• Mckenzie Dow

The Bittersweet Playlist for Leaving Home

Like everyone else in the world, I love music. I am constantly searching for fresh tracks while also listening to numerous oldies. I leave in five days for Dublin, and I can assure you that my emotions have been consistently jumping between ecstatic and really sad. I look forward to a future of psychological research in a country where I'm the best version of myself, but when my little brother asks me where I'm going for the millionth time, the excitement is replaced with sadness.

This music playlist has a song for single mood that I've experienced in the last week and it will probably get me through the next week too. This playlist isn't generic by any means. For every song I have a memory, a time and place in my mind, but each song is objectively great on its own as well.

1. New York, New York by Ryan Adams from the album Gold.

This song brings up numerous memories of listening to this album with my Dad as a kid. He used to have this huge Suburban SUV and that truck went everywhere, cranking out original music and brilliant songwriting every place we went. I remember he used to rewind parts of different songs, just to make sure I understood how incredible Adam's songwriting truly is. This song brings up all the good feelings of how much I love Dublin too.

2. Letter to a Lonely Girl by Boy Named Banjo from The Tanglewood Sessions.

I actually can't explain why this song belongs on this playlist, it just does. I love the banjo and the song writing just works for me.

3. Dublin Blues by Guy Clark.

I love this song because it's about asking for forgiveness. It's a calming reminder that you could see the entire world, but sometimes the best place in the world is in the arms of the person you love most.

4. Paris Calling (Sweet Sensation) by Griffin House.

I adore this song because it romanticizes Paris the way that I used to romanticize Dublin. It also brings back crisp memories of roaming around Le Centre Pompidou in awe over their Matisse collection. This song makes me look forward to the afternoons sitting in St. Stephen's Green, just eating gelato and drawing in my sketchbook.

5. Rivers and Roads by The Head and the Heart.

It's about change. Though the lyrics are minimal, it gets the point across. The harmony among the singers really works and it just makes you want to sway. I once saw this band at Boston Calling, and as this song began, the rain started pouring down for the duration of the song. It was heavy and everyone got soaked, but it was almost a spiritual moment for me. The rain is one of my absolute favorite things in the world, and as it poured down, I just swayed to the music, thinking about a future of going and growing.

6. Ramble On by Led Zeppelin.

This song does a lot for me and I have many emotional connections. Not only is Led Zeppelin probably the greatest rock band of all time, but this song is basically my mantra of life in the form of a song. I do not believe in any form of religion, and I consider myself to be a strong soul. When bad shit happens, all you can do is keep going. Take the time to heal. Learn from it. Grow from it. No God is going to save you. The bad things in your life are not karma. Shit just happens sometimes and you just have to ramble on.

7. Homeward Bound by Simon & Garfunkel

This one explains itself. Ireland feels like home, and I just want to be there already. Also, Simon & Garfunkel are legends. Who knows, maybe a year from now I'll be singing along to the words on a flight back to America.

8. Coming Home by Leon Bridges.

Though I often scoff at lovey-dovey cheesy ridiculousness, I miss my guy. Going to Dublin also means going home to him (sort of, we aren't living together by my choice). This song captures that perfectly and Leon Bridges is phenomenal. His voice is incredible, the songs are so retro and classy, and his style is always on point. I hope this song and his work opens the door to a rebirth in jazzy and soulful contemporary music.

9. Wildflowers by Tom Petty

This song immediately makes me teary. Especially if I'm in the car by myself. It's not hard for me to understand why. The entire song is about going where you feel free, and that is exactly what I'm doing. It's also sentimental for me too. Tom Petty was always on as a kid, and when this comes on I can just picture the younger, innocent version of myself, dreaming of the different places in the world. Who would have known that little girl would grow up and take off for another country?

10. California Soul by Jamestown Revival.

It's a bit curious that this song is on my list, but it also makes some sense. A lot of the song is about not understanding why the person left home. Something draws them to California in such a strong way and takes them away from home. In a way that's how I feel about Ireland. I still don't really know exactly what it is that draws me there, but I certainly feel it in my bones.

11. Made in the A.M. by One Direction

This is one of the songs that I typically bawl my eyes out to. It's incredibly bittersweet and it brings up a ton of college memories with my closest friends. I can remember each time that Marisa and I screamed about a new One Direction song, or every time we got iced coffees and sprawled across T-Hall lawn. Every single birthday celebration with my girls, and every sob session over stupid dudes. It all rushes back to me every time I hear this song and it's definitely the reason I listened to this the morning of my graduation from UNH and also the reason it's on this playlist.

12. Come and Get Your Love by Redbone.

This song just makes me grin and want to dance. It's so smooth and it's such a classic. It also gives me all the feels. I've often been told that my dancing is equivalent to that of Elaine's on Seinfeld, and I think my dancing to this song completely fulfils that assertion.

13. Yellow by Coldplay

This song makes me smile because it makes me feel like I can do anything. It feels like my journey is special and all my own, and let's be real, that's a nice feeling. Personally, I don't see this big move as a big deal. I'm not going off to war, I'm not joining the Peace Corp. or anything totally wild, I'm just taking a six hour flight to move for Graduate school. Many of my peers are also making big moves for Graduate school, it's really not a huge deal. This song though, it makes me feel like my work, my goals, and my career plans are at least a little special and unique, even if it's just for the duration of the song.

14. Ooh La La by Faces

This song is last because it's a serious tear jerker for me. A few weeks ago, my darling brother Tyler moved to L.A. It was the first time where someone in the family besides myself was leaving, and it broke my heart a little bit. I knew I was going to miss him so much, but I was able to hold it together, that is until after our last lunch together in Concord, this song came on in the car. Suddenly, in my mind we were kids again, sitting in front of a TV in Pittsburg, NH watching the movie Without A Paddle and laughing our heads off. In that moment all I wanted to do was squeeze him tight and never let go.From that point on, this song became the song that I listen to when I need a good cry. When I think of leaving my brother Levi behind, or the fact that my brother Tyler is going to be half a world away from me once I get to Dublin. This song brings back all the good times and it is bittersweet as hell. It's also just an awesome song.

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