Music is such an important part of my life. It defines moments of my life that I cannot always put into words. My freshman year of college has been a whirlwind; moving from a place where I knew everybody to a place where I didn’t know a soul was a huge adjustment. I ended up spending a lot of time alone, with nothing but music to keep me company. These albums were the first friends I made in college, they simultaneously kept me entertained while also acting as a shoulder to cry on.
Montero – Lil Nas X
Shortly after I moved to UCI, Lil Nas X released his debut album, Montero. I had liked the singles he had released, so I was looking forward to hearing the full album, and it did not disappoint. I will always associate this album with the long walks I took to class, purposefully taking my time getting there because I wanted to listen to one more song before class. My favorite tracks were “THAT’S WHAT I WANT”, “LOST IN THE CITADEL”, and “TALES OF DOMINICA.”
Red (Taylor’s Version) – Taylor Swift
It is no secret that I am a massive fan of Taylor Swift. Her music has been a part of my life ever since I can remember. Late in 2021, Swift released her version of her 2012 album, Red, and I had been anticipating this album since she made the announcement. Red is my favorite album of all time, and once I heard we were getting the original thirty songs she wrote for it, including the ten minute version of “All Too Well”, I could not wait. I listened to this album on repeat as fall quarter finished up; it guided me through friendship failures and new beginnings alike. My favorite songs include “Nothing New (featuring Phoebe Bridgers)”, “The Last Time (featuring Gary Lightbody),” and “All Too Well (10 Minute Version).”
You Signed Up For This – Maisie Peters
The winter quarter was a rough time. I was going through a bit of a health crisis regarding my chronic migraines, and I ended up not returning to campus until the third week of the quarter. I, once again, felt isolated and alone. But, thanks to TikTok, I discovered Maisie Peters and I decided to give her debut album a listen. Her songs resonated with me in a way only Taylor Swift’s songwriting has. I saw myself in each personal anecdote she documented in her lyrics. My personal favorite songs were “You Signed Up for This,” “John Hughes Movie,” and “Outdoor Pool.”
Stranger in the Alps – Phoebe Bridgers
Of course, being the sad girl that I am, I naturally turned to Phoebe Bridgers for comfort on those nights when I couldn’t quite fall asleep. I distinctly remember doing my laundry in the early hours of the morning, listening to this album as I thought of article ideas. To me, this album sounds like long walks on campus in the dark, while trying to spot stars in the polluted sky. I was accompanied by this album on late nights, standing in an empty parking structure watching the airplanes fly overhead. My favorite tracks are “Georgia,” “Funeral,” and “Demi Moore.”
Harry’s House – Harry Styles
The most recent album to come out on this list is Harry’s House. It took me a while to find my current friend group, but the one thing that brought us together was Harry Styles’ music. When Harry’s House came out, we had a listening party together and we reacted to each song very dramatically. It was the first time this year I really shared an album with my friends, and I will always associate this album with late-night giggles, reminiscing of boyband days, and the connection between best friends. My favorite songs are “Music for a Sushi Restaurant,” “Matilda,” and “Daylight.”
Music has brought me so much comfort in my lifetime. The melodies I hear are the words I cannot say. It is the one thing that can make me laugh, and also move me to tears. My freshman year of college was already memorable because of the huge lifestyle adjustment, but listening to these albums will always take me back to my little dorm room in Irvine, California.