Like most people, I spent pretty much the entirety of high school praying for graduation to arrive quickly so that I could go away for college. Everyone is always so ready and excited to be out on their own, but they often fail to take into consideration how much work being an adult is–like, really, it sucks. Why did I want this? Every time I pay a bill I find myself closing my eyes, wishing I was back home with my mom making me a grilled cheese while I lay in bed watching Netflix, not moving until the "Are you still watching?" message appears on my screen.
Since that isn't always a wish that can easily come true, it helps to have a playlist to spin when you're missing home. Some tracks may make you miss it more, because nostalgia and masochism exists, and some may be there to simply reassure you that everything will be okay–even if you're 20 years old and still can't figure out how to iron your clothes. There's still hope.
1. "Alleyways" by The Neighbourhood
2. "People Help the People" by Birdy
This is one for when you regret wishing you wanted to be older and on your own. The Neighbourhood creates a heavy instrumental tone as Jesse Rutherford sings, "And whenever the sun came out we played, we would run on the block all night and day" with subtle "we didn't want to get older"s slipped between each line. If only we were all lucky enough to have wanted to stay carefree children when we were carefree children.
3. "Suburbia" by Troye Sivan
Birdy's piano melody in "People Help the People" creates a comforting atmosphere as she offers her hand to those who are homesick. Being on your own can get kind of lonely, so it helps to know that there are other people out there feeling what you're feeling–so you're still alone but not alone.
4. "16 Years" by The Griswolds
On this very special and brilliant track, Troye is reminiscent of the times he spent in his old neighborhood with old friends. The nostalgic feeling is brought upon by his mention of his mom's cooking and the sunsets in his town, and some pain is shown in his regret of missing birthdays and holidays by being away for so long and the way people change while he's gone. He's right to question when people say that nothing changes over time, because realistically everything does.
5. "I Miss Those Days" by Bleachers
"16 Years" sounds as though it may be a message to someone's mom in which Chris Whitewall lays out his concerns. The good thing about this track is that although it may sound as a cry for help at times, the lyrics reassure you as he sings, "Despite my fears, I'm sure that I can make it on my own." That's the spirit. You've got this.
6. "Don't Forget Where You Belong" by One Direction
Nostalgia is a common theme throughout Bleachers' music, as Jack Antonoff draws most of his inspiration from the times he spent at home and how being away from home while touring has affected him and his relationships with others. "I Miss Those Days" shows that even though he's okay with where he is not, he does miss the way things used to be. I think a lot of us can relate to this, because we know growing up isn't a choice, and you have to deal with it. It isn't always bad but home is always a safe space to return to mentally.
7. "Mother & Father" by Broods
This one is pretty straightforward. When you're moving around to various cities and towns, you meet a lot of new people and experience a lot of new things that shape the way you think and even act, and sometimes this new behavior isn't necessarily for the best. When you find yourself in a situation where you're beginning to lose who you are, this is a good track to play to keep yourself grounded.
8. "Happy Home" by Lukas Graham
On this track, Georgia of Broods vocalizes some of the struggles that come with growing up and not having your parents to fall back and depend on. In the second verse of the song she sings, "I remember a time when a kiss on the hand was enough, cause we know we were free and we knew what it meant to be loved." There's nothing like missing a parent's simple comfort when you're away to make you appreciate them even more.
9. "Wake Up" by Eden
A lot of these tracks were written in the mind of someone who is missing home because they've gotten famous and now have an obligation to tour the world thus causing them to not be at home. "Happy Home" really isn't that different. "Now I got a lot of cash and I'm on the road," isn't the most relatable line, because I am absolutely sure that I'm just as broke, if not more, than when I left home for school–but "I realize privacy is getting difficult, it's alright now but what about when I'm old?" does hit close to home. Especially in New York, if you aren't loaded your future most likely includes sharing rooms and apartments with other people, some you barely even know. How long can anyone take that?
