Back to School Playlist

By Rachael Heck

Hello teachers, hello books…

With the beginning of school right around the corner and efforts being made to bring back the glory days of in-person classes, I couldn’t help but feel overjoyed! One of my favorite features about UW-Madison is the large, spread-out campus. It allows a mental break walking to class where I’m able to have some me-time. Unlike the traditional back-to-school supply list, mine has new music on it. Featured below are the songs I’ll be playing this Fall on my daily commute to class. 


“The Balcony” Fruit Bats

This song is off their album The Pet Parade which was just released in March of 2021. The upbeat rhythm accompanied by the melodica is the first sound of Fall to me. I can just imagine this song coming through the car speakers as I drive to a pumpkin patch with the warm-colored leaves around me. 


“So What Now” The Shins

The ethereal indie song is a must for your playlist as you’re walking to class this Fall. Question everything. 


“Leisure” PHOX

This Baraboo, WI native band created a masterpiece with the incorporation of instrumental breaks. Perfect song when you’re taking a break from school XD


“Lamplighter” The Saxophones

The Saxophones are the quintessential Fall band. They encompass jazz, indie, and folk all into one while bringing in various instruments. It would be a crime not to include a song from them on this playlist


“Uncle Albert / Admiral Halsey – Melody” Paul McCartney and Linda McCartney

The changing of melodies is a perfect serenade for the changing leaves. I also listened to this song a lot during the Spring semester when I would be unproductive. I plan on doing the same thing this Fall. I’m so sorry Uncle Albert 🙁


“Lifetime” Noah and the Whales

The hook at the beginning will reel you in, but the story the lyrics tell will have this song blasting through your speakers when you need to channel your alter ego.


“No More Shows” Nate Henricks

The wonderful beat produced by their bass at the beginning and the change in rhythm as the song progresses makes every second enjoyable.


“Sunny Side of Heaven” Fleetwood Mac

An instrumental piece composed by the band’s early guitarist Danny Kirwan. I’d call this song paradox because it is one of the saddest, yet blissful songs out there. It’s like the one gap in the clouds on a rainy day that lets a little sunlight in. 


“As We Go Along” The Monkees

Maybe I’m hanging out with my mom too much, but this is an underrated classic. Written by Carole King and Toni Stern; it is one of the prettiest and most complicated vocals by Micky Dolenz.


“Frames” Aubrey Key

Another song that’s rhythm changes as the song progresses, I would love to try and time out the change with the walk signs. For example, have it change from the little man to the flashing hand right as the song shifts.


“I Paint a Design” Michael Hurley

Buckle up, this song will put a smile on your face. This song and the artist remind me of the music my elementary school teacher would play. 


“Don’t Let the Good Life Pass You By” Cass Elliot

Mama Cass becomes a surrogate mom to all the listeners and tells us to romanticize all the tiny details that go into this beautiful life. Being back finally in the classroom, I can’t help but have a new sense of gratitude like the one sung about.