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Running Away and Starting Over? Don’t Forget These 3 Songs

What would leaving it all behind sound like?



You’ve probably thought about it once before in your lifetime: upending everything that you know in search of something new and thrilling — possibly a fresh start.

This feeling is not just for those unsatisfied or unhappy with their lives. After all, liberation is often found in the most extreme acts. And while many would say that you don’t plan, and especially make a list of songs, to leave your old life behind — it’s more of a in-the-moment thing — the three songs below are for those who will never feel the need to make such a bold move.

There are intoxicating alt-rock guitar anthems fit for never looking back, gentle melodies suited for self-reflecting, and a great tune about regret.

You’ll never feel freer.

“Slicker Drips” – White Stripes

Jack and Meg White are creators of musical chaos, using minimal elements to fashion angst and rage that blows speakers and eardrums. Their dedication to building momentum, slowly transitioning from a subtle start to a head-banger manifests itself in “Slicker Drips.” If you suddenly realize things need to change drastically, this song might be playing in the background.

It’s lyrics get to that point, “You’re lookin’ at me/ nowhere to go/ Nobody to love, nobody to love, nobody to love

2. “Baba O Riley” – The Who

If you don’t know the backstory to this song, then chances are you’re missing the point of its lyrics.

Originally written as a follow up by guitarist Pete Townshend for the Who’s 1969 opera, Tommy, the words composed for the song evolved into a commentary on the drug-induced teenagers running rampant at Woodstock.

Townshend told Guitar World: “[It’s about] the absolute desolation of teenagers at Woodstock, where audience members were strung out on acid and 20 people had brain damage. The irony was that some listeners took the song to be a teenage celebration: ‘Teenage Wasteland, yes! We’re all wasted!‘”

What’s more juvenile than acting irrationally and emotionally, hitchhiking across the country to drop acid and listen to live music?

3. “America” – Simon and Garfunkel

Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel were among a handful of artists who addressed the 500,000 U.S. youths that left their families to join “experimental groups” between 1967-71.

The disconnect between the kids of the 60s counterculture and their parents is more directly heard in the duo’s “Richard Cory,” “America” plays a big part in Almost Famous, the film loosely-based on 15-year-old Cameron Crowe’s music writing career. When Anita Miller, played by Zooey Deschanel, leaves home in search of freedom, “America” is the natural choice to be playing in the background.

The rest of this playlist is for you to fill, as not I, nor anyone else, can tell you what your personal freedom sounds like.

Share your suggestions, songs I may have forgotten to include, or your arguments on why the three tunes above are not the best options. I’m always up for a debate.

If you obsess over singers and bands, and are one of those people who make a playlist for every occasion, join CMN’s Music Journalism Course and get real-time experience, intense feedback on your writing, exposure to music industry insiders, and a great place to display build your portfolio. Get all the details on the Music Journalism Course here.

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