Senior year feels a lot like LCD Soundsystem’s song “All My Friends.” The beat speeds up, emotions rise, time slips away faster and faster until you can barely jump up and down quickly enough to keep time to the music. All of a sudden, you’re close to the end. As their final year winds down, senior Scene writers take a moment to explain what it means to leave school in one of the best ways they know how: through music.
P.S. Whether they started writing in their first years or their final ones, these Scene-iors found a home for creativity, community and offbeat album recs in Scene. If you’re thinking about writing for Scene, open up a blank document and start typing. Take the risk. We’re all grateful that we did.
“The Bus Song” — Jay Som
By Nora McGreevy, Senior Scene Writer
“College is just a lot of walking,” my sister texted me. I laughed when I saw her message pop up on my phone screen, as I trudged from O’Shag to North Dining Hall for an early dinner. I mean, she’s not wrong. She was a week into her first year of college. This would be my last year. I had spent most of my four years moving around — biking, walking, running, hurtling from one destination to another.
If you stopped me at any point this year as I stomped furiously across campus, boots clacking against pavement, chances are high I would’ve been listening to “The Bus Song” through my headphones. Melina Duterte, known better as Jay Som, opens “The Bus Song” delicately and closely, as though she’s whispering words of assurance in your ear. “Take your time,” Duterte sings. “Won’t be long ’til our car breaks down.” She pauses and the drums hit — a steady, thumping beat, like the consistent turn of bike spokes or feet falling in rhythm. She sings about caring for friends (taking off their shoes), and forgiveness (taking your time), change and yearning. “I just want you to need me,” she admits.
Duterte released “The Bus Song” in early 2017. Studying abroad, I replayed the song religiously on my long commutes in a strange country. Then I played it while stretched out on a sunny quad with friends, making breakfast, after fights, writing papers, when I was lonely, when I was happy, biking in rain and snow. “Take time to figure it out, / I’ll be the one who sticks around.” Duterte played this song during her live show on campus last spring, on a stage awash in deep purple and blue lights. I closed my eyes and stood still. I felt the way I feel sometimes when I walk home late at night, carrying anxieties and too many bags, when I can look up and see stars glittering above yellowed brick buildings. Fear mingled with excitement courses through my veins as I consider the road ahead. I feel dizzy.
“Rattlesnake” — King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard
By Brian Boylen, Scene Writer
It feels a bit absurd that the song that defined my college career is one that pretty much just repeats the word “Rattlesnake” for eight minutes. However, it is also oddly fitting.
When I listen to “Rattlesnake,” I don’t think about the lyrics. I think about when other Scene kids and I moshed to the point of almost collapsing during the song at Audiotree Music Festival. I think about all the football games where “Rattlesnake” was the only song with the power to get me and my roommates out of bed early. I think about all of my friends with a normal taste in music that I forced the song on until they too couldn’t get it out of their heads.
For a while, I felt isolated at this school due to the notion that my strange taste made me “not fit in.” Going wild to this song with like-minded people let me know I wasn’t alone, and sharing in this song with many others made me realize it is OK to be different.
I don’t know what all lies in store for me after graduation, but I know I’m seeing King Gizzard in August with my best friend, and they better play “Rattlesnake.”
“Head On/Pill” — King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard
By Augie Collins, Scene Writer
At a whopping length of 16:01, “Head On/Pill” is not an easy song to sit through. Fortunately, it was just the right length to carry me from Carroll Hall to Jordan when waking up for an 8:20 a.m. class was the last thing I wanted to do.
I would have never guessed that a seven-piece, Australian, psychedelic rock band would be by far the most influential artist of my college career, but now it seems like a no-brainer. “Head On/Pill” introduced me to not only a new psychedelic music scene, but so many Notre Dame students that reveled in that scene as well.
I’ll remember all the times me and my friends drunkenly danced to King Gizzard after a night out. I’ll remember how our love for the band took us to Audiotree Music Festival (where I met my girlfriend) in Michigan, and then to Desert Daze in California, creating the most memorable fall break of my four years.
I’m still waiting for them to play a mind-melting rendition of “Head On/Pill” live, but I’m hopeful that my wish will be granted when I see them in Seattle this summer with the biggest gizzhead of them all (guess who).
“This Must Be the Place” — Talking Heads
By Cynthia Tran, Scene Writer
One of my first days in the Midwest was spent ditching Welcome Weekend for a day and staring into the horizon beyond Lake Michigan with my dad. I never felt like I belonged at Notre Dame, at all, and in some ways, that could be the most painful thing I can say about my four years.
In the past year, however, I met some of my (now) best friends through Scene, WVFI and — believe it or not — Mendoza. The only painful thing about that is how long it took me to find all of them. I remember how difficult it was to pull so many all-nighters, but I also remember how much more my abs hurt from laughing after belting out to Shakira in the Mendoza basement at 5 a.m. I remember how painful it was to wake up after a day of jumping around and dancing at Audiotree Music Festival (where I met my boyfriend). I remember how painfully embarrassing it was to bowl a 35 at Chippewa Lanes, and also how much more my throat hurt from yelling after I bowled over 100 three games later.
The song “This Must Be the Place” is about drifting along in an attempt to find exactly where “home” is. David Byrne sings at the end of the song: “Home is where I want to be, but I guess I’m already there.” I never felt like Notre Dame was my home, but the friends that I surrounded myself with helped me realize that “home” is a feeling much more than it is a place. Now, the most painful thing is realizing that I won’t get to see them every day.
“Someone New” — Hozier
By Carlos De Loera, Scene Writer
If there is one musician’s music that has meant the most to me while in college, that musician would be the Irish forest-daddy Hozier. His self-titled debut album was released on September, 19, 2014, only a month after I started college — yes, it has taken me that long to graduate. The entirety of the album was a beautifully contemplative work that reflected Hozier’s dissatisfaction with the modern world and also focused on heartbreak. As someone who had recently been broken up with, I felt that. Freshman me was pensive a.f.
One song that has managed to stick with me most from this album is “Someone New.” The song is about the dissatisfaction of going from romantic partner to romantic partner and the emptiness that can come from that. I actually can’t relate to that premise at all, but I give alternative meaning to the song. The title “Someone New” constantly reminds me of how people say that college is when you really come to define yourself — in essence, become someone new. Throughout my (what feels like 87) years here, I have molded into someone new many times over, only to find a dissatisfaction in myself with these new personas, much like how Hozier feels by the end of this song.
On a different note, the idea of falling in love just a little bit everyday with someone new reminds me of my time at this school. It feels that everyday I can find something else to be grateful for on campus. Some days I fall in love with the generous amounts of financial aid I have received, others I can fall in love with the pleasant and tiring experience of running around the lakes on a rare, but glorious, sunny day. This love also manifests itself in the many fruitful, lasting friendships that I have formed throughout my 124 years here, and these relationships continue to grow just a little bit everyday — maybe even with someone new.