A series featuring members of Palatinate‘s editorial team creating playlists of songs special to them. In Part 2 of this month, find Books Editor Sol Noya Carreno’s top picks.
Spotify Code – scan to hear a specially curated playlist to go with this article:
I am a compulsive playlist maker. Why keep on adding to a queue when you could have upwards of 50 playlists on Spotify for any specific vibe you can think of? And if anything, the prospect of holidays and sunny weather feed this tendency of mine to curate playlists for every mood and hour of the day. I’ve tried to pick songs that I’ve listened to on repeat over my three years here at Durham. I think these choices reflect that my taste in music is best described as organised chaos – but I nevertheless hope that you enjoy them.
- Vienna – Billy Joel
I grew up on Billy Joel and Queen, so of course I needed to include at least one of them in this article. As a finalist, you can imagine why the lyrics of ‘Vienna’, urging a young person to take their time and not rush through life even when everything seems to be happening at once, resonate with me. Whenever I am getting too caught up in worrying about the future, my mum tells or texts me “Vienna waits for you!” My other personal connection to this song: this term, I was part of a dance to it at Instep’s annual show. If you haven’t listened to Joel’s superb album The Stranger (‘Vienna’ is track 5, and my other favourite song on it, ‘Scenes from an Italian Restaurant’ immediately precedes it), I urge you to do so. Slow down, as Joel advises, take the phone off the hook and disappear for a while.
- Caution – The Killers
The lead single from The Killers’ 2020 album Imploding the Mirage has been one of my go-to songs for the last year. The 80s-inspired instrumental line, culminating in an epic guitar solo – Fleetwood Mac’s Lindsey Buckingham, is perpetually stuck in my head. This is probably one of my top 3 songs by The Killers, and it has the perfect amount of main character energy in both the lyrics (describing a girl trying to leave her hometown of Las Vegas) and the music. Favourite line: “she’s got Hollywood eyes, but you can’t shoot what she’s seen.”
- Romance, Eh? – Blossoms
I was first introduced to Blossoms in 2018 through a friend’s playlist of songs she likes, which featured their excellent Charlemagne. However, I feel that ‘Romance, Eh?’ is a hidden gem from the band, and possibly my favourite song by them. Another song with main character energy, ‘Romance, Eh?’ has an incredibly catchy melody with lyrics that alternate between bittersweet and hopeful. Whimsical enough for summer, without losing Blossoms’ edge.
- Brazil – Declan McKenna
I’ll give you a moment to process that Declan McKenna is only 22 years old – meaning he wrote ‘Brazil’, his viral protest song against FIFA, the year he turned 16. I discovered this one late (another find from my friend’s 2018 playlist) but spent most of my first year walks to the science site with this playing in my earphones. I also listened to it a lot last summer, so I’ll always associate it with my university years and the 2020 lockdown. It’s just the right amount of anger, accompanied by a sprightly melody.
- Songbird – Fleetwood Mac
Another defining album of my childhood: the Love Actually soundtrack (it’s full of absolute tunes). While Love Actually used a cover of ‘Songbird’, this gentle track from Rumours – in my humble opinion, one of the best albums of all time – tends to slip – unnoticed, but it is one of my favourite love songs. Slow and meditative, ‘Songbird’ reflects on the way that love makes one want to give the world to the object of their affection.
- Cruel Summer – Taylor Swift
I could never close off this list or a summer playlist without a song from Taylor Swift. Lover has some of my favourite songs by Swift, featuring collaborators such as Jack Antonoff, The Chicks, and St Vincent, and ‘Cruel Summer’ is my top pick on it (I will never understand why it wasn’t the lead single). Lyrically and musically, ‘Cruel Summer’ is a masterpiece. Hearing the intro immediately makes my brain go oh, tune. I dare you to listen to it without singing along (you will fail).