"Family Freak Out" Favorites


Kendall Burchard '19
Guest Columnist

In 2015, Saturday Night Live correctly pointed out that Adele’s “Hello” was the cure to most, if not all, family feuds during the holidays. With few topics safe from heavy politicization, here’s a playlist for talented, critically acclaimed artists to express your frustrations about our society to your family members without directly involving yourself in what will surely be an uncomfortable conversation. 

When Explaining How Law School is Going – Ozzy Osbourne, “Crazy Train” 

You think you have a cognizable claim for intentional infliction of emotional distress against most members of the faculty, and if you think you’ll win it, you haven’t outlined Torts yet. Let the song speak for you

When Harvey Weinstein, Kevin Spacey, or Roy Moore Come Up - Beyoncé’s “If I Were a Boy”

Because when your family suddenly becomes very invested in the presumption of innocence after a man has been accused of making sexual advances against a 14-year-old, sometimes you just gotta let Bey speak truth for you. 

When Someone Asks if You are Dating Someone - Daya, “Sit Still, Look Pretty” 

No. I’m in law school. Do you know anything about the distribution of marital property after divorce? Do married people really know what they’ve gotten themselves into?1

When You’re a Victim of “The Turkey Dump” – Miranda Lambert, “Mama’s Broken Heart” 

Your well-meaning family members may want to console you after a break up. It’s sweet. But emotions are high. Law school is hard. Grab a glass of wine, remind yourself that limiting distractions before finals is for the best, and remind your family that you’ll bury their sorry butt on the curve.

When You are Doing the Turkey Dumping - The Pussycat Dolls, “I Hate This Part”

Explaining why you broke up with your significant other can be as exhausting as explaining why you aren’t in a relationship and why you just got dumped. There’s no winning. 

So How Bout That Election in Virginia? - Imagine Dragons, “Believer,” and/or R.E.M, “It’s the End of the World” 

Maybe you’re pumped. Maybe you’re pissed. Maybe your family feels similarly, or maybe they don’t. Maybe play whichever song sums up your feelings quietly…with headphones in. Maybe you should avoid anything that broaches politics like the plague. Maybe that’s just me?

When Your Family Asks About Your Law School Friends – twenty one pilots, “Heathens” 

Depending on your Crim class and who among your classmates have designated as the murderers/murder victims in your professor’s hypos, you may be “lovin’ on the murderer sitting next to you” or be located next to a “psychopath.”2 Or maybe your friends are still insufferable after OGI, and they are the heathens “ask[ing] you who you know.” Sound about right? 

When Climate Change Comes Up - Toto, “Africa” 

Yes, “bless the rains down in Africa.” Apparently Charlottesville also needs some rain. Houston and Puerto Rico, however, need less. Play “Africa” and hope that everyone begins to sing along to arguably one of the best songs of all time and forgets their personal grudges against Al Gore, Leonardo DiCaprio, and the majority of the scientific community. 

When the NFL Comes Up - Lady Antebellum, “Need You Now” 

Knee-d…you now. Get it? Get it? 

…I’ll see myself out. 

When Trump’s Twitter Comes Up - Elton John, “Rocket Man”

Because if Trump continues to pick a fight with the “short and fat”3 leader of North Korea Rocket Man may answer with a bang. 

When The Russian Probe Comes Up – Who Freaking Knows, “Take Me Out To The Ball Game” 

Because Mueller = UVa Law = collegial = softball. Hey, let’s talk about softball instead!

When a “Did You…Did You Just Say THAT?!” Moment Occurs - Mariah Carey, “All I Want for Christmas Is You” 

This song will thoroughly confuse your family and is sure to provoke an alternate discussion about the proper time to begin to celebrate other upcoming winter holidays, be it Christmas, Hanukkah, or what have you. Someone will also probably start dancing. Distractions can be a blessing. 

When, Despite Your Best Efforts, You Tell Off a Family Member and Immediately Regret It - Taylor Swift, “Look What You Made Me Do” / Demi Lovato, “Sorry Not Sorry” 

Less about avoiding the discussion, more about how to make yourself feel better after. Whoops. But you were justified, right? 

When You’ve Made It Through the Meal – Queen, “We Are the Champions” 

Family still intact? No one’s lives taken/seriously threatened? Convinced the people who have otherwise stormed out of the room to come back to the table? You’ve accomplished what many before have failed to do, and your efforts should be generously rewarded. 



1 Cf. Obergefell v. Hodges, 135 S.Ct. 2584, 2600 (2015) (“Marriage responds to the universal fear that a lonely person might call out only to find no one there.” So can dogs, Justice Kennedy. And good friends. And coworkers because BigLaw hours. Shush). 

2 Do psychopaths qualify for the insanity defense? Anyone in Bonnie’s class know? § G? §A?

3 His words, not mine. @realDonaldTrump, Twitter (Nov. 11, 2017 4:48 PM), https://twitter.com/realDonaldTrump/status/929511061954297857 (“Why would Kim Jong-un insult me by calling me ‘old,’ when I would NEVER call him ‘short and fat?’ Oh well, I try so hard to be his friend - and maybe someday that will happen!”).