Arts & Entertainment, Features, Local

‘The Sound of Boston University’ provides 100-song snapshot into life at BU

Asking the average Terrier what sound they associate with their Boston University experience would likely elicit an extreme range of responses — from the rumbling construction on East campus to the ambient traffic of the BU Beach to the pop beats sporadically blaring on Nickerson Field during practice.

the sound of boston university playlist on spotify
“The Sound of Boston University” Playlist. While the playlist is curated to suit the music tastes of BU students, some feel it is not representative of all music interests. ILLUSTRATION BY HANNAH YOSHINAGA/ DAILY FREE PRESS STAFF

Despite each likely unique answer, The Sounds of Spotify Schools recently curated an eclectic answer: a Spotify playlist titled “The Sound of Boston University.”

The playlist includes “crushes and discoveries from Boston University, according to student listening patterns and math,” according to the description on the streaming platform.

The playlist currently has 100 songs — or nearly six hours of music — and more than 360 likes. It was curated by “The Sounds of Spotify Schools,” an account with more than 3,300 public playlists for universities and colleges around the world.

Songs featured on the playlist range from Maggie Rogers to Dominic Fike to Mac Miller and even more in between. Moods from somber Phoebe Bridgers’ “Motion Sickness” and upbeat-melancholy of Garrett’s “clandestine sadness” to the nostalgic Aly & AJ’s “Potential Breakup Song” — the new explicit version — and Sammy Adams’ “All Night Longer” are just a sampling of the list.

The playlist was created this year, with the earliest songs added Jan. 1 and the most recent ones added just days ago.

Spanning genres from alt-country, indie, alternative, rap and pop, and multiple languages, the playlist’s snapshot is far-reaching — though undoubtedly eclectic.

While “The Sound of Boston University” may have a long way to go in terms of representing all students, it does strike a chord with Terriers.

But for Sofia Hernandez, a junior in the College of Arts and Sciences, the playlist doesn’t quite capture her on-campus listening habits, but she enjoyed checking it out.

“I’m familiar with the Latino community in BU, and I know they don’t really listen to these types of songs,” Hernandez said, “but I mean, I liked it overall.”

Hernadez said her favorite song on the playlist is “Saw You in a Dream” by The Japanese House. But she said the song “Sunday Candy” by Donnie Trumpet & The Social Experiment, a dancey feel-good track, on the playlist transports her back to freshman year.

“I would listen to it freshman year on Sundays with my roommate,” she said. “Especially when it was sunny out and we would go out and just listen to it on the BU beach.”

Hernandez is not the only student at BU who resonates with the song “Sunday Candy” — Ruhi Sohal, also a CAS junior, said the song reminded her of a very similar experience on the Charles River Campus.

“It just reminded me of spending time at the BU Beach with my friends,” she said. “The first day of spring, when it’s warm after a long period of coldness and you go outside. ‘Sunday Candy’ captured that kind of feeling for me.”

However if it were up to Sohal, she said she would add more upbeat songs to match the campus’s high-energy social scene.

“[Add] more mainstream songs or more upbeat songs and rap and stuff like that,” she said. “I think that would capture more of the weekend, especially night, energy for me … I think those kind of high-intensity songs capture that a bit.”

Even though Hernandez does have her own critiques of the playlist, she enjoyed listening to it.

“Just personally, I really like the songs, because they kind of go with the same vibe that I like,” she said. “I really liked that.”

Neha Shabeer, a sophomore in CAS, said she discovered the playlist through TikTok in late February.

“I thought it was just the coolest thing,” Shabeer said. “I was super excited, I posted on my Instagram story and everything.”

Shabeer said the playlist’s “bedroom pop, indie, R&B sort of feel,” is accurate to what students listen to. This playlist, she said, is representative not of large pre-pandemic parties or events, but the simple act of walking down Commonwealth Avenue.

“[When] a lot of students and kids think about college, they think about the frat basement songs and they associate that with their college, and that’s not necessarily what this playlist is,” she said. “But I think it shows the range and the type of music that me and my friends and other students at BU enjoy.”

The playlist, she said, shows a different side of BU: one made up of the occasional “moody” listening spree, each Terrier’s soundtrack for solo strolls down the street and achieving “calm in the midst of city life.”

“Most of us like that chill sort of music,” she said, “which is just really beautiful to listen to while you’re walking down Comm Ave. and just trying to feel like the main character.”

Though the playlist illustrates the universality of music, she said it reminds her of exchanging songs with BU friends and discovering new music. The playlist, she said, is another example of uniting the community.

“Even while we are very diverse, I think there is this commonality in a lot of the music that we enjoy listening to,” she said, “which I think is very cool, I think music can really bring us together.”

Lily Kepner contributed to the reporting of this article.

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