Your Spring Inspiration Playlist

by Dan Moseson

My favorite thing about editing Peaks and Valleys is working with dedicated colleagues to create awesome, informative writing.  This past year, U of U staff, faculty, and students have shared perspectives on astronomy, YouTube careers, international student internships, first-gen grad student experiences, music for motivation and self-care, careers in politics, restoring old connections, volunteering, science communication, internship tips, tricky career questions, self-reflection, and life in general.  It’s been a privilege.  

But the weather is warming up, the snow is melting, and I feel inspired to draw on my solo performance skills from days as a college radio DJ at Montclair State University’s WMSC and Syracuse, NY’s WAER.  Here is my spring playlist to inspire you as you move from spring to summer, from one year to the next, classes to internships, and from college to career.  You can post your own favorites under the Instagram link to this article, and we’ll collect them in a single, collaborative Spotify playlist.  

Pump-Up Songs:

  • “Woke Up This Morning” by A3: this electronic house track became world-famous as the theme for HBO’s The Sopranos.  Need to borrow some of the confidence, mischief, and quiet menace the great James Gandolfini brought to the role of Tony Soprano?  Look no further.
  • “Voodoo Child (Slight Return)” by the Jimi Hendrix Experience:  I’m a Boomer at heart, and you will be too, once you ride this F5 tornado of guitar mastery straight to Electric Ladyland.  There’s no place like home.  

Workout songs:

  • “Superstition” by Stevie Wonder:  it’s an older track, but I don’t think there’s a funkier bass line to be found anywhere.
  • “Nottingham Lace” by Buckethead:  warped space-funk riffs and zero-gravity solos from the Bucketheaded One earn this song a permanent spot in my running rotation.  

Celebration Songs:

  • “September” by Earth, Wind, and Fire: it’s about the beginning of fall (“twenty-first night of September”) but it’s the perfect track to celebrate good times, any time.

Relaxing Music:

  • Officium by Jan Garbarek and the Hilliard Ensemble:  an extremely cool fusion of jazz saxophone and monastic chant, beautifully recorded for the ECM jazz label.  
  • Ragas & Sagas by Jan Garbarek and Ustad Fateh Ali Khan:  another ECM production, bringing together jazz sax and traditional Pakistani music.

Working Late:

  • Orion Awakes by Golem:  pretty hard to classify but if you like your music funky, experimental, and a little bit weird, this is a great ride.
  • Ghosts on Magnetic Tape by Bass Communion:  an atmospheric journey from Porcupine Tree prog master Steven Wilson, this album will make the most ordinary night just creepy enough to stay awake.  
  • Star Wars Lo-Fi Hip-Hop Playlist:  just listen to it.

Reflecting on a Stormy Night:

  • Nebraska by Bruce Springsteen:  I’m from New Jersey, and I typically don’t like Bruce Springsteen, but Bruce Springsteen recorded my favorite country album in his kitchen, using an eight-track tape machine.

Transitions – Into Summer, Into a New Career: