Sunflower Soundtrack: Fall 2020 sounds

The Sunflower staff compiled a list of singles, albums, and podcasts to brighten up this unusual and frustrating semester of hybrid classes.

Karen’s Picks

“After Hours” album by The Weeknd

I’ve never been much of a Weeknd fan, but I have been listening to this album non-stop since it’s release in March. My personal favorite tracks are “Faith”, “After Hours” and “Heartless”. These songs make me want to go party the night away to forget the heartbreak I’ve never experienced.

“Rebel Girl” by Bikini Kill

“Rebel girl” is a Riot Grrrl anthem that will have you head banging, jumping, and feeling like a kickass punkstar. It’s an ode to feminist solidarity and its unique lesbian perspective was one of its first, which was readily accepted by the Riot Grrrl movement. Not only is this song a girl-power anthem, but it also made its mark in pop-culture history.

“Hello from the Magic Tavern” podcast  

This comedic and fictional podcast follows Chicago resident, Arnie Niekamp, who accidentally fell through a dimensional portal behind a Burger King into the magical land of Foon. He and his Foon companions, Usidore the Wizard and Chunt the shapeshifter/talking badger, interview the magical citizens of Foon in this weekly podcast. It’s absolutely nerdy and hilarious, and I recommend it to anyone who thinks podcasts take themselves too seriously most of the time.

“Two Princes” podcast 

The “Two Princes” is a scripted fantasy action podcast that follows the story of Prince Rupert and Prince Amir who are forced by a prophecy and coincidence into working together to save their kingdoms. It’s a short, family-friendly podcast with an amazing script, well developed characters, and an adorable romance featuring our two favorite royal rivals.


Jeromiah’s Picks

“Nessun Dorma” performed live by Aretha Franklin 

The 1926 Opera Turandot, a favorite of Pope Francis, brought the now world-famous aria “Nessun Dorma” to the world. First popularized on a global scale by a seminal Pavarroti recording the aria became synonymous with tenacity and strength, particularly that of the Italian people. Fast forward to 1998. The scene is the 40th annual Grammy Awards. Pavarotti, now the most legendary tenor alive, cancels his performance of his signature aria last minute. Another living legend, Aretha Franklin, untrained in opera and unrehearsed, stands in to perform an impromptu rendition of “Nessun Dorma” and delivers one of the most moving live performances in music history. Twenty-two years later, after the deaths of both Pavarotti and Franklin, this historical moment is more poignant than ever.

“Save the Day” by Mariah Carey featuring Ms. Lauryn Hill

The legendary singer-songwriter rung in 2020 with her record-extending 19th #1 single  “All I want for Christmas is you,” a 25 year old record which made Carey the only artist in history to have a #1 single in four different decades. 2020, a uniquely challenging year, also marks the 30th anniversary of Carey’s debut. That’s right folks; 30 years of Mariah Carey. Leave it to Carey to celebrate this personal milestone with a single that encapsulates the global mood. “Save the Day” is an uptempo confection which layers Carey’s flighty riffs over Ms. Lauryn Hill’s vocals from the universally beloved Fugees cover of Roberta Flack’s “Killing me Softly.” Lyrically the song urges individuals to own their power as change makers. Carey coos over a punchy chorus: “if he won’t, and she won’t, and we won’t, then we won’t ever learn to save the day.” Only living legends can tastefully fuse the zeitgeist of a world in crisis with their own brand-savvy nostalgia. That’s why we’re still listening 30 years later.

“Moonriver” by Audrey Hepburn

Ok it’s probably just nostalgia. But can you blame me? I grew up watching “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” at least twice a week with my grandma. The sexual politics of the movie went over my head but the Givenchy cocktail dresses and foot-long cigarette holders did not! Also, true story, my dad proposed to my mom while this song played. I will always get a little bit verklempt when this song plays.


Khanh’s Picks

“WAP” by Cardi B (feat. Megan Thee Stallion)

Give me a break Ben Shapiro. You survived through years of dudes R&B-ing about how good they are in bed, you’ll be fine with a little WAP. You can mute all the words and I’d still be vibing.

“Freudian” album by  Daniel Ceasar 

Ambient lights…cinnamon coffee cake candle burning. Slightly buzzed from whatever you’re drinking, hand in hand with your S/O. You dance, mumble the words, or just vibe on the couch. That’s a Friday night. (PS: He’s incredible live.)

“JRE (The Joe Rogan Experience)” podcast

How many podcasts in the world can offer you an intelligent, thought-provoking conversation one day, then hit you the next day with three hours of Post Malone being … Posty?! It’s the biggest podcast in the world for a reason. Rogan’s pure curiosity opens the door for me to learn with him each episode and I appreciate that.

“Token CEO” podcast

Erika Nardini came onto an all-dudes company in 2016 and pretty much single-handedly transformed Barstools into the powerhouse it is today. What she’s done as a woman in a male dominant field is aspiring. It’s a great pod to pick brains.

“Call Her Daddy” podcast

I don’t know what it’s like for the ladies, but it’s all serious here. Pick an educational episode, bring out the notebook and take some much needed notes (if a guy tells you he knows everything, let him go IMMEDIATELY.)


Kamilah’s Picks

“Lockdown” by Koffee 

Lockdown by the Grammy award winning reggae artist Koffee, is the perfect song when it’s time to relax. The summer anthem of the Caribbean brings a sense of hope as it talks about all the good vibes we are going to experience after we get past our current situation.

“On Top” by Latest & Xhd

“On Top” by Latest & Xhd was one of the most popular songs during the 2019 Anguilla Summer Festival. This song is one of my go-to hype songs when I need to get out of rut and need to ‘wild out’ in the comfort of my own home.

