Songs Berklee Loves: A Student-Made Playlist

by Lily Lyons

A photo by Lee Campbell.

The songs we fall in love with are often the songs that our friends recommend to us. This is especially true at Berklee. I never know what music my friends are going to pump through their speakers or share on their Facebook walls, but it’s usually something that inspires giggles, the best kind of chills, or unabashedly nerdy analysis. In honor of that, I asked a group of my friends, classmates, and collaborators to recommend some music that they loved and tell me why they loved it. Their replies ranged from the classics (Sting) to the personal (a roommate’s guitar playing), but every track was delicious to my ears and gave me the feels. Here are their answers:

Donnell Best

Grenada, Professional Music major

“I chose “All of Me” by John Legend. I love it because it is super soothing, and the vocal control this song requires is intriguing to me.”

Bette Miller

Philadelphia, PA, Music Therapy Major 

“The Bob Marley ensemble this semester is learning the entire Exodus Album in honor of its 50th anniversary. I have been listening to little else. The I-threes, Bob’s beautiful back-up vocalists, sing with such blend, precision and passion. As I try to learn the parts, I am also reminded how these women uplifted the entire energy and presence of the band. It’s also interesting to study music that has been my chilling soundtrack for years…no wonder it feels so good!

Steven Martinez

The Bronx, NY, MP&E major

“My song is “Ellsworth” by Rascal Flatts. I adore this song because it paints such a vivid, meaningful picture about an experience that many of us go through- loosing a loved one to a degenerative disease. I can only hope to write and perform songs that are so masterfully written.”

Sarah Chong

Singapore, Pro Music & Film Scoring

“I’m always fascinated with how musicians orchestrate their original work. It has been my passion to seek out versions of popular tunes that have been arranged for orchestra, and one that immediately captured my heart and ears is Sting’s version of “Roxanne” in Symphonicities. I fell in love first with the original Police hit, and then the tango remake for Moulin Rouge—and then a third time with this version! It’s a rare instance where I’m entranced by 3 significantly different arrangements of the same song, and this is a huge compliment to the arrangers and orchestrators that have worked on it. Roxanne is a tune that remains on the top of my list.

Farzin Dehghan Manshadi

Isfahan, Iran, Performance Major

” The Song “Shod Khazan” by Javad Badi Zadeh is my favorite piece of music. This song will take you on a journey in the mode of Homayoun, one of the Persian classical music modes; it also evokes great emotions, which is a very important aspect of music to me.”

Tyler Novak

Atlanta, GA, CWP Major

“A current song I’m listening to is “Memory” by Preoccupations. Between the 2:00-4:00 minute mark in it there is a section where the band drops out and the tempo increases using a small loop. And then the entire band goes into a B section which is just lovely and danceable.”

Tanya Christopherovna Phillips

London, The UK, EPD major

“My song is “Love Like This” by Margaret Glaspy, from the fantastic album Emotions and Math. I love this song particularly because it distills an emotion in the most perfect simple way. I love the contour of the melody and there isn’t an extra word or image in sight. It resonates with me as an artist because it reminds me that you don’t need elaborate ornamentation for a great song. Simplicity is key.”

Rahul Nair

Potomac, MD, Composition major

“The music my friend Will Ponturo has been writing literally resonates with me—the guitar sound is so deep and complex, yet clear like I’ve never heard guitar before…It’s also patient in a way that I enjoy. While the sound itself is extremely gratifying and maybe even indulgent, structurally there’s no sense of rushing into different the parts of the song. It’s a lot of a little: maybe minimalist in form but “maximalist” in timbre.

Shirley Song

 Sydney, Australia, Film Scoring major

“The current track I love is a track that I’ve loved for many, many years, and I always go back to listening to it because it calms me when I’m stressed and it helps me when I can’t sleep. It’s “Beautiful” by Me’Shell NdegéOcello.”