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The Daily Tar Heel

Office DJ: This playlist is NOT about Jimmy Buffett

Photo Courtesy of Lauren Rhodes.

I love Jimmy Buffett.

But when I asked Opinion Editor Laney Crawley if I could write my office DJ about one the most beloved artists of our parent’s generation, she repeatedly told me she would not publish the article. 

“My first time hearing of him was when he died,” she texted me. That is a travesty.

So, I concocted a plan. I would make my Parrothead debut, but disguise it as a lovely playlist for sitting on the quad with your friends. Subtle, right?

As the weather gets warmer, vitamin D supplements return to their shelves and we approach the sweet spot between those last few midterms and finals, it’s getting harder and harder to pick going to class over sitting on the quad with friends. 

It feels so college to throw a frisbee, recognize campus celebrities and procrastinate doing actual work by kicking back on Polk Place. To me, any stretch of time on the quad often means turning on my “Buffett Ballads” playlist.

That’s right, Buffet and I go so far back that, despite being a Spotify user, this playlist is one of a handful of playlists downloaded onto my Apple Music app because my dad imported them from his CDs. 

Songs like “Come Monday” and “Margaritaville” have been the soundtrack to my family road trips, my dad’s naps and many a hand of cards. I had a “Little Miss Magic” shirt growing up and have contemplated more than once investing in a pair of Margaritaville-themed Crocs

I know, I know, capitalism. But for me, Buffet has always been the sound of relaxation, the feeling of sun and late-night laughter. 

Beyond the witty wordplay and tropical imagery, Buffet sings about the aches of growing up. He uses beaches and pirates and copious amounts of tequila to remind us that youth is a state of mind and that we should always make time for an adventure — on or off a beach. 

I remember waking up to a text from my dad the morning of Sep. 2 that Buffett had died the night before at the age of 76. My mom responded with lyrics from one of his songs, “He Went to Paris.

“Some of it’s magic, and some of it’s tragic, but I had a good life all the way,” she sent with heart emojis. 

As kiddo on the precipice of a lot of change over the next few years, I love that he embraces aging head-on and seemingly shrugs his shoulders at all the uncertainty adulthood brings. And he’s right, nothing is sure and none of the boring stuff matters. 

Isn’t that great?

Life is hard, college is hard. But it’s an adventure, one I hope we get to enjoy. Whether through a student organization, time on the quad or a margarita, take a second to cast your troubles aside and have some freakin’ fun.

So, I present to you this (very chaotic) playlist that was definitely created for sitting on the quad and is in no way just a vehicle to share some of my favorite Jimmy Buffett songs. 

By the way, have you seen my lost shaker of salt?



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Lauren Rhodes

Lauren Rhodes is the 2024 university editor at The Daily Tar Heel. She has previously served as an assistant editor and senior writer for the university desk. Lauren is a sophomore pursuing a double major in media and journalism and political science with a minor in politics, philosophy and economics.