“Be Somebody”  by Sevana – EP 

I was recently introduced to Sevana and this EP by a friend of mine, and this is honestly one of the best recommendations they ever gave. “Be Somebody” gives a more modern style of reggae with heavy soul and R&B influences. Sevana’s soothing vocals give you a sense of calm while she sings about finding herself over six tracks.

“Rekless” by Dvnzo 

If you are someone who loves to listen to Afro-beats, this is a song for you. Originated from Sint Maarten/Saint Martin, Dvnzo looked at the southern Caribbean for influence of Jab Jab on this soca track, while using your typical Saint Martin flow. Rekless is also one of those songs that would hype you up and push you to dance, especially if you’re feeling a little down.

“Tea with A & Phee”  podcast 

If you’re someone that’s into sports or basketball in general, this is the podcast for you. Hosted by WNBA stars A’ja Wilson of the Las Vegas Aces  and Napheesa Collier of the Minnesota Lynx, this podcast sits down with other members of the basketball community as they discuss major events in the sport, all from the WNBA Bubble or the Wubble out of Bradenton, Florida.


Julia’s Picks

“Norman Fucking Rockwell” album by Lana Del Rey

Lana Del Rey’s latest album was released one year ago, but I still find myself going back to it again and again.  I was even lucky enough to hear some of these songs live when Lana came to the Cotillion in Wichita for her tour. From a dedicated follower of the singer for many years, I believe that this is her best release yet. Described as sounding similar to 70’s classic rock, Lana continues her theme of singing about love and American dreams during post-war America. No matter if you’re a regular listener or a first-timer, this is an album to tune into.

“Sleepy” podcast on Spotify

As someone who has trouble falling asleep at night, I’ve found that this podcast is the perfect thing to help me fall into a peaceful sleep. The host, Otis Gray, reads passages from classic books every week that help distract me from my thoughts. As a passionate reader, I love having the chance to listen to these stories out loud in his relaxing tone. If you’re feeling a little nostalgic for bedtime stories, this is the podcast for you.

“Call Me By Your Name” soundtrack

Even if you haven’t seen the movie or read the book, the “Call Me By Your Name” soundtrack is worth listening to.  From piano songs that you can listen to while doing homework to Spanish-pop that gives you the chance for a dance break, this album has every kind of song that I want to listen to.  There is not a bad song on this album and I never get tired of listening to it. Traveling to the Italian countryside in the 1980’s has never been easier.

“Dead Man’s Bones” Album

As someone who is a die-hard Halloween fan, now is the perfect time to start listening to this spooky soundtrack. Ryan Gosling and Zach Shields team up with the Conservatory Children Choir to create “Dead Man’s Bones”, a haunting ode to ghosts, zombies, werewolf’s, and other Halloween staples. This is the only Halloween soundtrack you will need this season, and I know I will be listening to it religiously even after October.


Lindsay’s Picks

“Betty” by Taylor Swift

If you don’t live under a rock, I’m sure you have heard of the beauty that is the new Taylor Swift album, “Folklore”. I encourage you all to sit down and listen to the album from start to finish, because it truly is a storytelling masterpiece. But if you don’t have time to do so, I encourage you to listen to the song “Betty”. If you miss “old” Taylor Swift, this track will bring you back to simpler times. Trust me. The guitar in the background and the storytelling magic woven through, this song will feel like you’re 13 years old again listening to Taylor Swift in your bedroom.

“Getting Good” by Lauren Alaina

Lauren Alaina got her start when she was runner up for American Idol in 2011. I remember 10 year old me being obsessed with her country charm and her powerful vocals. I hadn’t heard much about her in recent years so I decided to do some research on what she’s been up to. After a quick Google search I found out she is still releasing music. I immediately fell in love with the song “Getting Good”. Not only is it catchy and relaxing to listen to, it reminds you of a simple truth: live life in the moment.

“The Cure” by Little Mix

I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again: Little Mix is the most underrated artist in history. Little Mix is made up of four women with vocals that could shatter glass and confidence that I strive for. If you have never listened to them before, I 100% recommend listening to their song “The Cure” from their album “LM5”. I definitely recommend it if you’re going through a breakup. Instead of making you sad, this song will make you jump out of your seat and look to the future hopeful that you’ll become just as confident as the Little Mix women are.


Londen’s Picks

“Bitter” by FLETCHER, Kito 

I’m usually someone who exclusively listens to music that makes me want to sob in my car, but this song has me feeling all sorts of girl power every single time I listen to it! FLETCHER in general is a fantastic artist; she has so many great songs that make me want to switch up my music taste every now and then and broaden my horizons. “Bitter” is so catchy and will make any day feel a little more sunny.

“Medicine” by Daughter 

This song is more my usual speed and will probably have me in my feels in .2 seconds. “Medicine” is a beautiful song written to embody mental illness and the after effects and struggles of not feeling like yourself. This song makes me feel less alone and I play it often when I just need to feel like someone understands how I’m feeling.

“Crimson & Clover” by Tommy James and The Shondells 

This song is just so vibey. That’s seriously the best word I can manage to describe it. It fully feels like it should be playing in the background of a scene in an Adam Sandler movie or some coming-of-age indie film. Basically the same thing, right? Playing this song in the car with the windows down is definitely some form of therapy to me and I highly recommend giving it a shot.

“Hurricane” by Slow Meadow 

I’m actually a huge classical music nerd and it will always hold a special place in my heart. I’m a fan of listening to it while I do homework or write and this song is just so full and warm. The title “Hurricane” fits the song perfectly and the song sounds like a storm of different experienced emotions over time. It’s moving, soft, powerful and gentle all at the same time and I definitely recommend it for anyone who enjoys classical music or is looking to dabble a bit in the genre.