10. "C'mon" by Panic! at the Disco & Fun.
I've always used this track as a personal reassurance piece to get me through stressful times on my own. When you're on your own and having to spend all day working, or in school, or whatever it is that takes up your entire day, it's easy to get bogged down by the intensity of your adult schedule. You'll have to take it out of context from the song, but "You'll feel better when you wake up" is a great mantra to have. Sometimes you just have to take things one day at a time.
11. "Back Again" by Flor
This track is a hidden gem for me, as many people don't know that these two acts have ever collaborated. The Alice in Wonderland vibe created in the song gives off a feeling of being lost, but not afraid. "Nobody seems to know my name," reminds you of just how irrelevant you can become in a big city–it isn't like when you're in elementary, middle, and high school and you're with the same people you've seen nearly every day since you were 5, people don't really care about who you are or what you're doing unless they have to. Fun.'s Nate Ruess leaves you with a reminded, "Try not to mistake what you have with what you hate." Not everything about being an adult is terrible, just different.
12. "Ease" by Troye Sivan featuring Broods
"It won't be long, it's just for now. Oh, I'll come back here, when time allows." The good thing about leaving places is that you can almost always come back. You may not know when you'll be able to do so, whether it'll be three months after your departure or three years, but it helps to know that the possibility to return is there. You don't want to stay in your hometown forever, that sounds like a very sad life to live, but home is home. Home is where you can run whenever things go south in the real world. "Don't you worry, I'm coming home" is the last lyric of the song, and what a note to leave on. Now you've reassured yourself and whoever it is waiting for you back home.
13. "Weight of Living, Pt. II" by Bastille
"Ease" is the ultimate homesick anthem. We start with the phone call with mom where Troye confesses, "My home has never felt this far," before joining Georgia of Broods to mention how even when they think they've reached a point where they're managing the stress of being away, they realize that they aren't as prepared as they thought. We see yet another phone conversation with a lover where another confession is made: "I never ever thought that I would say, I'm afraid of the life that I have made." It's exciting to venture into new parts of life until you realize the sacrifices you have to make to do so. Not to worry, though, Georgia comes through during the bridge with, "Don't you worry about me, I'll be fine if I can breathe." Sometimes it really does help to just take it back to the basics.
14. "Walking in the Wind" by One Direction
We're getting a little existential here, and that's okay. "All that you desired when you were a child was to be old. Now that you are here suddenly you fear you've lost control." Both of those lyrics attacked my very being and I'm offended. Even more offensive, "Do you like the person you've become?" Think about that for a moment or two. Do you? How do you know? Have you become a terrible person due to the pressures of simply existing as an adult? Bastille doesn't stop their attack there, as Dan sings: "Everyday that passes faster than the last did, and you'll be old, soon you'll be old." Great. So now I miss home, I hate being on my own, and I'm going to die. Cool. Could have done without the lecture, Dan.
15. "Come Back Home" by Lauv
Now, we can move back into positivity with our good old pals One Direction. I remember listening to this in my room full of packed up boxes right before I left for school, and I started crying at the sound of Niall singing, "Goodbyes are bittersweet, but it's not the end–I'll see your face again." The lyric made me think of all of the time that would pass between the moment I left and when I would be reunited with my friends and family. Home is more than just a physical space, it's the people that you've shared memories with there and know you can always come back to. When that environment is all you know, leaving it can be pretty brutal–but that's life, isn't it?
Lauv takes us on a short journey on "Come Back Home," during which the discovery is made that leaving isn't always the best option for everyone. It takes experiencing being away from everything and everyone you know in order to come to an understanding of whether or not being that far away is something you can handle. During the bridge, Lauv sings, "I always thought I needed a getaway." Apparently, not everyone can benefit from having one. As the chorus plays one more time you are again left with, "Sometimes you have to go / trade your heart for bones / to know you need to come back home." Sometimes home is exactly where you're supposed to be.