I started college in the Fall of 2009, and change was all around. On the first day you move into your dorm, you realize quickly that you’re not at the top of the heap anymore. This isn’t like your senior year of high school where you ruled the school; you’re on your own, responsible for silly things like finding time to eat, making an entirely new group of friends on the fly, and changing who you are until you finally feel comfortable with yourself. Fall semester of Freshman year of college is also known for being the time where all the couples who were together in high school realize that they’ve made a huge mistake and break up with their long-distance partner – because hey, there are people here, and well, you’re not.
So, yeah, it may be a lot of fun, but I don’t think it’s an easy time for anyone.
I had a typical freshman year in a lot of ways, went through an aforementioned breakup, met so many new people, tried to get into frat parties with a sub-optimal ratio. At some point during this time, I must have decided to continue my tradition of making my CD length playlists, and I’m so glad I did. My mantra at the time was that I wanted to have stories to tell, and I quickly learned that there’s nothing better for reminiscing and recalling stories of the past than by having a record of the music I was obsessed with at the time.
This time period also represented a gigantic change in the way I consumed music, because it was the first time that I had regular access to high speed internet. My listening choices suddenly expanded from getting CDs out of the library, to basically anything I could get my hands on. Even with this change, the music I was listening to during the first semester of college wasn’t too far removed from what I had been listening to in high school. Maybe in this period where so much was already changing for me, I felt more comfortable exploring music that I had some connection to, and artists that I was at least familiar with.
- In retrospect, this playlist has it’s share of hits and misses, but I do enjoy the way it flows together relatively seamlessly. I also think it’s fairly well balanced, even if it skews pretty highly towards generic guitar-driven mainstream rock.
- There are a good number of songs I still enjoy: the deliriously great one off Panic At the Disco single “New Perspective,” Vertical Horizon’s “The Middle Ground,” Phoenix’s fizzy “1901,” the goosebump inducing, free-falling feeling of 30 Seconds to Mars’ “Kings and Queens,” and the Springsteen-esque storytelling of Robert Francis’ “Junebug.”
- The inclusion of Katy Perry’s “Waking Up in Vegas” sticks out to me as the first time I had ever included a straight up high charting pop song on any of my playlists to that point. How things change.
- There are some definite stinkers here – namely Weezer’s cringey Ratitude era album cut “Let It All Hang Out,” American Hi-Fi’s paint by numbers “Fight the Frequency,” and the softer paint by numbers of Howie Day’s “Be There,” to name a few.
And some memories:
- Taking the Fung-Wah bus to New York City without telling my parents, and being astounded by how tall the buildings were.
- Also, drinking way too much on said trip to New York.
- Trying to go to the Rocky Horror Picture Show, only to find out that it wasn’t playing that night, and seeing the remake of Fame instead.
- Playing Rock Band and FIFA, because Rock Band was still cool at the time.
- Getting into fights with our next door neighbors about which room was better (424 >>>>> 422)
- Finally getting my braces off after four long years.
- Going to Fenway Park for ALDS Game 3 and watching Jonathan Papelbon give up 3 runs in the top of the 9th inning to lose the game and the series to the Angels, much to the delight of the Yankees fan I was with.
- Absolutely bombing my first Latin midterm and dropping the class, because Latin is a dumb dead language anyways.
Take a step all the way back to 2009, and listen to my Freshman Year (Fall Semester) mix below!