This mixtape is called SPRING BREAK

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On Death, Rebirth, And SPRING BREAK

When Larson and I were dewy, well rested youths, we had a joke with our friends during the beginning of April where we would scream SPRING BREAK while drinking beer on the weekend. We were adults with office or retail jobs, and none of us had a spring break and, even if we did, we wouldn’t be spending it day-drunk and grinding on strangers at Lake Havasu or Daytona Beach. But still, we celebrated the idea of a week of carefree hedonism; a narrative that is as much a foundational myth of America as meritocracy or buying a starter home. Or, it is if you’re a Gen Xer or Geriatric Millennial who grew up watching MTV’s Spring Break. So why a mix called SPRING BREAK at the start of summer?

I aim to join Larson for three mixes a year, all coinciding with my vacation time. Naturally, a spring break mix would channel all the vibes of freedom/adventure/road trip/sweaty dance floor that occupied our imaginations. But we didn’t get to it over spring break 2023.

My father died in February and Larson spent a lot of March helping to clean out his house. He would come home with boxes of photographs and letters, coin collections, books. As anyone who has ever lost someone knows, these were parts and memories of the person who has left, reminders of their life and also of their absence. I spent last winter grieving my father; but also wading through the complicated feelings left in the wake of his death, and in the flotsam and jetsam of his life that Larson spent hours sorting through, to donate, bring home, or throw away. This winter also saw the deaths of family and friends of people who are dear to me; people who are still grieving losses, both sudden and known. This is all to say that: during the first week of April, the SPRING BREAK vibes simply were not there.

Ada Limon’s poem “Instructions On Not Giving Up” is about spring and about grief. It describes “the greening of the trees,” the way that renewal happens despite winter and death and all kinds of hurt. This year, I’ve been thinking about the close of the poem, in which the speaker imagines the trees speaking:

“Fine then/I’ll take it, the tree seems to say,
a new slick leaf/unfurling like a fist to an open palm,
I’ll take it all.”

I have been trying this season, my 43rd spring, to unfurl my fists. To know that grief and anger and bare branches will always be a part of life, but so will joy and fresh leaves, shooting out of those branches.

Larson, correct me if I’m misspeaking, but I think we are both ready to unfurl now (agreed. -Larson). To know full well that there will be more winters but that right now we are ready to celebrate spring. We sat down last week and made this mix, laughing and staying up past our bedtimes. It’s a little late in the season, and no one is wearing a bikini, but still:


Serena Palumbo - May, 2023

You cracked the code!

So here’s what Serena picked… Wiley, Stefflon Don & Sean Paul - Boasty (feat. Idris Elba), Mura Masa Love$ick (feat. A$AP Rocky), The Streets - Fit But You Know It, Burna Boy - Way Too Big, Dua Saleh - cuéntame, Pitbull - Timber (feat. Ke$ha), Chromeo - Lost On the Way Home (feat. Solange), Tei Shi - Keep Running

And here’s what Larson picked… Caesars - Jerk It Out, Anderson .Paak- Heart Don't Stand a Chance, Snow Tha Product - Dale Gas (feat. Alemán), Matt and Kim - Forever, The Knocks & MUNA - Bodies, Eleanor Friedberger - Roosevelt Island, Niki & The Dove - You Want the Sun, Petite League - DAGGER EYES

Sign on up!

Album / Compilation
clip from Reno 911
Caesars - Jerk It Out
39 Minutes Of Bliss (2003)
Wiley, Stefflon Don & Sean Paul - Boasty (feat. Idris Elba)
Boasty (feat. Idris Elba) - Single (2019)
Mura Masa - Love$ick (feat. A$AP Rocky)
Mura Masa (2016)
Anderson .Paak - Heart Don't Stand a Chance
Malibu (2016)
Snow Tha Product - Dale Gas (feat. Alemán)
Dale Gas (feat. Alemán) - Single (2018)
The Streets - Fit But You Know It
A Grand Don't Come For Free (2004)
clip from Arrested Development
Matt and Kim - Forever
Burna Boy - Way Too Big
Twice as Tall (2020)
The Knocks - Bodies (feat. MUNA)
HISTORY (2020)
Dua Saleh - cuéntame
Eleanor Friedberger - Roosevelt Island
Last Summer (2011)
the semiotic signifiance of SPRING BREAK
Pitbull - Timber (feat. Ke$ha)
Global Warming: Meltdown (2012)
Niki & The Dove - You Want the Sun
Everybody's Heart Is Broken Now (2016)
Petite League - DAGGER EYES
Chromeo - Lost On the Way Home (feat. Solange)
White Women (2014)
Tei Shi - Keep Running
Crawl Space (2017)