The University of Vermont's Independent Voice Since 1883

The Vermont Cynic

The University of Vermont's Independent Voice Since 1883

The Vermont Cynic

The University of Vermont's Independent Voice Since 1883

The Vermont Cynic

Staff Recommends: Best songs to get you through change

Molly Parker
Molly’s illi for the culture music rec column

As a staff with exceptional music taste, we have decided to bestow upon the greater UVM population songs that help through the most transition-riddled times.

So, next time you’re in the middle of a big change, reference this column for our expert advice. 

“Oops!…I Did It Again” by Britney Spears — Agnes Shales

There is truly no problem that a good pep-up 2000s song can’t help solve, and Britney Spears has some of the most perfect and iconic of the genre. Catchy, fun and pop-y: there’s not much more you could want from an artist.

There is a strange invincible feeling that comes along when “Oops!…I Did It Again” blasts through your headphones or ricochets through your dorm. 

I recommend it to lift a bad mood or to hype you up on your walk to a morning class. Spears has gotten me through more near-breakdown moments than I would like to admit. You physically cannot cry while listening to this song. 

In the time of starting classes, meeting new people and changing schedules, we could all use some electro-pop energy. 

“9 to 5” by Dolly Parton — Keely Ehnstrom 

Nothing is more relatable for a college student transitioning back to school than the opening lines from Dolly Parton’s “9 to 5.”

The lyrics capture my daily morning routine where I, “tumble out of bed, stumble to the kitchen, pour myself a cup of ambition, stretch and yawn and try to come to life.”   

Getting back into the swing of things can be tough, so pour yourself a cup of ambition, throw on your headphones and queue “9 to 5” on your morning walk to class to get motivated for the long day ahead.

This song should be the next anthem for college students with big dreams who are constantly on the grind. 

We are all versions of Dolly Parton working hard to achieve our dreams, and someday we will. In the meantime, the song “9 to 5” will have to do.

“You’re Gonna Go Far” by Noah Kahan — Sophie Williams

Sometimes the best cure for post-syllabus week homesickness is truly a good cry and a gentle reminder that all will be okay. 

A delicate ensemble of guitar strums and soft drums, which backdrop the song’s poetic message, make for the perfect soundtrack to your first dorm cry. 

The bittersweet realization that you’re leaving what you know behind is perfectly captured by Noah’s reassuring words: “We ain’t angry at you love, you’re the greatest thing we’ve lost.”

Whether it’s your first or final year, this song will tug at your heartstrings and, at least, result in a tear or two, because we can all use a reminder that change may just be what we need—no matter how hard it may seem. 

“One Day” by Sharon Van Etten — Charlotte Dodds

When we’re feeling all the feelings that go with a period of change—for example, starting college, or even the changing of the seasons—it’s nice to have those comforting things we know we can always turn to. 

That might be a good friend, a favorite TV show, book, a particular song or maybe a whole playlist that always makes you feel at home. 

Let me introduce you to the song “One Day” by the powerful guitarist Sharon Van Etten. I know we were talking about our old comforts, but when so much is changing, throwing a new song into the mix can’t hurt. 

Here’s the point: “One Day” is the song to carry you through change, especially change that feels difficult or heavy. Through the repeating lyric “one day I’ll be fine with that”, Van Etten is reminding herself—and us—that it will all turn out okay. 

On top of her reassuring lyrics, Van Etten has created an earthy song that feels like it could lead you straight to an apple pie fresh out of the oven—there is an overwhelming sense of coziness that permeates the track. 

Listen to “One Day” and let Van Etten carry you through it all, because “one day” it will all really be alright. You’ve got this. 

“When The Morning Comes” by Daryl Hall and John Oates — Nora Sissenich

Big transitions in life can feel like you’re floating in a sea of uncertainty. 

When I’m feeling that way, the songs I turn to are ones that feel like they calm the waters for a moment. They’re songs that feel familiar, songs that make me feel comforted and songs that remind me that everything will be okay. 

