The Scene class of 2018 is, without a doubt, on the small side. What these Scene-iors lack in numbers, however, they make up for in for in their heart and dedication to this beloved little nook of The Observer. Adam is a veteran, jumping into Scene in his first few weeks of college. Owen and Megan joined later, but embraced our group all the same. Everybody in the class embraces the core Scene tenets of mercilessly trolling the internet for new music and trying to steal the aux cord at parties.
We have spent the past four years at Notre Dame making memories and listening to music. OK, mostly listening to music. Fittingly, we’re going to take a look back at our college careers through the lens of the music that means the most to us.
“Friends” – Francis and The Lights ft. Bon Iver and Kanye West
Four years of writing for and ultimately managing the Scene section has illuminated my life in countless ways. I’ve interviewed amazing people, reported on unforgettable shows and witnessed our culture transform from an absolutely unique vantage point. But do you know what was the most important part of tenure with Scene? The people, my friends — which is why the track “Friends” will always be close to my heart.
A collaboration between Francis and the Lights, Bon Iver, Kanye West, Rostam Batmanglij and others, the song deeply resonates with the spirit of communion and intimacy, a feeling I’ve come to cherish. Additionally, the track’s accompanying music video finds Bon Iver and Francis sharing in a magnificently goofy synchronized dance, mirroring every time I’ve run into Scene kid at a party and felt the immediate urge to take over both the aux and the dance floor with them.
Whether it was getting “Get Got” on at Finnies with Owen, spinning Kelly around with tears in my eyes while listening to Beyonce or holding Erin’s hand throughout an entire dance-heavy LCD Soundsystem set, so many of my favorite music memories are completely attached to the amazing people I had around me at the time — my friends, many of them Scene kids. To all of you, thank you from the bottom of my beautifully dark, twisted heart.
Speaking of Kanye, although he appears in the credits, as far as I can tell, his work on the track is only behind the scenes. Which means he never opens his mouth on the track — which, after four years of covering his BS, is the cherry on the top.
“Goodbye Stranger” – Supertramp
College graduation is the end of an extremely formative era in your life; that’s not a particularly astute observation, but whenever this sentiment is vocalized, it’s usually met with confirmations that no, it won’t be over, not really. You’ll still keep in touch and visit and tag each other in increasingly avant-garde Facebook memes. And for your closest friends, that’s probably true — it’s far from over.
But you’re not equally close with everyone who’s occupied an important part of your college career — you can’t be. There are some things that will be really, definitively over.
Supertramp’s “Goodbye Stranger” is about the end of a relationship. Rick Davies and Roger Hodgson sing as two protagonists in the process of leaving each other, with some sort of mutual understanding. Whatever their working relationship, the song itself is not bitter or resentful. That’s not to say there’s any doubt that it’s over; no real hint of a possible reunion is detectable, even in the line “Will we ever meet again?” It’s over, and they both know it; and it’s OK.
An ending, even a permanent one, doesn’t have to be tragic.
There are people who I’m not close enough with to continue contact with, even a few weeks out from now, but that doesn’t mean our relationship, whatever it might be described as, wasn’t important. It just means that it doesn’t extend past college; after this particular episode of our lives, we’ll say goodbye and be strangers again, hopefully both a little better — if a little sadder — for the experience.
You meet so many people these four years, and they fill up little corners in your life: your work friends, your club friends, your dorm friends, your study abroad friends, your friends from that one class you took freshman year. Not all connections are permanent; most are fleeting. But they’re still worth celebrating, bittersweet as goodbyes are.
I’m sure I won’t get a proper goodbye with everyone who deserves one. But to everyone I’ll never see again, thanks for being a part of my life, even if just briefly — it’s been nice.
“Paper Planes” – MIA
I was twelve years old when I first heard MIA’s “Paper Planes.” Despite my proclaimed “exclusively-rock” pallet at the time, the song enraptured me instantly. The track’s exuberance and attitude excited me in a way I could only express by dancing around the room and singing along. Ten years later, not much has changed. Except now I always have a room full of my best friends right there with me.
I don’t know about you, but all of my best friends here love “Paper Planes.” Whether I am hanging out with my girlfriend, my friends in O’Neill Hall or the music-loving family I’ve found among the Scene kids, everybody appreciates MIA’s magnum opus.
For a little while, it was a song receded from my memory and got lost somewhere in the murky adolescent funk of high school. But college has a way of dredging up great songs from our middle school years and throwing them back at us, charged with nostalgia and brand new meanings that we missed in our younger days.
“Paper Planes” exists in this weird nexus. It brings the class of 2018 back 10 years into our past, yet it also feels oddly powerful in the present moment. MIA’s biting satire is the sound of a young woman who is out to make her mark on the world, something many of us will contemplate as we walk on the turf this May 20.
Whenever I hear the song’s wobbly opening notes at Finnies, my head immediately jerks itself around to locate my closest friends, and I invariably find the same look of sublime satisfaction pasted on their faces. As the kick drum booms, ushering in the infamous beat, we all take a deep breath and gets ready for another plunge together once again. Everyone’s a winner. We’re making our fame.