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    May 4, 2020

    I Found "Normal People" Author Sally Rooney's Playlists For Connell And Marianne, And The Songs Are Taking Me Back To My Teenage Years

    These playlists are making me feel like I'm 17 again.

    In a recent interview with Vulture, Normal People's Paul Mescal and Daisy Edgar-Jones mentioned that the novel's author, Sally Rooney, created playlists for Connell and Marianne while she was writing the characters.

    BBC/Hulu

    "I hunted down Sally Rooney’s Spotify, and then when I met Daisy, I told her that she had two separate playlists for Connell and Marianne," said Paul.

    Many fans had tried to find the playlists, and I have some news: I found them!

    BBC/Hulu / Via gph.is

    They're not easy to find, considering Sally's Spotify doesn't have her name as a username (it's just a bunch of random numbers), but after tons of sleuthing, I finally found them! You can now experience the incredible playlists. You can tell they're Sally's according to the dates the songs were added (2017–2018).

    As someone who cares too much about music, I need to unpack both of them.

    First off, here's Marianne's:

    embed.spotify.com

    Belle and Sebastian's "Expectations" is basically a "misunderstood teen girl" anthem, so it makes perfect sense that it helped Sally visualize Marianne while writing the novel.

    View this video on YouTube

    youtube.com

    Just take a look at some of the lyrics: "In the queue for lunch, they take the piss / You've got no appetite / And the rumour is you never go / With boys and you are tight / So they jab you with a fork / You drop the tray and go berserk."

    Then there's Vampire Weekend's "Campus," another one that feels painfully accurate for Connell and Marianne's love story.

    View this video on YouTube

    youtube.com

    The chorus says it all: "How am I supposed to pretend I never want to see you again?"

    We also need to talk about "Linger." You most likely know this classic from the Cranberries, but once you find out what the song is about and what inspired it, it feels eerily like Connell and Marianne's situation in high school.

    View this video on YouTube

    youtube.com

    In the song, the late Dolores O'Riordan is singing about falling for someone and regretting having them touch her because they broke her heart. In an interview with Irish Times, she said it's about kissing someone who she fell for after their first kiss. She couldn't wait to see him again, but when she finally did, he asked someone else to dance. Sounds familiar, right?

    Another song that's interesting to me is Frankie Cosmos's "The End", which is one of my favorites from her 2018 album, Vessel. It's a breakup album and this song is about her ex-boyfriend unintentionally hurting her feelings. But it still has a hopeful outlook.

    View this video on YouTube

    youtube.com

    Here's a look at some of the lyrics: "And once again / I’m really glad you’re my friend / We could do it all again / It doesn’t mean it’s the end." Since Sally added it at the end, I'm guessing the author's addition to the playlist means she was thinking this is how Marianne felt about Connell's important decision at the end of the book and first season of the show.

    When I found this, I emailed Greta Kline (Frankie Cosmos) to share my excitement and she said she's a fan of the book, so now I love this inclusion even more.

    Now let's talk about Connell's playlist:

    embed.spotify.com

    Sally starts it off with Van Morrison's "Cyprus Avenue." In case you aren't familiar with it, part of the lyrics say "I may go crazy / Before that mansion on the hill." The song's all about fantasizing about a crush who is a wealthy girl, so it's definitely accurate for Connell.

    View this video on YouTube

    youtube.com

    I'm biased, because Girls was one of my favorite bands in high school and immediately takes me back to those complex teen feelings, but "Jamie Marie" is such a sweet song for Sally to include in Connell's playlist.

    View this video on YouTube

    youtube.com

    Christopher Owens sings about messing up a relationship and missing his former love: "And maybe all those secret times / Didn't seem so bad until I knew / All of my little secrets / Weren't all that secret anymore / Maybe it's all right / I mean, I went and found the modern world / But I miss the way life was / When you were my girl."

    Sufjan Stevens' "Futile Devices" is another that takes me back to my teen years and that feeling when you can't stop thinking about someone, so seeing it on Sally's playlist for Connell feels perfect.

    View this video on YouTube

    youtube.com

    Sufjan sings about wanting to tell the person that he loves them but having difficulty expressing it, which is definitely Connell's case with Marianne at the beginning: "And I would say I love you / But saying it out loud is hard / So I won't say it at all / And I won't stay very long."

    At first, I was very confused about why Sally added Drake's "Hotline Bling" for Connell, but it now makes perfect sense. It encompasses all of Connell's feelings when he sees Marianne at Trinity.

    View this video on YouTube

    youtube.com

    Just look at these iconic lyrics: "Ever since I left the city, you / Got a reputation for yourself now / Everybody knows and I feel left out / Girl, you got me down, you got me stressed out / ‘Cause ever since I left the city, you / Started wearing less and goin' out more / Glasses of champagne out on the dance floor / Hangin' with some girls I've never seen before." I don't think I'll be able to listen to this song again without thinking about Marianne.

    Sally ends the playlist with "So Long, Marianne" by Leonard Cohen, and it's such a heartbreaking but wonderful way to end it. The song choice shows how painful Connell's decision at the end of the novel and show's first season is for him.

    View this video on YouTube

    youtube.com

    Now, if you'll excuse me, I'll be listening to both of these nonstop.

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