That’s what “When The Morning Comes” is for me. This song is chill, breezy and unrushed, like the feeling when you’re leaving your last class on a Friday afternoon, with smooth sunny vocals and a steady melody.

I first came across the song in a rom-com soundtrack on a plane over the Atlantic and it’s stuck with me ever since. 

When life feels turbulent, it’s easy to feel like things will never feel alright again. But songs like this are a reminder that I’ve made it through hard times before and been okay, and this is no exception.

If you’re feeling unmoored—for whatever reason—remember: it’ll be alright when the morning comes. Maybe it won’t happen quite so soon, but we’ll all be okay.

 “Landslide” by Fleetwood Mac — Carolyn Kelly

One of the ultimate songs of transition, “Landslide” is an acoustic song written by Stevie Nicks. It embodies all the bittersweetness and self-reflection that accompany moments of profound change in our lives. 

A staple in the music library of many generations—maybe even you—the poetic lyrics strike a chord with most listeners. We can all relate to growing up, getting older and parting from people we care or have cared for. 

As we sail through the changing ocean tides and accumulate new life experiences with time, the sentiment behind the lyrics can resonate with us in new and different ways. 

It is important to remember that, “time makes you bolder,” and we can grow through reflections on our pasts.  

“Landslide” is a timeless classic, capable of inducing a healthy state of nostalgia, while at the same time encouraging an appreciation for the beauty of this moment which, years down the line, will be its own memory to ponder while the tune of “Landslide” plays in our ears.   

“Roots before Branches” by Room for Two — Peyton Paquette

If the world seems like it’s spinning around you and college life is making you feel disoriented and stressed, the powerful melody of “Roots before Branches” can provide you with the support you need to get through this exciting, yet nerve-wracking chapter of your life. 

The song invokes feelings of self-discovery, including the pretty and the ugly, but most importantly, exclaims the importance of keeping oneself grounded through times of change in order for us to have “faith to take chances.”

As the song title states, we must have, “roots before branches.” Without being able to embrace who we are and who we used to be, there’s no way for us to grow further beyond our present selves. 

As Room for Two put it, “there’s always a seed before a rose.” So if you feel like a sapling in the ground or that you can’t get through it, remember that you’ll always have your roots as you branch out into this big, beautiful world.

“Depreston” by Courtney Barnett — Will Hamilton 

Big transitions are not always as world-altering or as instantaneous as we’d hope them to be. Rather, adapting to change is oftentimes a cruelly slow and taxing process. 

No song better encapsulates this truth to me than “Depreston” by Courtney Barnett.

It follows the Aussie singer as she goes house-hunting in a new and unfamiliar city. Regardless of the significant change attached to this event, Barnett is clearly bored by the whole ordeal. 

As she starts to daydream, her focus wanders onto random things she sees in the house: containers of coffee, shower handrails and old family photos, to name a few. 

Despite the mundane nature of these items, they bring the singer a cathartic sensation, causing the lyrics to trail off as an airy mix of jangling guitars and rhythmic drums to take over. 

For those starting their first semester at college or turning over any new leaf in life, it’s easy to feel an obligation to be engaged and active 100% of the time. As you’ll soon find, it’s nearly impossible to uphold this. 

When the time comes and when you feel burned out, turn to this song, which suggests appreciating the small things as a way of escaping the big pressures of change. With this advice and the song’s beautiful and relaxing tone, you’re well-prepared for whatever life throws you.


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About the Contributors
Molly Parker
Molly Parker, Illustrations Editor
(She/her) Molly Parker is a senior studio art and anthropology double major from Hopedale, Mass. She had been a member of the illustrations team since the spring of 2020 before becoming editor of the section in the spring of 2023. Molly also creates prints and zines that she displays in the Burlington area as well as her hometown. Apart from illustrating and creating art, she loves watching horror movies, cooking and crocheting. Email [email protected] to get in contact with Molly.