Music is probably the most relative form of art in the world, with everyone listening to and liking a combination of different genres and artists, and with such a variety of individual tastes, the existence of the playlist is a priceless musical advantage.
I’ll admit, I was never much of a playlist maker before this year. I kept my massive music library stored on my laptop, and would sync whichever songs and albums I was into at the moment on my phone, changing my mobile library every month or so. It wasn’t until I moved to London this past January that I began to understand and appreciate the true power of the playlist. A perfectly curated playlist has the power to do anything; it can make you cry, help you study, lull you to sleep, set the tone for a pregame, anything.
I made great friends in London, and since the school system is a little different over there (I had each class once a week, so in total I went to school only 3 days a week) we had a lot of spare time. Being the young, foreign college kids that we were, we spent a lot of that time just hanging out, not doing anything particularly productive. My core friend group consisted of me and 5 other Americans, from all over the country, all completely different people that most definitely would not have been friends had we not all made the study abroad pilgrimage to England.
Around two months into our time abroad, we were together almost every night, usually drinking and talking in someone’s dorm room kitchen and taking turns being DJ for the night. Tired of asking the age old “what do you want me to play next?” question, we compiled a 124-video long YouTube playlist of our favorite songs and videos to play whenever we were together. And when I say that this playlist is weird, I mean it.
From mid-2000s rap hits to 80s power ballads, top-40 pop goddesses to Korean rap, and Die Antwoord to the EA Sports theme (?), this collection of videos is simultaneously the most bizarre, yet perfect thing I have ever seen. It wholly sums up the time that we spent abroad, whether we were screaming the lyrics to Africa by Toto on the bus or dancing to Beyoncé and Christina Aguilera in our AirBnB in Copenhagen.
This playlist is my favorite souvenir from London. Whenever I hear a song from it, I immediately think of all the friends I made, how much I miss them and the city; it takes me back to the unforgettable times that we shared, and that’s infinitely more powerful than any postcard or knick-knack.
I’ve linked below a Spotify playlist of some of the songs that are on the YouTube playlist (the songs I could find, that is; “Get Schwifty” from Rick and Morty isn’t on Spotify, unfortunately). Take a look!