Collegian soundtrack

Editor’s Note: The Daily Collegian staffers’ playlists is a series started in spring 2020. Each week, a new staff member is featured to create a playlist of their current favorite songs. 

This week's Collegian playlist features opinion columnist and podcaster, Braden Dyreson.

Dyreson (sophomore-philosophy) currently writes satirical opinion pieces and co-hosts a podcast, “We Are... Trying Our Best,” with fellow staff member James Langan.

As a musician who plays the tenor saxophone and is also a part of Penn State’s pep band, music has always been an important part of Dyreson’s life. 

Dyreson was a drum major for his high school marching band and a member of his high school’s choir.

“I just listen to music whenever I can,” Dyreson said. 

Dyreson said he listens to a wide variety of music, but prefers classic rock (like Motown, the early 60s and 70s with jazz influences).

Here are some of his favorite songs right now:

1. “I Want You Back” by The Jackson 5

“It just slaps,” Dyreson said. “Whenever it comes on, you just have to dance and sing to it. It’s a great song.”

2. “I Saw Her Standing There” by The Beatles

Dyreson, who is a big Beatles fan, listed this early song from the band as one of his favorites.

“That’s another song I really like to jam out to,” Dyreson said.

3. “Think” by Aretha Franklin

4. “Spiritual Medley” by the Soweto Gospel Choir

A few years ago, Dyreson saw the Soweto Gospel Choir perform at Eisenhower Auditorium. 

One of his favorites from the group is “Spiritual Medley,” which he described as a combination of “African American spirituals and South African spirituals.”

“It’s just arranged in a really great way,” Dyreson said.

5. “Somebody to Love” by Queen

Queen is another one of Dyreson’s favorite bands. He said Queen is similar to the Beatles, and he complimented Queen’s diverse catalog of songs and unique sound.

“‘Somebody to Love’ is very much a rock song with a different vibe,” Dyreson said. 

6. “For Once In My Life” by Stevie Wonder

7. “Roll Over Beethoven” by Chuck Berry

While Dyreson noted that The Beatles covered this song, he said he prefers the Chuck Berry version. 


8. “A Change is Gonna Come” by Sam Cook

9. “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough” by Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell

“Who doesn’t love this song?” Dyreson said. 

He mentioned he likes the song’s metaphorical nature and how it tells a story.

“A lot of love songs can be super on the nose,” Dyreson said. “[This song] does it in a really unique way.”

10. “Fortunate Son” by Creedence Clearwater Revival

11. “Twenty Five Miles” by Edwin Starr

Dyreson said he loves this song’s big band jazz feel. 

“It’s another love song that tells a story about how far he’s walking to see his girl,” Dyreson said. “Each verse goes from 25 miles to 10 miles, to 5 miles…”

12. “Do Whatcha Wanna, Pt. 2” by Rebirth Brass Band

Dyreson mentioned this is his favorite song to play in pep band. 

“It’s just got that big band jazz sound to it,” Dyreson said. 

13. “Jupiter (From The Planets)” by Gustav Holst, Owain Arwel Hughes

Dyreson said this is one of his favorite classical songs. He especially likes classical music for studying. 

“It just feels like space,” Dyreson said. 

Also, Dyreson complimented Holst, calling him his “favorite British composer.” 

Dyreson said he is a fan of composers from the nationalist movement, which is when musicians take folk songs from their area and convert them into classical pieces.

14. “Here Comes The Sun” by The Beatles

15. “Bad, Bad Leroy Brown” by Jim Croce

Dyreson found this song “hard to explain,” and mentioned how unique the song is with its jazz influences and unique story.

16. “I’ve Got a Woman” by Ray Charles

Dyreson described Charles’ voice in this song as “mesmerizing.” 

“You can tell through their performance, they’re almost just screaming it out and feeling it in their gut,” Dyreson said. “I think that’s what pushes music to the next level.”

17. “Make me Smile” by Chicago

Dyreson enjoys this unique rock band. He said Chicago uses instruments like fugal horns, mellophones, trumpets and trombones to give the song an additional brass sound.

18. “September” by Earth, Wind & Fire

Dyreson’s playlist can be found here.


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Joshua Chu is a music reporter for The Daily Collegian. He is a senior studying digital and print journalism with a minor in film studies.