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Musical time capsule

Matthew Robison | Wednesday, September 22, 2010

A strange phenomenon in popular music is its ability to capture and become eternally correlated with periods in our life. Without our conscious control, certain songs become forever linked to periods in our lives because of their inherently overplayed and finite nature.

One of my fondest memories of my first semester freshman year was the inevitable blaring of the Miley Cyrus classic “Party in the USA” at one point (or several) during a dorm party. Other songs, such as the Black Eyed Peas’ “I Gotta Feeling,” Jay Sean’s “Down,” Jason DeRulo’s “Whatcha Say” and Ke$ha’s “Tik Tok” will also forever conjure up dorm party memories from freshman year for me.

Maybe I just have not realized it yet, but that song has not been present yet this year. There have been songs with serious potential, such as Katy Perry’s “Teenage Dream” and Taio’s Cruz’s “Dynamite” but we have no definitive musical time capsules.

There are several reasons why this could be. Primarily, now that I am a big, bad sophomore, I do not attend nearly as many dorm parties as I did my first few weeks as a freshman. Secondly, it is only a month into school and no song has really had time to catch enough traction to become party-viral. The one other possibility is that no musician has been able to put out a song that has the immediate dance party appeal combined with the perfect amount of staying power. The correct mixture of an infectious beat, autotune and lyrics that could be memorized by an amnesiac has not been reached.

In order to solve this situation, we can wait for an artist to put out that song, or we can decide amongst ourselves to create it. The latter is my suggestion.

Be that guy who causes his roommate to roll his eyes every time he walks in the room because you are playing the same song over and over as loud as your MacBook Pro will allow. Be the person who puts the same song once every seven songs on your “Dance Party” playlist on iTunes. Be the slightly drunk girl or group of girls who hijacks a carefully prepared playlist to play your favorite song. That’s right. Risk being annoying to your roommate, maligned by party hosts and generally overbearing with your dedication to one awful song.

A few possibilities: “F*** You” by Cee Lo Green and a song that has been around but one that I feel never got the play it deserved, “Like a G6” by the Far East Movement. But be sure to check out those songs if you have not — they have potential.

Maybe the song of Fall Semester 2010 will present itself organically, and maybe that’s the way it should be. Forcing the issue may be against the true nature of these songs. However, I’m afraid that if we do not act soon, this semester will be swept away in time, forever lost in our musical memory. That I cannot bear to accept. To modify one of Maximus Decimus Meridius’ famous lines in Gladiator, “What songs we listen to repetitively in life echo in eternity.”


The views expressed in the Inside Column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.

Contact Matthew Robison at mrobison@nd.edu