Serin Koh / Sun Contributor

April 8, 2024

SOLAR FLARE | Seasonal Affective Diaries

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As it gets warmer — and it has been warm — I always find myself as excited for the impending summer as I am a bit melancholic about the end of another winter. There’s a specific vibe that’s lost, and whose wavelength I can’t help but love. I tried tracing how I’ve followed that winter this year — from the neverending nights of Northern Europe, to the warm lonely Western dreariness of Los Angeles, to the frigid longing for spring inevitable in Ithaca. The throughline makes sense mostly only in my head, but perhaps you’ll be able to follow me down the rabbit hole… 

1. Chinese Satellite by Phoebe Bridgers

I like those songs that you first and most listen to at your saddest. Even when you’re sure you’ve completely escaped that headspace, it’s always only one listen away, captured in amber with Phoebe Bridgers or Fiona Apple or Elliot Smith. 

2. Syntynyt Suruun Ja Puettu Pettymyksin by Maustetytöt

A bit of a deep cut, not of my own discovery, but featured in the soundtrack of Aki Kaurismäki’s excellent Fallen Leaves. The lyrics boil down to something like… “we’re all miserable, it’s all miserable, but I like being around you.” Great winter listen. 

3. Bug Like an Angel by Mitski.

Funny story: Two summers ago I went to a Mitski concert knowing nothing about her. The opener was so awful, and I totally thought it was Mitski herself, and I was deeply upset. Anyway, I love Mitski now, but will probably never see her live again. 

4. Strangers by Ethel Cain 

My Ethel Cain obsession has been well documented in The Sun already, but I couldn’t avoid shouting her out. This ultimate, delightfully gory track on Preacher’s Daughter fits better for a sepia-toned West Coast winter, but there’s still a gruesome loneliness to it befitting any discomfiting January chill. 

5. Girl from the North Country by Bob Dylan

The first of two Dylan tracks on this list. I make his discography a project started and left unfinished at the beginning of each year (I finally got to the Christian era this time).

6. Isis (Live at Boston Music Hall) by Bob Dylan

I mean if you’re going to go electric, this is the way to do it. Dylan’s studio recording of “Isis” is great too, but there’s just so much energy and emotion here; might be my iteration of any of his songs.

7. Heroin by Lana Del Rey

Back to the 21st century (and from icon to icon). I have to imagine listening to Lana Del Rey is one of the closest ways to soberly recreate the experience of this song’s titular drug. This one’s slow, occasionally melancholic ethereality and visceral SoCal infected lyricism make for a nice pace shift from Dylan’s electric linear storytelling. 

8. i hope ur miserable until ur dead by Nessa Barret

Instead of doubling down on Lana, I decided to add in this one-time earworm that has the kind of nice poppy rage ideal for a walk to class.

9. Trinity by Ludwig Göransson

It’s essay season, and here’s something to edit to. You don’t have to think about singing along and it’s the kind of anxiously propulsive listen that makes you question whether you’re jittering or toe-tapping. 

10. White Rabbit by Jefferson Airplane

This is a song longing for summer: Summer in the sense of psychedelics and afternoons holding hands in the park and cold but quickly melting frozen margaritas. It’s not a summer I’ve ever specifically experienced, but each year it’s the one I’ll always imagine and idealize.

11. The Grudge by Olivia Rodrigo

She released new music this March so I ended up going back to this song, a certifiable bop and nothing more. 

12. Exit Music (For a Film) by Radiohead
I always like ending a playlist with a song that has a sense of finality to it. Though planted firmly in the middle of OK Computer, “Exit Music” fulfills its title in that sense.

Max Fattal is a junior in the School of Industrial Labor Relations. They can be reached at [email protected]

‘Solar Flare’ is a weekly playlist column where Sun contributors spotlight a slice of musical taste with the campus community. It runs every Monday.