The Perfect Back to School Playlist for Your Summer Nostalgia Needs

back to school playlist

Welcome back to school! Bonne rentrée ! Whether you’re a student, teacher, parent, or school employee it’s the time of the year when we say goodbye to the pool days and hello to the well, you know! Here’s a Back to School playlist for those early mornings, late-night study hours, and some well-deserved carpool karaoke Starbucks runs. Let’s take a look at some of the ‘so-long-sweet-summer’ tracks featured on this playlist!

“Miss Americana & The Heartbreak Prince” by Taylor Swift

Taylor released her 7th album as a rather strategic finale to summer days sending you back to school with some singalong anthems. “Miss Americana & The Heartbreak Prince” sounds like a trip down memory lane to walking the halls on the first day of school. As Taylor chants out, “GO!” “FIGHT!” “WIN!” throughout the song, you get the impression that you are sitting sideline at a fall football game.

“People” by The 1975

With an opening line like “Wake up, wake up, wake up, it’s Monday morning, and we’ve only got a thousand of them left,” this track is practically a personal alarm clock. Now, I must say, while this track is not entirely off-brand for The 1975, it is not an easy-listening tune for the masses. The band took several risks with “People.” They ultimately go back to their roots by adding more of an early 2000s punk influence. If you listen intently to the lyrics, you will find that it is a wake-up call on many levels.

“Do You Remember?” by Chance the Rapper and Death Cab for Cutie

This song screams nostalgia. I think that anyone can relate to the idea of being younger and feeling as though summer would never end. The Death Cab for Cutie feature caught me by surprise on this track. The collaboration of these artists paints the perfect ‘summer-coming-to-an-end’ picture. If you are a Death Cab fan, it adds to their summer song repertoire (Summer Skin, Summer Years). It’s bittersweet, yet optimistic. Check out the rest of this album from Chance. I guarantee that there is a collaboration for everyone.

“Nostalgic” by A R I Z O N A

Okay, we may have a theme here. While this early June release features those familiar ‘woah-oh-oh’ choruses from A R I Z O N A, it strips back their usual dance anthemic sound. The reflective lyrics and repetitive beats evoke clear images of driving down a backroad with the windows down.

“She Plays Bass” by Beabadoobee

The Dirty Hit artist and alternative/indie songwriter, “bee-ah-ba-ba-doo-bee” has done it again. Soothing vocals over poignant yet straightforward lyrics will calm your mind after a long day. Hold off for the unexpected outro, and you will hear an entirely different side of the song.

Enjoy this Back to School Playlist! Good luck, kids, parents, teachers & school employees!

Hopscotch Music Festival 2019: Lineup Playlist

Raleigh’s own Hopscotch Music Festival is back for year ten September 5th-7th. Rolling Stone denoted Hopscotch as having, “an extraordinarily cool roster of bands with a Mardi Gras-like atmosphere.” With most recent years featuring acts like Gary Clark Jr., Young Thug, Vince Staples, Anderson .Paak & The Free Nationals, Solange, Lizzo, The Revolution, Nile Rodgers & Chic, and Miguel, I would say it’s about time to pay attention.

This year’s lineup has some real stand-out acts at first glance. It is clear to see that Hopscotch Music Festival is building their name and becoming a must-watch scene for up-and-coming artists. Let’s take a look at some artists to watch from this year’s lineup.

Snail Mail: Thursday 9/5

Lindsey Jordan, or better known as the alternative one-woman act Snail Mail, is headed for the City Plaza stage. Her songs have a very chill yet punk sound. She reminds me of Soccer Mommy with her raspy voice and ’90s grunge music style. Her songs “Pristine” and “The 2nd Most Beautiful Girl in the World” will take you back to ’90s teen angst movie soundtracks and artists like Liz Phair or Fiona Apple.

Kurt Vile & The Violators: Thursday 9/5

You may be familiar with Kurt Vile as the former lead guitarist from The War on Drugs. Indie-rock singer-songwriter Kurt and his band, The Violators, are back to play their second Hopscotch set. Songs like “Wakin On a Pretty Day” and “I’m an Outlaw” are tailor-made for folk, indie, rock, or country music fans alike.

James Blake: Friday 9/6

This guy is everywhere! I was very excited to see that James Blake is headlining Hopscotch. He is an act that has popped up so many times on my Twitter feed and recommended artists. “Retrograde” is one of those songs that builds so much it slaps you in the face with its power. I have a soft spot for “Limit To Your Love” which is a mostly piano-based track as opposed to his usual electro style. Overall, there is a lot to say about this artist, and he is one you will not want to miss!

Raphael Saadiq: Saturday 9/6

Raphael Saadiq will be playing at City Plaza on Saturday. His most recent release, “Something Keeps Calling,” ft. Rob Bacon is a song with emotional vocals that will cut through on first listen. Oo la la! Vocalist and bass guitarist for the R&B group Tony! Toni! Toné!, Saadiq has also produced songs for iconic artists including Whitney Houston and John Legend.

Phantogram: Saturday 9/7

Can we now agree that this lineup is stacked? And, we haven’t even discussed the undercard yet. Phantogram is a dream pop (I think that genre best describes their music) duo that you have likely heard before. Their hit “You Don’t Get Me High Anymore” is their most well-known tune. Check out the music video that they released yesterday for “Into Happiness” for a taste of what you can expect at Hopscotch.

