Welcome back, Boxers, to our first playlist for the 2021-22 school year. On this week’s Index Staff Playlist, the Index staff share songs that capture the experience of returning to a new normal.

“Eternal Light” by Free Nationals and Chronixx

For me, coming back to campus was an experience I wanted to keep relaxed and easy. After spending the summer in Florida, I was excited to get back to the PNW where I belong and was determined to make the transition as chill as possible. While that didn’t end up happening the way I’d hoped, this song definitely helped a lot. “Eternal Light” is a collaboration between reggae artist Chronixx and the Free Nationals, whose style reflects Anderso. Paak, Kali Uchis, and at points Black Pumas. The song is, first and foremost, about cultivating positive energy and allowing music to bring in good vibes. The melody contains prominent bass, a steady, unchanging beat, and accented lyrics: all characteristic to a reggae song. But the Free Nationals also found a way to fuse stylistic elements of R&B with subtle alt/indie background synth. It’s a whole chill, relaxed back-to-school vibe. — Isabelle Williams

Antonymph” by Vylet Pony

I was a brony in seventh grade. I had some WeLoveFine shirts, I read Equestria Daily, I watched the Season Two premiere live, the whole kit and caboodle. Seventh grade was also one of the two worst years of my life. I was relentlessly bullied by a class who knew I was gay before I had fallen in love.

That makes “CUTIEMARKS (And The Things That Bind Us)” a life-affirming album for me. It’s a vulnerable manifesto about finally rediscovering the beauty of the world from the other side of trauma while reuniting me with one of the online cultures that kept me afloat while I was being traumatized. But the standout track is undoubtedly “ANTONYMPH”. It’s a celebration of the young internet, using its memes and dance pop-styled auditory grammar to pull layers of irony off the listener like dead skin. The second verse’s dynamic four-to-the-floor build-up ebbs and flows, effortlessly shuffling over cringe culture’s corpse all the way to an unironic sample of Skype’s incoming call sound and a wildly cathartic explosion of joy. The counterculture has some fur on it now, the song says to me, and it’s so ready to be hopeful. It’s hard to disagree.

Cutiemarks suck. “CUTIEMARKS” is my album of the year. — Quint Iverson

“Meet Me At Our Spot” by The Anxiety, Willow, and Tyler Cole

After coming back to in-person classes, I’m starting to feel that pre-pandemic nostalgia as we adjust to our new normal. I’m sure that the majority of gen-z and millennials have given into downloading Tik Tok at some point over quarantine, I think it’s a hotspot for new music. “Meet Me At Our Spot” by The Anxiety and Willow has been trending, and as someone who has anxiety, I’m here for it. It captures exactly how I’m feeling, wanting to meet up with friends from the past at our old favorite hangout spots. The pandemic has surely shifted the world with back-to-back restrictions, but this song is perfect for those long drives on the back roads of Forest Grove or just to chill in your dorm; it’s catchy, it’s loud, it’s art, and it’s a vibe. — Ashley Meza

Student Life Editor | + posts

Ashley Meza was born and raised in Portland and is a senior studying journalism. She is currently the student life section editor and hosts the Index Podcast. She holds the DACA Coordinator position at the Student Multicultural Center and enjoys making short films in her free time.

Editor-in-Chief / News Editor | + posts

Isabelle Williams is a junior at Pacific University who is majoring in Journalism and minoring in Theatre. She is from Astoria, Oregon, and enjoys writing about music and entertainment as well as investigative reporting.

Writer | + posts

Quint Iverson is a rising senior at Pacific University, taking a leave of absence due to the COVID-19 pandemic. He is a major in Film and Journalism who enjoys writing about arts and entertainment.

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