Massachusetts Daily Collegian

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

Massachusetts Daily Collegian

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

Massachusetts Daily Collegian

End-of-semester playlist

Must-listen tracks released during the fall semester, as selected by the Collegian staff
Graphic by Joey Lorant.

“Slugs” by Slow Pulp

Thomas Machacz

Three years after the release of their achingly honest album “Moveys,” bedroom pop darlings Slow Pulp are back, and maybe better than ever. “Slugs,” a track off of their new album, “Yard,” is an airy and simply sweet ode to giving that relationship another go. Released at the tail end of September, the song perfectly captures that yearning to go back to the uncomplicated joy of summer. It’s also an absolute earworm, complete with distorted guitars and an irresistible looping vocal motif. “Slugs” is the perfect soundtrack to a late autumn stroll, taking in the last warm rays of sun before winter casts its months-long shadow.


 how2fly” by ISOxo

Andrew Freeman

ISOxo, a rising star in the EDM bass scene, released his first full-length album this month. It’s chock full of hard-hitting, blown out bass tracks which stay faithful to the genre’s roots while being creative enough to craft ISOxo his own unique sound. The track “how2fly” strays the furthest from the black flared jeans wearing, red strobe light flashing, rave-in-an-abandoned-parking-lot vibe the majority of the album curates, making use of a soft melody and an almost trance-like drum pattern to show the listener what it probably feels like 2fly.


“Which of the Pickwick Triplets Did It?” by Steve Martin

Michael Pastorello

I have unironically been listening to this song nonstop since watching season three of Hulu’s “Only Murders in the Building.” To have been able to perform this fast-paced tongue-twister of a song in its entirety shows just how talented Steve Martin is. The 78-year-old comedian has not missed a step and is still thriving in the television and music industries, just as he was in 1978 when he performed his hit “King Tut” on SNL. The novelty song even peaked at #17 on the charts, with Trisha Paytas recently becoming synonymous with the song after uploading iconic TikToks each year dancing to it. As for “Which of the Pickwick Triplets Did It,” the song appears in a fictional play in which Martin plays a constable interrogating infant triplets who he suspects have killed their mother atop a lighthouse. “Only Murders in the Building” features Steve Martin, Martin Short and Selena Gomez, as well as several amazing guest appearances. I cannot recommend this show enough, in particular season three because it includes Meryl Streep and Paul Rudd, who are absolutely brilliant. Give it a watch!


“Kostas” by Westside Gunn, Conway the Machine and Benny the Butcher

Shannon Moore

Off his most recent album “And Then You Pray For Me,” Westside Gunn is joined by Conway the Machine and Benny the Butcher to speak about their street experiences. Over Tay Keith’s production, each rapper chronicles their struggles and their ambition to survive. It’s gritty, often graphic, but works well over the hard hi-hat beat. While it is Gunn’s album, Benny the Butcher opens the song and steals the show with his verse, one of the best off the entire album.


“Bite” by Bubble Scary

Crissy Saucier

Local Amherst band Bubble Scary issued their first release, a self-titled EP on Oct. 27, 2023. The EP features familiar tracks recognized from their unforgettable live performances across the Amherst area. “Bite” reveals a harmonic balance between intricately melodic guitar picking and harsh shoegaze tones, offset by expressive vocals entwined with intense emotion. The unexpected shifts between gentle melodies and harsh clamor passionately enraptures their audience, invoking listeners’ consciousness of the singer’s divine voice. Bubble Scary’s distinct style enchants listeners, urging them to experience their dynamic live performances at local DIY venues throughout the Pioneer Valley.


“Holding a Leech” by Jane Remover

Crissy Saucier

“Holding a Leech,” from Jane Remover’s latest album “Census Designated,” illustrates a harmonic backdrop featuring digicore-inspired vocals embedded within intense dream pop chords. The song clearly represents Remover’s shift from hyperpop to shoegaze, serving as an innovative example of genre-bending exploration. The omnipresent distortion exerts a dense billow of fuzz and thrusts her audience into her groundbreaking fusion of aesthetics. “Holding a Leech” emphasizes Jane Remover’s success of entwining glitchcore, emo and shoegaze, assembling a unique listening experience for her audience.


