The senior in me has started to show more and more as the semester winds to a slow but difficult end. As I pass the freshmen dorms I tend to think more about the memories I have associated with of them, and the distinctive lounge smell of burnt popcorn and old carpet that always re-awakens forgotten memories; memories I would have assumed would have left my mind after such a continuous loss of sleep. This week, I want to present a little playlist of songs that bear a bit of the University of Dallas for me, each one capturing the UD spirit in their own little ways.
Firstly, the Lemonheads song “Half the Time” is a perfect ‘90s sun-soaked jam and, even though it is written about a girl, the lyrics fit scarily into how freshmen year can feel. This might just be personal experience, but it was not until college that the days seemed to stretch forever and dwindle at the same time — afternoons easily turned to evenings, and evenings with friends very quickly oozed into mornings. Oppositely, classes always seemed to take forever and a half. The Lemonheads perfectly capture this, right down to the details about cigarettes and caffeine that fill days and nights: “Mountain Dew and Marlboro / While I stew over all I owe / My eyes set wet against the breeze / Guide the sun into the trees.” Sometimes I think that the Lemonheads went to UD. “All I owe—“ that is the story of my Cap Bar experience (not to mention tuition).
Next on the list is “This Year” by The Mountain Goats. If you do not listen to The Mountain Goats, listening to them might just quench the soul-thirst you never knew you had. The chorus punches, “I am going to make it through this year / If it kills me”, and the jaunty folk melodies dance until the closing verse of celebration: “There will be feasting and dancing in Jerusalem next year.” It is an especially upbeat song that when played on repeat has special powers to magically help one finish Lit Trad papers that should have been started many moons ago.
Especially in the spirit of freshman year, “People are Strange” by The Doors and “This Time Tomorrow” by The Kinks. The experience of starting college here is unlike that of any other university. The girl you sit next to in your politics class is probably the same one your brother dated, and is now dating your roommate. Small world after all? That’s UD. It is a beautiful quality that makes UD the creative and caring community it is, but that does mean we all know a little bit too much about each other. In times of extreme awkwardness, “People are Strange” always made me laugh at whatever drama had surreptitiously supervened. The Kinks song is good simply because it’s the Kinks and it paints a beautiful escape plan that details a journey in a spaceship across the sea coming “this time tomorrow. The song is an especially good listen after The Doors song in order to lift you out of the kooky blues darkness that Jim Morrison does so well.
This year might bring about the addition of some new songs to the list. But I encourage everyone to make playlists that remind them of college; a little sonic diary can bring back more cherished memories than you might expect.