry, sing or be serenaded, Simon and Garfunkel have the songs for you.
4. Pentatonix: Pentatonix
Pentatonix is an a capella group that primarily focuses on covers, but their one album comprised of all original music proves they can hold their own.
Acapella isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, but it opens so many musical doors that the Pentatonix are unafraid to burst through.
With fast paced songs like “Sing”, “Na Na Na”, and “Ref” the lack of instruments doesn’t keep them from getting your heart rate up. Other songs, like “Can’t Sleep Love”, and “Misbehavin'” are almost uncomfortably relatable.
The album eases its tempo towards the end with “Take Me Home” and “Light in the Hallway”, while “Water” and “First Things First” couldn’t be more fun to sing along too.
Pentatonix is a great change of pace for people who don’t listen to much acapella, and even though their popularity grows with every new cover, their original music doesn’t get nearly enough attention.
5. Call Me By Your Name: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack
My roommate and I saw Call Me By Your Name so many times our freshman year that by the end of the year it basically became cozy background noise.
I have no complaints about this, as the movie itself is incredible, and the CD version of the soundtrack sits in my car to this day.
The music accompanies the movie perfectly, but it is also great to listen to on its own. Having the movie in the back of your mind gives it a bigger emotional punch, of course, but the songs are amazing regardless.
“Mystery of Love” and “Visions of Gideon” by Sufjan Stevens are soft, contemplative songs that are great for background music. Or something to cry to, when that’s necessary.
“Lady Lady” and “Love My Way” are two iconic songs from the movie that encapsulate its 80’s vibe. If you’re looking for some throwback songs that aren’t wildly overplayed, these are a great place to start.
Any song from this soundtrack is an instant throwback to freshman year for me, and the mix is sure to get you through any heartsick moments you have this year.
What albums are getting you through this school year? Let us know in the comments below!
Featured image via @panicatthedisco on Instagram
Casey is a junior at Emerson College majoring in screenwriting. She's extremely passionate about petting dogs, writing, and being outside, but if she's not doing one of those things, she's probably napping!