 “Can’t Catch Me Now” by Olivia Rodrigo

Mary DeCarlo

Olivia Rodrigo’s newest release was written for the upcoming “Hunger Games” prequel, titled “The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes.” The movie serves as a background story to Coriolanus Snow, and “Can’t Catch Me Now” is a haunting tale about vengeance. Her vocals paired with the acoustic guitar melodies intensify as the song reaches its climax. Rodrigo’s song does an incredible job capturing what is sure to come in the new movie while also being able to bring back the nostalgia of the beloved franchise.


“Agora Hills” by Doja Cat

Nina Walder

Placed beside tracks like “Demons” and “Gun,” “Agora Hills” is a standout on Doja Cat’s latest album. It strays from the feisty direction she has seemingly gone in and gives “Scarlet” an angelic touch. With soft beats and a dreamy voice, Doja fills four minutes with romantic lines such as “I wanna show you off” and, “Boy, you’re the one, you’re the only man.” Due to this, the track has been used for an astounding amount of fancams and edits on social media. Along with “Paint the Town Red,” it has gained TikTok popularity and become one of the most-streamed tracks from her album. In addition to its success, “Angora Hills” is notable due to how it pays homage to her older, sugar-coated songs. It fits better alongside 2018’s “Cookie Jar” and 2019’s “Juicy” than it does so with her recent songs. In that way it’s somewhat nostalgic. It feels like something that would’ve come from Doja’s initial cutesy persona. Of course, it’s the perfect background for fantasizing about a crush. With its sweet, hazy sound, “Agora Hills” can make any romantic fantasy seem real.


“A Night to Remember” by beabadoobee and Laufey

Kristen Matul Toc

“A Night to Remember” is a collaboration song between beabadoobee and Laufey. With lyrics telling of a romantic and enchanting night, the duet between both singers fits in capturing the tension between two lovers. Beabadoobee’s mellow voice accompanied by Laufey’s velvet-like singing adds to the mysterious and misty theme of the song as well. The rhythm and beat are consistent and deliberately slow, with little instrumental backing at the start until the chorus hits. That’s where the magic happens, as all these different sounds start to blend and the pace picks up. Once the chorus ends, we fall right back into the slow tempo. My favorite part is closing my eyes after the first chorus, trying to identify the different instruments in that little moment of music. “A Night to Remember” makes you want to fall in love with someone you just met.


B5” by Homixide Gang

Andrew Freeman

The Atlanta-native synth trap/rage duo Homixide Gang released their second album of the year this month, and while it’s as bloated as feared, it comes with some gems to pull out. “B5” specifically is easily the most energetic song on the project, making a strong case for their best song yet. It piles up a handful of guitar-reminiscent synth layers, and in combination with a blinding chorus, creates one of the most catching cuts in the group’s discography.


“Northern Attitude (with Hozier)” by Noah Kahan and Hozier

Maggie Bonassar

New England native Noah Kahan gave us this updated version of his single “Northern Attitude” alongside Irish singer-songwriter Hozier. Kahan and Hozier’s vocals blend well to convey a wistful, nostalgic melody. Kahan’s lyrics are humble, begging the listener for forgiveness when he comes from a colder, darker world. Though unexpected, this collaboration brings together two artists with similarly wistful styles to create a heartfelt apology of a song.


“Neon (with John Mayer)” by Zac Brown Band Live at Southern Ground Music & Food Festival, Nashville, TN.

Shanti Furtado

As the heart of winter plunges on, one of music’s most quintessentially summer bands released the glint of warmth that New Englanders like me so yearn for. “From The Road, Vol. 1: Covers” displays an eclectic mix of the three-time Grammy award-winning country/rock group, Zac Brown Band, at their very best. The live album displays a collection of the groups’ infamous covers played at the US’ most iconic venues.

One of the albums’ best works arrives with John Mayer’s 1999 breakout classic, “Neon.” The 2012 performance was recorded at Nashville’s Southern Ground Music & Food Festival, featuring the band and Mayer himself on guitar.  The group segways to “Neon” with yet another cover – Stevie Wonder’s, “Isn’t She Lovely.” Though inherently very different songs, the artists meld the tracks seamlessly to create a lively cadence that excites listeners with a dose of intoxicating nostalgia. Frontman Zac Brown took lead at vocals, lending his distinctive smoothness while Mayer claimed an equally captivating role, supplementing varied electric melodies and solos unique from his typical delivery of the song.

Though 12 minutes in length, the performance flies by, cultivating a transformative experience as if you were right there on the festival grounds. “Neon (with John Mayer)” and the entire “From The Road, Vol. 1 Covers” record signify a true masterclass in the power of live music.

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