Playlists from the Subconscious: “Wishing I Went to Hogwarts”

BY EMMA WESTCOTT //

It is only natural, in times of great stress, discomfort or just all around mind-boggling, earth-stopping confusion, to fall back into things that once brought you happiness- to regress to a time that was less stressful, less uncomfortable, less pressured, less everything, and to stay there for a bit. This doesn’t necessarily entail completely shifting realities (though a lot of us are trying) but sometimes you find ways to get as close as you can.

I have found myself, these past six months (how has it been 6 months? 7 months? Time just keeps moving, doesn’t it?), falling back into old interests. Maybe it’s because I’m back to living in my old room, or my old town, or maybe it’s just because I needed the warm blanket of something familiar, but I am falling hard and deep back down an almost alarming number of rabbit holes. One of those rabbit holes I’ve tumbled down is, you guessed it, the Wizarding World of Harry Potter: the books, the movies, the music, the culture, all of it. Well, almost all of it; I do vehemently separate the content of this world from the person who created it, for very obvious reasons. Nonetheless, with this submergence back into Hogwarts, it’s not surprising that I’m weaving it into many aspects of my life – one of the main, and most frequented, ones being music.

I’ve always been the kind of person to associate a song with a moment, a feeling, or a scene when I hear it. Or, I can pick out a moment, a feeling, or a scene, and determine which songs in my repertoire fit the bill. The latter is what I’ve done here; I’ve gathered the songs (apart from the soundtrack, obviously) that make me feel as though I’m on the grounds of Hogwarts or in the Ravenclaw (!) common room. Generally speaking, they’re songs that make me think of anything and everything stone and navy blue and purple and foggy and covered in glowing magic.

To begin the playlist, Lorde’s “The Love Club” pulses. It’s the type of song to play as you sit with your friends between classes, laughing and just knowing you are where people are wishing they could be, and they don’t even know it. It is a perfect mix of dark and light, considering I don’t think I could choose which word applies to it best- neither feel right on their own. Labrinth follows Lorde with “Forever”, a song that blessed the Euphoria soundtrack and that I’ve now stolen for the mini soundtrack I present to you today. It is what plays as you walk through the rain, along the wet stones of the paved grounds going from class to class. Maybe you even see others move in slow motion. “Eleanor Rigby”, a classic from The Beatles, felt almost too perfect to include, the kind of song that I feel describes what it looks like in the mind of Hermione Granger: a brain so bursting with knowledge and information that it’s almost overwhelming, but still beautifully thought out and organized. Next, broomsticks are what I think of when I hear “Antichrist” by The 1975; kissing the clouds long after the sun has bid the sky farewell, surrounded by your best friends, simply letting the damp breeze run through your hair and between your fingers as you’re literally flying

“Why’d You Only Call Me When You’re High” is definitely a song that Fred and George Weasley listen to. The Arctic Monkeys tune could definitely be the perfect backing track for whatever mischief they have planned for the day. Bastille’s majestic “Daniel in the Den” is most definitely a Harry Potter song, Harry Potter the character, that is; it sounds like swinging bravery and lilting courage and Gryffindor warmth (did that sound nerdy? I’m not sorry). “To Be So Lonely” by Harry Styles is sonic magic- maybe even how I’d imagine the class subject “charms” would sound if it were transformed into music. I can see wands waving and objects materializing, things glittering to life when they most certainly should be dead. “Afraid” by The Neighbourhood is the alt anthem for dementors; the song, too, floats dark in the sky, with its hood up, searching to snatch any happiness or light it can. This song is a dark purple, dark blue, night sky with minimal stars. The Ravenclaw common room seems like one of the best places to hang out with your friends (yeah, I’m probably biased to my fictional community) and I think that the radio on the windowsill is playing “Magic City” by Gorillaz. Cool music for cool kids lounging on couches, knowing they’re too smart to need to worry about anything other than their cool music. 

The next two tracks, “Salt and The Sea” by The Lumineers and “Sedated” by Hozier are the songs that illustrate your friendships, your relationships with the kids who grow up beside you. As you sit and think back about the unsuspecting young ones you stood with during the Sorting ceremony, the classmates you cheer on at Quidditch matches, maybe even the lifelong friends you fight alongside as you take down some evil Dark Lord (cough), these songs soar. They accompany a montage of important memories, covering every emotion possible.

The final track, “Outro” by M83, aptly named, closes your chapter in this series. It sits right at the front of your chest, proudly glowing both inwardly and outwardly, warming you and anyone who can hear it. It is the most obvious touch of gold on this playlist; it’s the first song that could never summon rainy skies or foggy grounds. It is perfectly grand and victorious and everything you’d feel in the moment that life finally begins. The cinematic swells capture every bit of magic in both this fictional world and in our very real one, reminding us that sometimes, “as close as you can” feels pretty good too.

Playlist:

  1. The Love Club by Lorde
  2. Forever by Labrinth
  3. Eleanor Rigby – Remastered by The Beatles
  4. Antichrist by The 1975
  5. Why’d You Only Call Me When You’re High by Arctic Monkeys
  6. Daniel in the Den by Bastille
  7. To Be So Lonely by Harry Styles
  8. Afraid by The Neighbourhood
  9. Magic City by Gorillaz
  10. Salt and The Sea by The Lumineers
  11. Sedated by Hozier
  12. Outro by M83

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