While Valentine’s Day is often associated with romance and roses, friendships can be some of the strongest connections often excluded from the celebrations. Instead, with this year’s Valentine’s Day playlist, I hoped to focus on philia, the love between friends.
Friendship isn’t always easy. Sometimes, you run into people who you don’t vibe with. Other times, you move away—whether it’s to college or a job—and leave people behind. As someone who’s moved around quite a bit throughout college, no matter how much time I spend away from my closest friends, I feel just as connected every time I see them again. Even for those of us who are graduating, the friends you’ve made at Penn will be friends for life.
To mimic the complications of friendship, I started this playlist out with songs you can bop to while getting ready for a party before drifting to some slower tracks talking about what it feels like during those hard times where all you need is a shoulder to cry on. Finally, the playlist ends with some uplifting beats to remind you what friendship is all about.
Whether it’s a best friend you haven’t seen in a while due to a long distance relationship or someone you study with once a week, this playlist encompasses what friendship love really is.
Saweetie feat. Doja Cat: "Best Friend"
Released in 2021, this upbeat relatable best friends anthem was created by Saweetie and Doja Cat. According to a Youtube interview, Saweetie and Doja Cat hit it off just a couple years ago. In making this track, the pair wanted to showcase what close friendship should be while also celebrating independent women. The track is lively and empowering and suited for any best friend duo ready to take on the world.
Łaszewo recently performed this new bop, “Colorado,” as an opener for the Two Friends concert at the Fillmore last week. As a budding band with only 11,000 followers on Instagram, they are coming out strong with exciting tracks that entrance you to sing along even if you don’t know the words. This track falls right into this category of extremely catchy while also fitting into the friendship theme of this playlist. While they could also refer to romantic love, the lyrics remind me of long road trips and watching desert sunsets with close friends.
Cavetown: "Hug All Ur Friends"
Cavetown, who will be playing in Philadelphia at the Fillmore in March, pulls on heartstrings with this 2014 hit. While more mellow than most of the songs on this playlist, it reminds us to tell our friends how much we care about them. With lyrics such as “hug all your friends and let them know you’re not letting go,” it tells a story about long term friendships and the importance of keeping in touch. Not to mention, the music video 100% made me cry.
Alec Benjamin: "I Built a Friend"
This track, released around the time that Alec Benjamin’s 2020 album entitled These Two Windows came out, is a somber piece about moving to college and leaving people behind. The lyrics tell a heartbreaking story about someone losing a friend after going off to college and meeting a girl whom they fell in love with. It shows how complicated relationships can get through its melancholic tones and wistful lyrics.
Conan Gray: "(Online Love)"
This very short track is a turning point in the playlist towards a more hopeful ending. The song, entitled “(Online Love),” is a part of Conan Gray’s album Kid Krow which includes other hits such as “Maniac” and “Heather.” The piece is quick and melodious, talking about what it’s like to care for someone online but not be able to see them in person. It ends with a conversation track to represent isolation in a situation where it feels like nobody else can understand or relate to you.
Taylor Swift: "Fifteen (Taylor’s Version)"
I could not put together a friends playlist without including the quintessential song that first brought to light the closeness between Taylor Swift and her high school best friend Abigail Anderson. Taylor sings, "Abigail gave everything she had to a boy who changed his mind, and we both cried,” representing the iconic relationship between the duo. This invigorating pop track, written as a part of Taylor’s re–recorded album entitled Fearless, is the epitome of high school friendships and the troubles of being a teenager.
Oh Wonder: "Plans"
Oh Wonder is an English alt–pop band who released “Plans” in their debut album Oh Wonder. With mellow tones but an upbeat backtrack, this piece is rejuvenating. It speaks of trying to reconnect with someone by making plans to get back to them. Its catchy melody and warm lyrics are easy to get stuck in your head.
The Head and the Heart: "Rivers and Roads"
Ending the playlist is this heartwarming piece by The Head and the Heart, released in their debut album. The lyrics song are poignant while the melody reminds me of waves lapping along the beach. The song itself speaks of being apart from people you care about and knowing that life goes on. One of the most lovingly created pieces on this playlist, I thought it would be the perfect track to end things on, as it reminds us to care for our friends and accept life as it comes.
You can find the rest of the playlist here: