Second Semester Recap Playlist

For this week's pillbox playlist, I've once again crafted a story through song to bring you through the arc of the first half of my spring semester. So take about 54 minutes and four seconds to enjoy this expertly curated list of sonically diverse and quirky songs, and absorb the meaning I've imbued onto each. Because I care about you, dear reader, and want only the best for your ears.

As we are pried away from the comforts of winter break and back into the blustery Pittsburgh winter, Benches tells us "It Doesn't Have to Change" in the beautiful time signature of (I'm pretty sure) 12/8. If only it didn't have to. And for those of us coming from out of state, "PA Nights" by Mac Miller reminds us that maybe this is actually a nice place to go to school.

As the second semester hits the ground running, we immediately find ourselves in need of some good study music. What follows is a run of four high energy, bass- and percussion-heavy songs to motivate you to do whatever it is you need to do: "Final Destination" by NY hip-hop duo The Underachievers, "FREEDOM" by John Batiste, off his Grammy-winning 2021 album "WE ARE, BERLIN" by BROCKHAMPTON, and finally "BUZZCUT" by BROCKHAMPTON featuring a Danny Brown verse over a beat that sounds like if someone put Chernobyl onto a track. To calm ourselves back down we next have the incredibly funky "Fugue State," a purely instrumental song by Vulfpeck, followed by "Lemon Tree'' by Mt. Joy and "Feels Like Magic" by Sports, two songs I'm a really big fan of for no reason in particular.

This is the point in the semester in which we all went, "hey let me listen to my middle school playlists," which led us all to rediscover Muse. That's where we get "Sing For Absolution" and the unbelievably hard-hitting "Hysteria" (I might pick up bass guitar just so I can learn the opening lick).

As the weather picks up, we get "my time" by Rav, a single that I can only describe as incredibly sunny. Real Rav stans like me will notice how he echoes the incredibly depressing hook on his 2014 song Solanine — "this is what real life feels like?" — with an optimistic answer. THIS is what real life feels like. If he can get better, so can we all. Next we get "pg baby" by Denzel Curry, an extremely smooth song that just makes you want to bop your head as you walk across the Cut in the increasingly milder evenings.

Then we take a hard left turn into "Arsonist's Lullaby," a song where the relentlessly heavy kick drum keeps the pulse as Hozier brings us through some equally heavy shit. And to cap things off, we get "Tentpole Shangrila" by Djo, a song I discovered mere hours before writing this very playlist, but included because it's just absolute brain candy.

Cheers to the second half of the semester. May it be filled with long days and good music.