(Ha-tien Nguyen/Staff Illustrator)

The birds chirping, the wind rustling through the trees, the bees buzzing on their hunt to honey — these are the many sounds of spring. Among these natural signifiers of rebirth, songs also usher in this new season of rejuvenation. Whether these tracks embody the season in their beat, lyrics or auditory aesthetic, some songs simply scream spring. The Arts & Life staff have assembled our most treasured picks for a must-listen springtime playlist.

‘Bruises Off The Peach’ (2023) by Ryan Beatty

Songs considered to be spring anthems are often cheerful, pronounced tunes that relish unapologetically in the magic of the sunny season. “Bruises Off The Peach” is nothing of the sort. Instead, the atmospheric ballad meditates on grief and hope under the scalding California sun, transcending genre with its unique sound profile.

In this song, like many others in Beatty’s newest album “Calico,” the listener hears what one can only describe as an angel’s voice supported by a quietly devastating film score. Beatty highlights the patience that underlies pain — how time heals but makes loss no less excruciating — singing, “I cut all the bruises off the peach / Not as beautiful but still as sweet” in a simultaneous act of lamentation and acceptance.

“Bruises Off The Peach” is a sonic painting of spring’s quiet solitude. Beatty creates an acoustic wonderland as guitar notes flutter through the track like sunlight through a bedroom curtain and gorgeous vocals reverberate through an ever-emotional void. Upon listening, one does not know whether they need a short nap or an extra-long cry.

— Nathan Rubin, Senior Staff Writer

‘Linger’ (1993) by The Cranberries

For me, spring has always been a season of nostalgia. A new year never feels real until the temperature starts climbing back up, so I tend to spend spring lingering in memories of the last year. With a soft, whispering guitar line as its prelude, “Linger” by the Irish rock band offers the perfect soundtrack for the nostalgia of early spring. The simple guitar instrumental slowly develops into the smooth, unwavering voice of Dolores O’Riordan, the band’s lead vocalist, resembling the season’s gradual rebirth of life. The increasing number of vocals as the song progresses brings in layered harmony and delivers images of freshness.

The lyrics are about saying goodbye to the past, not once and for all, but in a way that lingers, with O’Riordan singing, “You know I’m such a fool for you / You’ve got me wrapped around your finger / Do you have to let it linger?” Spring inspires people to start anew, but doesn’t erase mistakes and sorrows from the past winter. The Cranberries’ “Linger” portrays the contradictory musings of spring perfectly.

– Amiee Zhao, Senior Staff Writer


‘Tangerine’ (1970) by Led Zeppelin

Although the opening line of “Tangerine” is “measuring a summer’s day,” its longing, hopeful instrumentation sings of spring. With bright production, each acoustic guitar string seems to ring out into a dream state. While each verse is melancholy, reminiscing about “how it used to be,” the choruses seem to place the listener right back in the blissful memory, as if, for an instant, it has never ended at all.

“Tangerine” soundtracks the closing scene of one of my favorite films, “Almost Famous” (2000). The scene — and the song — are idyllic, a ’70s “living reflection from a dream,” lead singer Robert Plant sings. The film ends with William Miller (Patrick Fugit), the kid music journalist, finally getting his interview with Stillwater lead guitarist Russell Hammond (Billy Crudup). William raises the microphone between them and asks, “So Russell, what do you love about music?” — and the opening notes of “Tangerine” begin to play. “To begin with,” Russell answers as the music swells, “Everything.” The camera cuts to a tour bus speeding down the freeway on a summer day, and you can almost smell the warming asphalt under the tires and the sun enlivening the trees, and it seems like music is everything.

— Oli Turner, Senior Staff Writer


‘Maybe I’m the Only One For Me’ (2019) by Purple Mountains

After lead singer David Berman existentially waffles over insecurity for nine songs, “Maybe I’m the Only One For Me” offers a bittersweet resolution to Purple Mountains’ self-titled first and only album. In the song, Berman neither overcomes his struggles with loneliness nor ignores them. He accepts that he is not fit for a romantic relationship with someone else and, with the pain of that acceptance, he commits himself to self improvement: “I’ll put my dreams high on a shelf / I’ll have to learn to like myself.”

This track does not offer an upbeat, neat resolution to suffering, instead arriving at a realistic conclusion through devastating clarity. “Maybe I’m the Only One For Me” takes an unflinching look at the reality of renewal with all the ugly bitterness and loneliness inherent to improving oneself, and for this reason, it’s become my go-to springtime song. New beginnings are not always pretty. 

— Alexandra Kauffman, Senior Staff Writer


‘Unwritten’ (2004) by Natasha Bedingfield

What is spring if not a blank page before you? This classic early 2000s anthem is perhaps the season at its very essence. Swirling through motifs of feeling rain on your skin, opening up dirty windows and letting the sun illuminate the “words that you cannot find,” it feels like Bedingfield wrote ‘‘Unwritten’’ with the refreshing renewal of spring in mind.

Besides the obvious lyrical connections to springtime weather, “Unwritten” is just an absolute banger. It is my go-to song when I get in my car and open the sunroof on a sunny spring day,  especially if I am with friends. Belting “No one else can feel it for you / Only you can let it in” with your best friends is an incomparable feeling. After the drive, you will want to start packing boxes of old stuff and creating to-do lists, because, as Bedingfield says, “Today is where your book begins / The rest is still unwritten.”

— Abby Charak, Atlanta Desk


‘California Stars’ (1998) by Billy Bragg and Wilco

On their joint album “Mermaid Avenue,” the alt-country band Wilco partnered with Bragg, an English singer-songwriter, to create music to accompany some of Woody Guthrie’s previously unheard lyrics. The standout track on the album, the woozy and Americana-influenced “California Stars,” is a melodic and mellow way to bring in the warmer spring season.

“I’d like to rest my heavy head tonight / On a bed of California stars,” Wilco lead singer Jeff Tweedy languidly sings in the first verse amid roomy drums and a warm slide guitar. “I’d like to lay my weary bones tonight / On a bed of California stars.”

The artistic pair breathe new life into Guthrie’s decades-old work. Tweedy relates the tale of a fatigued Oklahoman during the Dust Bowl era dreaming of uprooting his life for the Golden State. He yearns for something better, and despite his melancholic tone, a dormant hope lies beneath the surface.

Tweedy’s vocals feel tired yet peacefully subdued — he has relinquished control and is finally laying down his body to rest. I have always interpreted the track as a spiritual rebirth, emblematic of the spring season and embodying the general spirit of renewal.

— Ari Segal, Senior Staff Writer


‘From the Garden’ (2021) by Isaiah Rashad feat. Lil Uzi Vert

When I think of spring, I think of quirky, refreshing and unchecked energy. Rashad and Lil Uzi Vert deliver such liveliness in “From the Garden.” The intro track of Rashad’s latest album, “The House Is Burning,” is full of vigor as he and Lil Uzi Vert giddily rattle off bars to seemingly no end. Rashad shouts “came out bustin’” a total of 78 times in the three minutes and nine seconds of the track.

Following a long, cold winter, spring is the time to be carefree and bright. It is the season to live without rhyme or reason, which is exactly what Rashad and Lil Uzi Vert do in “From the Garden.” As the DJ at Mulberry Skate Park says at the end of the song, “We ain’t got time to be slippin’ on no cheese and chicken.”

— Samuel Temple, Campus Desk

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