A spring semester playlist to cure your winter blues

Elena Waldman and Lauryn Bolz

Starting off the spring semester can be hard. It’s dark, it’s overwhelming and the cold air seems to tingle with the slow energy that accompanies the return to campus. Although it can be difficult to break the routine of sleeping all day to get up for early classes, the coming of spring can also bring feelings of new hope and life as the sun begins to creep up earlier in the morning, and green starts to reappear in the trees.

Whatever feelings the new semester brings for you, the best way to cope can be finding some new music to listen to while you’re studying, walking to your new classes or showing off your taste to new friends. Here is a diverse collection of tunes to spice up your semester.


“Good News” – Mac Miller

The death of Mac Miller in 2018 sent shock waves through culture, and the rap industry suffered a huge hit losing such a unique and ever-changing voice so early in his career. Miller had so much to offer in terms of providing an alternative to the bland and homogenous rap artists that exist today, which is why his latest album released posthumously on Jan. 17, “Circles,” is all the more meaningful and heart-wrenching.

Though there are several classics on the album that will outlast most of Spotify’s “Rap Caviar” lineup, “Good News” is a track that hits especially close to home, reminding Miller fans why the late artist was so necessary. 

Keeping Miller’s untimely death in mind, some of the lyrics in “Good News” cut straight through your soul. When Miller sings “Why does everybody need me to stay?” it may very well bring you to tears thinking of all the stages of life Miller has walked us through in his career — from the middle school days jamming to “Party on Fifth Ave.” to being cramped in a dorm room listening to “Dang! (feat. Anderson .Paak)” while trying to figure out how to smoke weed without the RA finding out. The slow reverb of “Good News” may make you emotional, or perhaps it will bring back some good memories, but either way, it’s a necessary listen for this semester. 

“Only Child” – Tierra Whack

Since her first visual album, “Whack World,” released in 2018, Tierra Whack has established herself as one of the most experimental influences on rap. In “Only Child,” Whack distributes a more vocal-heavy track, which we’ve seen a handful of times from her on tracks like “Hungry Hippo” and “Pretty Ugly.”

“Only Child” is lyrically relatable and centers around the artist passing judgment toward a person with “only child syndrome,” a term used to describe people who are self-centered. To her credit, the lyrics accurately describe the tendencies of people with only child syndrome, which is increasingly more bothersome to deal with in adulthood.

When the artist laments to the suspected love interest, she says “Might not really care … until you’re gonna need my help.” As a listener, it’s easy to share her annoyance at people who are immature and needy. 

“Bloodless” – Andrew Bird

To say the least, the first days of 2020 were turbulent. Threats of war and tyranny greeted us as we waltzed blindly into the new decade, pushing feelings of doubt, mistrust and fear on our New Year’s celebrations. 

Leave it to our favorite Americana mastermind to deliver a ballad that both accepts the cards we’ve been dealt and provides new hope for our current political dilemma. Included in Andrew Bird’s politically charged and humorous 2019 compilation, “My Finest Work Yet,” “Bloodless” includes quick, snarky lyrics that contain undertones of positive dissociation.

Passages like “I know it’s hard to be an optimist when you trust least the ones who claim to have the answers” and “Well the best lack all conviction, and the worst keep sharpening their claws” resonate strongly with a lot of students feeling helpless in the face of their situation, but the soft, jazz-like beat carries a feeling of melancholic calm. While a lot of talk about politics can seem isolating, songs like this one can bring a sense of understanding. 

“So Hot You’re Hurting My Feelings” – Caroline Polachek

More often than not, the tracks that circle through Spotify’s “anti pop” playlist feel more like revamped pop music than they do “anti pop” per se. Caroline Polachek, on the other hand, feels like an artist that exists specifically to embody this genre. Polachek’s “So Hot You’re Hurting My Feelings” feels like a detached commentary on pop music, like if Poppy and Grimes had a test tube baby. The vocals are heightened with an almost robotic-sounding reverb, which makes the track both futuristic and fresh.


“Say So” – Doja Cat 

Perhaps you aren’t excited about the upcoming semester and the long nights of work that will surely come along with it. If that’s the case, you might want to try lightening the mood with a funky track from Doja’s last album, “Hot Pink,” released in early November. Doja has always been known for her slightly vulgar lyrics and zany attitude, and “Say So” is no different. It’s a little different than her rap-heavy songs, but it’s definitely a great song to jam out to on the way to class to get your day started. 

“Make It Better” – Anderson .Paak, Smokey Robinson

As we slowly ascend (or descend, depending how you look at it) into spring, the chains of cuffing season are no longer holding many people back. For some people, that might mean freedom, but for others, there’s a brief period of heartbreak to get through before smelling the flowers.

In “Make It Better,” Anderson .Paak contemplates getting back into a relationship while also noting how much the two have separated over time. Anderson .Paak’s rich R&B vocals paired with a beautiful violin tune make this track a perfect match for a relaxing evening or even for a calm study session. 

Lauryn Bolz and Elena Waldman can be reached at entertainment@collegian.com or on Twitter @CSUCollegian