I’ve wanted to do a post of a playlist all semester, but was never really sure how to approach it. As we come to the end, I’ve decided that perhaps the easiest way is this; no theme beyond the fact that these are catchy, popular, and/or otherwise noteworthy songs that, if everyone knew them, might make the world a better place. (Well. I say “better”. Really, I probably mean “cooler.)

So, without further ado; 20 Songs You Need To Know (Addendum: That Make The World a Cooler Place), and a short note about each.

Or, alternately: 20 Songs that are Really Fun to Sing in the Car

  1. Bohemian Rhapsody, Queen: If you haven’t scream-sung this at the top of your lungs in a car full of people a la Wayne’s World style, are you really living?
  2. Sympathy for the Devil, The Rolling Stones: Coming at 32 on Rolling Stone magazine’s 500 Best Songs, this controversial ditty is a first person account of the influence of the Devil on human history. If you haven’t heard it (somehow), that’s why it’s #2.
  3. I Want To Hold Your Hand, The Beatles: While one of their most popular, not the most popular, and also just my favorite by them.
  4. I Wanna Be Your Boyfriend, The Ramones: If you need an accessible introduction to a classic punk band, this is it.
  5. Baba O’Riley, The Who: Also (incorrectly) known as Teenage Wasteland, an ode to the strung out teenagers at Woodstock.
  6. Alex Chilton, The Replacements: An homage to the Big Star lead singer.
  7. Smells Like Teen Spirit, Nirvana: The song that swept across 90s America that every teenager since has identified with, basically.
  8. Semi-Charmed Life, Third Eye Blind: A misleadingly cheerful ditty about the dangers of life lived with a crystal meth addiction.
  9. One Week, Barenaked Ladies: So. Many. References.
  10. Buddy Holly, Weezer: Upbeat, with a pretty positive message; don’t care about they say about you, anyway.
  11. Mr. Brightside, The Killers: Admittedly, I’m willing to consolidate The Killers entire discography onto a playlist and call it “Songs You Need To Know”, but in the interest of variety, this one will get you by.
  12. Debaser, The Pixies: Inspired by a surrealist Dalí short film, which debased the art community at the time, this was a call to debase the music scene.
  13. There is a Light that Never Goes Out, The Smiths: Fun to sing, sad to think about. Worth it.
  14. Ever Fallen in Love, The Buzzcocks: An examination of the joy that is unrequited teenage love.
  15. Cut Your Hair, Pavement: That’s a pretty nice haircut.
  16. Just Because I Don’t Say Anything (Doesn’t Mean I’ve Got Nothing To Say), Wingnut Dishwashers Union: Making good use of the harmonica and the metaphor.
  17. Jude Law and a Semester Abroad, Brand New: More unrequited love. Still a necessity.
  18. Houdini, Foster the People: While their single “Pumped Up Kicks” swept charts in 2012, I think “Houdini” is a much more accurate representation of the sound of Foster the People.
  19. Walking on a Dream, Empire of the Sun: Thought we could do with a little dream-pop.
  20. Closing Time, Semisonic: I wanted to close my high school graduation ceremony with this song. I wasn’t allowed to, so I’ll use it close out this post.

To access this playlist in all its eclectic glory, it can be found here:


One thought on “20 Songs You Need To Know

  1. I can’t believe you didn’t have a SINGLE song by Carly Rae Jepsen on here, come on Izzy. That being said, this is a pretty good list, and I’m glad you included Foster the People, I’ve always loved their song Houdini.

    I’ve really appreciated all the music recommendations you’ve given on your blog, even if all of them weren’t quite my style (although I did add “Dizzy on the Comedown” from one of your earlier posts to my chill playlist). This was a really cool blog theme, and I you did a good job sticking to it. I’m gonna miss these recs! Also, I think it’s about time someone recommended a song to you, so here you go, prepare to be amazed: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JpKpEOtZtcQ


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