Movin' Out: A playlist for students leaving home for the first time
With move-in dates finally here, this playlist captures the bittersweetness of saying goodbye
This fall semester is unique with nearly half of the American University undergraduate class moving out of their childhood homes for the first time. While it may be an adjustment, many students are eager to have the full college experience and meet friends they’ve only seen through a screen.
Whether you are driving or flying to D.C. in less than two weeks, this Spotify playlist has all the songs you need for the drive into the next chapter.
“Learn to Fly:” Foo Fighters
This classic from the Foo Fighters’ 1999 album features inspirational lyrics about settling into the next phase of your life. With an upbeat tempo, lead vocalist Dave Grohl sings about stepping into a new chapter of life and gaining independence: “Make my way back home when I learn to fly.” Learning to fly is an apt metaphor for leaving the “nest,” or the familiarity of home.
“Breakaway:” Kelly Clarkson
This 2004 pop anthem encourages risk-taking and leaving behind a small town for something larger. For the freshmen and some sophomores, moving to AU will be their first major transition, and “Breakaway” perfectly sums up that experience.
“Landslide:” Fleetwood Mac
In the early 70s, Stevie Nicks wrote “Landslide” about life’s changes and challenges. The song echoes the worries a new college student might have: “Well I’ve been afraid of changin’ / ‘Cause I built my life around you.” It is normal to be apprehensive about moving to a new place away from our family and everything we know. Nicks also sings, “children get older,” which is a reminder of growing up.
“Should I Stay or Should I Go:” The Clash
With a catchy guitar riff, English punk rock band The Clash encapsulates the indecisiveness of someone faced with an important decision. Some AU students may be unsure about making the big move. In 2020, many new students grappled with the difficult choice between beginning college online or taking a gap year, so the chorus “Should I stay or should I go now?” could accurately represent some of your thought processes.
“Movin’ Out (Anthony’s Song):” Billy Joel
From Billy Joel’s 1977 album The Stranger, “Movin’ Out” highlights the singer’s distaste with the overly capitalistic approach of working long hours to afford luxurious things. He disagrees with this upwardly mobile way of life and is thus “movin’ out” to pursue his own dreams. Close to the end of the recording is the sound of a car starting up and driving away, which is comparable to a college student getting into a car to begin a new chapter.
“Hey Look Ma, I Made It:” Panic! At The Disco
“Hey Look Ma, I Made It” is a cheery blend of pop and alternative indie from Panic! at the Disco. While lead vocalist Brendon Urie sings of his rise to success in the music industry, the song could easily be applied to someone who has just been dropped off at college. “Hey Look Ma, I Made It” captures the pride attached to beginning a new phase of your life and attaining a higher education.
From pop to rock to alternative, all of these tunes relate to leaving the old and starting afresh.