CHVRCHES: Saturday 9/7

Ultimate. Festival. Band. Headlining. HopScotch. This band is going to be so much fun at Red Hat on a Saturday night. I have mentioned CHVRCHES recently because of their pump-up Coachella set this past spring. Their songs are so irresistible with easy-to-learn lyrics that get embedded in your brain. Some crowd favorites are “The Mother We Share,” “Miracle,” “Leave a Trace,” and “Get Out.”

Here is a shortlist of other MUST-KNOW artists on the lineup by genre:

Thursday 9/5: Joey Purp (Hip Hop), Yowler (Alt/Indie), David Nance Group (Alt/Indie), Lucy Dacus (Indie Rock), Tomberlin (Folk)

Friday 9/6: Tyler Ramsey (former lead guitarist from Band of Horses!), Deerhunter (Indie Rock), Channel Tres (Dance/Electronic), The Waston Twins (Alt Country), Ryley Walker (Indie Folk/Blues)

Saturday 9/7: Cate Le Bon (Folk/Pop), Daughter of Swords (Folk), Boogarins (Psychedelic Rock), Matt Martians (Southern Hip Hop), Kelsey Waldon (Country)

Chasing Music Goosebumps

Music Goosebumps

Have you ever gotten goosebumps the first time you heard a song? I’m talking within the opening 30 to 60 seconds of the song. Like, you know right away that it’s a song that speaks to you. Something about it strikes you instantly whether it’s the chords, the emotion it evokes, or the lyrics. You look up the artist, download it, and frantically listen to the rest of their discography. Well, this is me, chasing music goosebumps every day.


I’m sure you’ve heard a song that has given you goosebumps upon first listen. Immediately you want to learn all of the words and scream it from the top of your lungs and share it with everyone you know. Some of these songs can evoke the same feeling no matter how many times you listen to them. My all-time “music goosebumps” songs include “Robbers,” by The 1975, “Konstantine,” by Something Corporate, “Thunder,” by Boys Like Girls, “Give Me Love,” by Ed Sheeran, “Out of the Woods,” by Taylor Swift, and “Your Own Disaster” by Taking Back Sunday. What about you?


As I listen to new artists and new songs, I always try to find music that captures that same feeling. You might be listening to the radio or a new album when suddenly a track pops up and speaks to you more than the others. Or, you can throw on a random playlist and WHAM! (not the band), one catches you by surprise, and you are spiraling down the rabbit hole of discovering a new artist. Something about that song made you stop and take a minute to look up the artist, download it, or add it to your library.


This time of the year is always the best time to discover music for me as a teacher. I have more time over the summer to pay attention to and to listen to new artists. Here are a couple of recent tracks that I looooved on first listen that fell into the music goosebumps category. You can check out all of the artists on their Spotify pages linked below.

Nothing to Say by Wilmah

Let me tell you about this song! It’s perfect if you are into early 2000’s pop/punk (TBS, Brand New, All Time Low) meets The 1975 and LANY. However, it’s the deep cut; it’s the emo ballad-like song of those albums. OMG, it’s so good you might cry. Lyrics, boys, yes! I’m listening to it now, and I need to stop fangirling. Just check them out.

Time by Angelo De Augustine

This whole album is a gem. He has a Bon Iver vibe on this song, but the lyrics and storytelling are reminiscent of Van Morrison. This song has a childlike vibe and will make you feel nostalgic even if you have never heard it. The songwriting is stunning, “I’ll keep on lovin’, someday she’ll love me, I’ll love you for free…” I immediately listened to the entire album and bought it on vinyl.

After Rain by Dermot Kennedy

Not recent but this might be up there with one of the best songs I have ever heard live. He’s even better in person. This song has so much emotion and conviction. The song builds and builds. I don’t think he or anyone in the crowd takes a breath when it gets to the last verse. Then everyone sings back, “You won’t go lonely, yeah.” You may cry again. Check out his new tracks “Lost” & “Outnumbered” as well.

Wild by The Japanese House

Amber is amaaazing. Thanks, Dirty Hit for spoiling us with the best artists. This song will give you “Still” (2015) vibes, and I love it! Upon first listen on BBC Radio 1, (thanks Zane Lowe), she reminded me so much of Imogen Heap. I didn’t know I had been missing that vibe in my life since first hearing “Hide and Seek” (2005). Amber is a remarkable lyricist and also produces her tracks alongside George Daniel of The 1975. So much talent!

Better Luck Next Time by Kelsea Ballerini

This song was written by Darius Coleman and featured on the new NBC series Songland. If you are into songwriting and lyrics, check this show out. Kelsea Ballerini fell in love with this song on the show, and her recorded version of it sounds soooo good. It’s a perfect breakup track. Darius also has his own thing going on and just released a new single “High of U.”

Sanctuary by Joji

Immediate goosebumps! What is this, and where did it come from!? Go. Listen. Now. “Cause I’ve been aiming for heaven above but an angel ain’t what I need.” *Plays it on repeat for the entire month & memorizes all of the lyrics.*

Resolution by SAFIA

This song has a similar vibe to “Sanctuary” but reminds me more of Years & Years or Mansionair. These last two tracks are from Billie Eilish’s “Left Front” playlist. So, thanks, Billie, and now cue the gospel choir.


So, it’s safe to say that I’ve yelled enough about some new favorite songs and it’s time to give it all a listen. Check out the ‘Forever Goosebumps’ playlist below to experience it for yourself. Not your jams? Make your own goosebumps playlist and start adding those new tunes.

What are some of your go-to music goosebumps songs? Anything new that I NEED to listen to right now?