Rhythms for roaming: A playlist for back to school

Culture Desk

The Crimson White’s culture desk curated a playlist for all those moments spent roaming around campus searching for food, heading to classes or looking for a shady spot to sit and study. 


Everyone needs the perfect song to get in the right mood before classes start. While some may prefer study tunes or calming classics, every playlist needs the song that makes you feel ready for anything.

Although “Bad Girls” came out in 2012, it’s still reminiscent of a more modern sound. It’s the perfect mix with a catchy chorus and uplifting beats that’ll have you bobbing your head while walking across the Quad.


With incredible instrumentals and the mellow voice of lead singer Neil Smith, Peach Pit is a must-listen for indie-pop fans. One of their more popular hits, “Alrighty Aphrodite,” is the perfect blend for relaxing after a long day. Although it’s mellow, “Alrighty Aphrodite” is anything but boring, featuring guitar solos and a catchy beat. 

Through the metaphor of the Greek goddess of beauty, Aphrodite, the lyrics explore the feeling of wishing you had never gotten involved with someone. Whether you want to bob your head along in the car or lie in bed and listen to the guitar solo, “Alrighty Aphrodite” is a great end-of-summer track.


Amy Winehouse’s iconic fusion of soul rhythm and contemporary blues makes for a smooth sound on her 2006 album, “Back to Black.” The album is the second of two studio albums in Winehouse’s discography.

Winehouse’s low, tight harmonies float over a mellow arrangement of trumpets, horns and a string bass, transporting the listener into a smoky 1920s social club. The song laments about Winehouse’s seemingly perfect “Mr. Jones,” who has placed them both in a tailspin of love, lust and heartbreak all at once. 

While “Me & Mr. Jones” carries the usual moody tone of most of Winehouse’s songs, its slow, swinging beat paired with Winehouse’s growling vocals is perfect for an early-morning drive to campus or studying in Gorgas Library.


Elton John spares no expense in spectacle or excitement with the 1975 release of “Philadelphia Freedom.” The track appears on “Captain Fantastic And the Brown Dirt Cowboy,” his ninth studio album.

An infectious string and flute arrangement greets the listener at the beginning of the song, leading into John’s cheerful, optimistic lyrics of craving the adventure, love and freedom that come with big-city living.

In a world that is falling apart at the seams, “Philadelphia Freedom” is a five-minute escape into joyous melodies about living your life authentically and openly, no matter where you are.


Chloe and Halle entertained everyone throughout 2020 with multiple live performances to promote their sophomore album “Ungodly Hour.”

“Do It,” the lead single, is an infectious song that makes you want to dance every time you listen. The beat catches your attention immediately. 

Chloe and Halle complement and contrast each other, making the song a great option for karaoke night. The song’s lyrics detail the process of getting ready for a party, making it the ideal song to play as you get ready with your best friends for a night out. 

Nothing enhances the back-to-school experience like listening to good music, making new friends and creating new memories.


Lizzo knows how to make everyone feel good about themselves. Her latest single, “Rumors,” is catchy, upbeat and positive. Her confidence radiates through each verse and gives the listener just as much confidence. The bold lyrics between her and rapper Cardi B keep listeners entertained from start to finish.

She starts the song by addressing rumors about her. Despite some rumors being true, this doesn’t break her down. The lesson of this song is to keep pushing forward despite the drama. So whenever you’re feeling bad, play a Lizzo song to cheer yourself up.  


For many students, the advent of a new year away at college is as exciting as it is depressing. Leaving home can be bittersweet, and rediscovering your niche is difficult for some.

“Teenage Wildlife” is all about reflecting on one’s place within a certain environment, as well as the sense of displacement that can result from any changes to a relationship. 

Sometimes, when you’re feeling out of place, you just need to have your “main-character moment” to feel like yourself again. With Bowie’s haunting, emotional vocals, the prominent guitar tinged with a sense of longing, and the subtle piano melodies, it’s easy to have a moment to this song.


Adjusting to college is difficult, but once you find your niche at your home away from home, the feeling is magical.

Young the Giant’s “In My Home” is an anthem that boasts the feeling of being exactly where you are meant to be. The rich guitar motifs, active drums and slight auditorial grain create this feeling of fuzziness, which, in addition to the lyrics, create the beautifully aching feeling of coming to call somewhere home. 

It’s a fantastic song to blast at sunset with the windows down while you’re driving on the open road.


This song by Electric Light Orchestra is a bouncy anthem that’s good for brightening anyone’s mood. The perky rhythm gives a light-spirited, sunny vibe, perfect for uplifting spirits. It has been voted the “Happiest Song Ever” and is sure to help you raise your mood whenever you’re feeling down. 

The melody is made to inspire and promote love and happiness. It’s a fantastic song to blast through your car speakers with the windows down and the sun shining brightly through your windshield. 


This iconic bop by Bridgit Mendler is for people of all ages. She may be a Disney Channel star from 2012, but her lyrics still ring true today. This song will get you dancing and is quintessential Disney pop. 

The track is the perfect energy booster for a long walk across campus and seems to embody the constant hurricane that college can be. As Mendler’s vocals cascade through her listeners ears a sense of euphoria seems to make the day seem a little brighter. 

“Hurricane” has a light and dancy vibe heavy on ukulele with bouncy lyrics. The song is from Mendler’s debut album “Hello My Name Is…” which was released with Hollywood Records. The song will have you nostalgic and in a lighthearted mood, remembering the old days of Disney Channel anthems. 


Miley Cyrus, a former Disney star, released this song in 2009 to show her audience that she has struggles too, but she copes with them by dancing, singing and staying positive. This song is played on radio stations, at parties or even on TikTok.


Olivia Rodrigo released this emotional song as a single ahead of her debut album, “Sour.” The young artist has many teenage fans relating to her lyrics.  

In the song, Rodrigo asks her ex-boyfriend if he gets déjà vu with his new girlfriend because of his past relationship with Rodrigo.

Rodrigo shows anger and confusion in her song, which is relatable to those who have gone through the same struggles she has. Her way of confrontation through music is something her fans clearly enjoy.