Kait's Back to School Playlist OF DEATH (Just Kidding)

This year, I live in an apartment that’s a 20 minute walk away from all of my classes, my job, and anything else on campus. To distract myself from the hell I’m giving my calves, I always have my headphones in, blasting Spotify.


I am a serial playlist-maker who is constantly accumulating songs to categorize. Here is a starter list I’ve compiled of some songs (that all came out this year!) to get you into the groove of a new school year.



Mitski- “Nobody”

If you haven’t heard of Mitski, you should. She is a goddess of her emotional intelligence and her newest album Be The Cowboy is a full, dreamy, dramatically written mix of a record. (I listened to the whole thing walking around campus by myself.) The first single turns into a gloriously gloomy disco romp you’ll never get out of your head.


Snail Mail- “Pristine”

Lindsey Jordan of Snail Mail wrote this song about first love lost in high school. It’s so mellow, so articulate, and such a big mood. “If I know myself, I’ll never love anyone else,” she sings as I fight back real human tears. Snail Mail’s whole album Lush hits that sweet spot of lo-fi background music that I love studying to, but if you listen closer it makes you that good level of cathartic moody and sad.


Leon Bridges- “Beyond”

Leon Bridges has been around for a minute, and this man is soulful. He’s like a transplant from the 1960s, and his voice is buttery soft. Similarly buttery soft is this song about finding The One™. It’s pure and wholesome and every bit of romantic escapism I need to get me through the day.


Hinds- “Soberland”

I just googled Hinds and found out that they were from Spain. Who knew? This all-girl garage rock band brings you the angst and sonic fuzziness you’re looking for. My personal favorite feature is the sneering back-and-forth vocals that make you feel like you’re listening to a fun conversation with friends. I feel very a part of Hinds listening to Hinds.


flora cash- “You’re Somebody Else”

This song just sorta played on my local radio station all summer and soothed me into a state of stillness every time. Somehow it feels like it’s letting you in on a little secret. I also heard that the couple who formed the band met after hearing each other’s music on SoundCloud, which is adorable. It’s a very “candles in a dimly lit bedroom” type of song. (Do with that information what you will. Wink wonk.)


Rainbow Kitten Surprise- “Fever Pitch”

This song is a two-and-a-half minute trip, although it does sound a little bit more demure than one would expect from a band called Rainbow Kitten Surprise. Of all the grandiose metaphor and descriptors regarding falling for someone featured in the song, my favorite line by far is “I’m at the grocery store/ I’m buying eggs and toast.” I feel like that little morsel, along with the vocalist’s twangy vibrato, tells you all you need to know about this funky little number.


Manchester Orchestra- “The Gold”

Here’s your haunting echo daydream, stare out the windows of a moving car song. Listen to it and visualize the upcoming fall season: rolling around in hay bales, leaves crunching, the sun shining but not making your uncomfortably sweaty. When the instrumental drops out, it feels like you’re at the top of a rollercoaster, overlooking the fastest and steepest you’re about to fall. Well, there’s my metaphor exercise for the day. It’s a cool listen.


Screaming Females- “I’ll Make You Sorry”

If you’re listening to the songs in this playlist in order, prepare for a jolt between these two. This song bites, it taunts, it prepares you to wring the necks of anyone who has wronged you. I am personally obsessed with the type of vocals that Screaming Females’ Melissa Paternoster is serving in this song- this kinda throaty belt with selective vibrato. Go for a run to this song while planning your revenge fantasies. You won’t regret it, but the poor sap who hurt you just might.


Beach House- “Lose Your Smile”

One of my all-time favorite bands, Beach House’s new album this summer provides, once again, some chill music for studying, snuggling, driving in the rain, or any other activities that you might need to lower your blood pressure a bit for. This one is sonically so beautiful, happy, and positive. I feel like I’m in a movie montage, starring as someone’s beloved dead mother in the happiest days of her youth.


Soccer Mommy- “Cool”

This last one has absolutely been my jam since the summer. Breezy, honest, quirky, tender at parts. Who can’t relate to seeing a girl who’s a friend-crush or a crush-crush and daydreaming about being as effortlessly badass as she is? What makes the song even better (besides the psychedelic, twisty guitar crunch at the end) is imagining and recognizing that you are the cool girl, and the singer wants to be you. That’s the energy we need going back to school.


Always keep a soundtrack that makes you feel zen and badass, friends, and kick your classes’ ass this year.