The Chronicle Playlist: Cut to the Springtime Feeling


Justin Prather

(Photo by Justin Prather | The Daily Utah Chronicle).

By Heather Graham, Assistant Copy Chief, Arts Writer


After the lull and quiet of winter frost, the first signs of spring always make me eager to blossom and explore. Color, growth, adventure, love and new beginnings are all things that seem possible as springtime stretches its sleepy legs and wraps the world in its embrace. This year, spring promises even more as COVID cases begin to dip and vaccinations increase — a light at the end of the tunnel is finally visible. While the pandemic is not quite over and Utah weather still leaves little kisses of winter throughout the season, my springtime playlist is overflowing with hopeful lyrics, upbeat melodies, driving beats and the invitation to dance, drive, love and sing with all that you’ve got. 

“Bright Spring Morning” – Suburban Legends

This track from California ska band Suburban Legends combines bouncy verses and a driving chorus with a vibrant horn section and distorted punk guitars and drums. This song encourages you to roll down the windows and drive, without destination or expectation. For me, this is exactly what I crave when the snow starts to melt. 

“Hollywood” – Collective Soul

Hollywood” comes off the seventh studio album, “Afterwords,” from rock band Collective Soul and employs a lot of the distorted guitars and raspy grunge-rock vocals that the band has relied on since the early ’90s. This track has a driving tempo and a catchy chorus that gives it a ton of energy and makes it a fun addition to a spring playlist. I’m also personally a fan of the guitar tone on the short solo. 

“ME!” (feat. Brendon Urie) – Taylor Swift 

Driven by a marching band drumline, this bubblegum, synth-pop song is uplifting and energetic. This was Taylor Swift’s first single after signing with Republic Records and features Brendon Urie from Panic! At The Disco. The song is catchy and empowering and the kind of song that the stans, fans and casual listeners can all enjoy. 

“American Boy” (feat. Kanye West) – Estelle

“American Boy” is a Grammy award-winning song by British singer and rapper Estelle featuring American rapper Kanye West. A Fortnite-themed parody called “Chug Jug with You” has absolutely saturated TikTok in 2021, putting both versions of the song promptly in my songs-that-get-stuck-in-my-head-out-of-nowhere list. The parody, while fun and creative, just makes me crave the original, giving it a warranted space on my playlist. 

“The Wire” – HAIM

The Wire” is the fourth single from American rock band HAIM’s debut studio album, “Days Are Gone.” The drums on this song give it a comfortable and happy groove that feels like a friendly hug. The steady rhythm of this track, paired with the “yeah”s and “hey”s in the chorus and the instrumental embellishments through the bridge and fade-out really give this song a unique and poignant presence.

“Rhythm of Your Heart” – Marianas Trench

Marianas Trench has a wonderful habit of releasing non-album singles between full albums and this track, falling in the lull between concept records “Astoria” and “Phantoms,” employs all the masterful production and instrumentation that the band is known for. It has an upbeat synth line and resonating drum riff that make this track a super catchy love song.

“Never Really Over” – Katy Perry

From her sixth studio album “Smile” and inspired by Norwegian singer Dagny’s “Love You Like That,” this pop song hints at nostalgic hope for old love with the accompaniment of a great electropop chorus. This is the kind of song that gets stuck in my head for days.

“Tomorrow” (feat. Jason Lancaster) – Set It Off

This song has a good sing-along hook and steady bass-driven beat, making it a solid choice for spring. The lyrics are optimistic and the guest feature adds a nice layer of vocal texture on the bridge. During pre-pandemic tour meet and greets, singer Cody Carson would often explain how “Tomorrow” is a companion song, complete with twin chord progressions and key changes, to “Dream Catcher” from their debut full-length release “Cinematics,” adding further to the skillful craftsmanship of the tune. 

“Runaway” – Against The Current

“Runaway” uses a pretty neat fading sweep into the song, delivering you right into a syncopated drumbeat and funky guitar riff. The track was included on the band’s debut full-length album “In Our Bones” and is one of my favorites to turn up loud in my car.

“Cut To The Feeling” – Carly Rae Jepsen

If you are one of the many people who wrote Carly Rae Jepsen off after the success of the infectious “Call Me Maybe,” you need to grab your headphones and hit play on this track and everything else that this talented artist is putting out into the world. Jepsen is the queen of the catchy chorus and euphoric hook, and it shows in this catchy track about big love and infatuation.

(Bonus Track) “POP 101” – Marianas Trench

I know I’ve already got a Marianas Trench track on this playlist, but this non-album single from the band is the best playlist bonus imaginable. “Professor” Josh Ramsay (lead singer) will teach you the finer points and tropes of the pop music genre in this ridiculously sing-along-able song. This educational track is the perfect addition to any playlist.

For me, these songs burst with energy and life and really make me want to sing and celebrate the change in the seasons. You can check out the playlist on Spotify here.


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