Sign that says “music” outside of the Music Building on campus.

A Music Major’s Playlist

By Jessie Bonner
Music Journalist

Every person has a favorite song. You know, that one song that you can never bring yourself to skip, the song that makes you tear up involuntarily, the song that you sing shamelessly at the top of your lungs. I wanted to ask a few people what their favorite song is but since there are so many people I could ask about their favorite song, I needed to narrow down my choices a bit. As someone who has many friends in the school of music, I thought to myself, “who knows more about music than a music major?” Suddenly, this playlist was brought to life.

“Through the Fire” by Chaka Khan

Gustavo Vasquez, a junior pursuing a degree in music studies, claimed this as his favorite song. He loves it because he “really like[s] ‘80s [music] and…the instruments and music produced have a great balance of nostalgia and a unique sound.” Upon listening to this song myself, I have to say I can see why Vasquez likes it so much. It has a nice ‘80s slow pop sound and since I’m a huge fan of love songs, I was attracted to this one by the end of the first verse.

“Niggun of the Alter Rebbe” by Richard Kaplan

Music performance junior, James Adamson, chose this sacred Jewish song as his favorite. It is completely vocal – the only instrument is Kaplan’s voice. Adamson says he “heard [this song] in a show and really enjoyed it. It sounds perfect.”

“Sunday Best” by Surfaces

Paiton Seals is a vocal performance sophomore minoring in opera; her favorite song is “Sunday Best.” It has a funky piano intro and uplifting lyrics, such as “everyone falls down sometimes, but you just gotta know it’ll all be fine.” Seals likes this song because “it’s upbeat and gets [her] in a really good mood.” With a dance-worthy beat and lyrics like these, it would be hard not to be in a good mood while listening to this!

“Right Back” by Khalid and A Boogie Wit Da Hoodie

Madison Merritt, a music studies junior, chose this as her favorite song. Khalid is widely popular, so seeing him on this list wasn’t surprising to me at all. She loves this song “because it has a nice beat in the background that just makes you want to groove.” The synth beats and Khalid’s smooth voice make for a perfect song to groove to.

“The Transfiguration” by Sufjan Stevens

This soft, indie-folk song is the favorite of senior Sean Eure. He loves it “because of the orchestration contrasting the banjo with the horns…and how it sheds light on the bible story of the same name.” I had never listened to Stevens before and was pleasantly surprised by how soothing and soft his voice was. This paired with the minimal instrumentation makes a very relaxing and sweet sounding song.

“To Build a Home’ by The Cinematic Orchestra

Junior Izreal “Izzy” Robledo calls this his favorite song and it isn’t hard to see why. The beautiful piano combined with the lead singers angelic voice could bring anyone to tears. Robledo loves this song because “it is…filled with pure emotion and causes a cascade of feelings. The growth…throughout the piece allows for the development of feelings [ending in] a melancholy feeling.”

“Goodbye Yellow Brick Road” by Elton John (Sara Bareilles cover)

Brittney McKinney, a vocal performance major and opera minor, is a huge fan of Sara Bareilles’ arrangement of John’s “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road.” She loves Bareilles’ voice, and can tell that “she has a trained voice and how creative she is…as well as how she keeps the integrity of Elton John’s version while making it her own.” She also loves the way the song starts out very soft, but builds and becomes more powerful and meaningful as the song goes on.

Obviously, there is a very unique blend of music genres in here. I personally have added a couple of these to my own playlist! If you’ve been stuck in a music rut lately or have been wanting to expand your music taste, then hopefully one or two of these songs will land in yours.

Featured image by Jessie Bonner.

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