September, 2014 / Author:

Brett Owen, playlist curator

I’ll try to help make it easier to say goodbye to summer. Maybe you’re in need of a fling with a sexy classmate? Or maybe you’re planning to wear the quintessential schoolgirl outfit on your first day back. My favourite thing about the new school year is the promise of learning something, especially when it comes to new music! Here are 10 songs to help start your school year off right:

1. Young Summer
The Waves That Rolled You Under

Every good back-to-school playlist has to start with a song that wistfully mourns the end of August. This one is the soundtrack of that last drive back from the cabin while you’re desperately trying not to look into the rearview mirror.

2. Tove Lo
Not On Drugs

Swedish singer Tove Lo’s debut single “Habits” was my favourite song of last year, and with recent appearances on late night TV, it looks like she’s finally ready to take North America by storm. This song can serve as a reminder to try to behave yourself while you’re easing back into your studies.


SOHN has spent most of his music career producing/remixing music for some of my favourite artists (most notably Lana Del Rey and Rhye). His debut album Tremors came out in April and is a study in emotional electronic R&B.

4. Lykke Li
I Never Learn

One of the first things you’ll learn about me is that I think the Swedes make the best music. Check out the title track from the depressing new Lykke Li album and try to tell me I’m wrong.

5. Röyksopp & Robyn
Do It Again

And if you still don’t agree, here’s more Swedish goodness for you. Frequent collaborators Robyn and Röyksopp decided to record a joint EP and go on a joint tour— and I’m so glad they did. Let this song be your anthem when you’ve been out drinking three nights in a row when you should have been studying (“I don’t wanna stop, I know I should”).

6. Lucy Schwartz
My Friend

Part of going back to school is making new friends. Another part of it is knowing which people you just won’t get along with. This is a song about the latter and it takes the form of a playful schoolyard chant.

7. Banks

If you’re not yet familiar with Jillian Banks, it is time to acquaint yourself. After endless promo singles (you might recognize “Waiting Game” from TV ads), she’s finally releasing her debut album Goddess on Sept. 8. Check it out!

8. Fickle Friends

In the running for my favourite song of 2014, “Swim” is as buoyant as its subject matter. If you only listen to one song from this playlist, make it this one.

9. The Knocks
Learn To Fly

More known for their production credits and remixes, The Knocks are an insanely talented duo out of New York with a very impressive list of collaborators. Earlier this year they released an EP called Comfortable. It’s worth a download if you like thoughtful dance music.

10. Natalia Kills
Rabbit Hole

Natalia Kills is almost a caricature of a noir pop star. She’s foul-mouthed and glamorous with some catchy hooks to back it up. Her sophomore album Trouble was full of little gems, including this one about her “teaching” her new boy toy (“I’m giving him straight As as long as he’s on top of me”).

Hope you enjoy the new music! You can listen to the playlist at havewemet/outwords-back-to-school- september-2014. If you’re interested in hearing more from me follow my 8Tracks page at I’ll be posting a new OutWords playlist regularly!

– Brett Owen is a local contemporary dancer/ choreographer, gogo boy at Fame Nightclub and playlist curator


Share Button

Leave Comment (Sign In)

You must be logged in to post a comment.