Scene-ior Selections 2023
Aidan O'Malley, Alysa Guffey, Genevieve Coleman, Nicole Bilyak and Gabriel Zarazua | Monday, May 1, 2023
With graduation fast approaching, our Scene-iors reminisce on the songs that helped define their four years in South Bend.
“Just Like Heaven” by The Cure
Aidan O’Malley, Senior Scene Writer
Don’t be fooled by the title: If it’s a song by The Cure, it ain’t all sunshine and rainbows.
Still, “Just Like Heaven” is one of the English rock band’s very best. Frontman Robert Smith has said it was inspired by a trip he took with his then-girlfriend, now wife to a beach on the coast of East Sussex, which explains the song’s seaside imagery. But far more famous than its “deepest oceans” is the opening verse:
“‘Show me, show me, show me how you do that trick! / The one that makes me scream,’ she said. / ‘The one that makes me laugh,’ she said. / And threw her arms around my neck.”
Four years go fast — talk about a trick. My memories of college are blurred, and not always for the reasons that you would think. They zip past my head and dart across my eyes, and all I can hold on to are the feelings. “[‘Just Like Heaven’] is about hyperventilating,” Smith said. “Kissing and fainting to the floor.”
“You’re just like a dream.”
But even the best dreams don’t always make sense. Senior year has been sublime, but I remember a freshman year that was dogged with doubt. Junior year was transformative, but COVID-19 stopped me in my tracks as a sophomore. I’ve loved Notre Dame, but sometimes, I’ve been lonely here, too.
And that’s what “Just Like Heaven” is about. “The idea,” Smith said, “is that one night [of heaven] is worth 1,000 hours of drudgery.”
As I stare down an uncertain future, I’ll try and hold these memories close.
“You, soft and only / You, lost and lonely / You, just like heaven.”
“Lovesick” by Maude Latour
Alysa Guffey, Senior Scene Writer
I saw Maude Latour perform live during my junior year without knowing who she was at all. Before singing “Lovesick,” she asks the crowd, “Can we break our own hearts for a moment?”
With graduation steadily approaching, it’s often felt like a choice whether to be happy or sad, whether to make yourself heartbroken or not. Can a place make you feel lovesick?
“Lovesick, love you ‘til my heart stops / Love you ‘til I’m carsick, love you ‘til you’re starsick.”
What struck me most about Maude’s songs was the relatability of them. She’s a 23-year-old college graduate writing about the simplicity of sitting on park benches, hanging out in dorm rooms with flashing lights and seeing someone familiar across the quad.
“Isn’t it amazing / that people connect for a minute or two / One more minute with you.”
Like so many of us, she’s grasping for words to describe the fleetingness of four years. The awe of arriving and the despair of leaving.
“Cause what more is there in this life than who we become, / The places we go, and the love I have for…” you, Notre Dame.
“A-O-K” by Tai Verdes
Genevieve Coleman, Senior Scene Writer
In January, I looked down the barrel of my last semester with a mixture of anxiety and anticipation. I worried about all the things I had to get done before graduation.
No one really explains to you how stressful these parts of life can be. But in the opening of his melodic song, Tai Verdes reminds me that even in the uncertainty, I can still find joy.
“Living in this big blue world / With my head up in outer space / I know that I’ll be A-O A-O-K / I know that I’ll be A-O A-O-K.”
There have been a lot of moments in the several years where I questioned where I belonged on both the tri-campus and in the world. College is a time for asking yourself big questions about where you want to invest your talents. And I think I’ve put them in the right places — this newspaper, my community and my students.
“When I see trouble come my way / I be makin’ lemonade / I know that I’ll be A-O A-O-K / I know that I’ll be A-O A-O-K.”
It’s only taken a crippling caffeine addiction, time with my friends and almost four years to figure it out.
Now, I know that I’ll be A-O A-O-K.
“Queen of Kings” by Alessandra
Nicole Bilyak, Senior Scene Writer
This is a more obscure song that has come out in recent months, but it is, in my opinion, one of the most powerful songs that has ever been released that is about female empowerment.
Performed by Norwegian-Italian songstress Alessandra, this song depicts female empowerment and how to feel good about yourself. Clocking in at under three minutes, “Queen of Kings” really brings a whole new meaning to the phrase “shout from the rooftops” in terms of female empowerment.
This song was performed at the Melodi Grand Prix in February, which is a Norwegian based music contest in order to secure a spot in Eurovision, which is an international song contest that is focused in Europe. Out of all of the Norwegian contestants, “Queen of Kings” was the one that took the spot.
I really did like this song as a female who goes to an all-women’s campus. It really did scream empowerment to me, especially with all of the political things going on towards women. The song’s message was the most powerful to me and I think this song will hold a special place in my heart.
“If I Can Dream” by Elvis Presley
Gabriel Zarazua, Graphic Designer and Scene Writer
I found out about this song from a documentary called “The Four Falls of Buffalo.” I watched it every year, and the song coming along at the very end made it one of my personal favorites to listen to and is one the most emotional performances I have ever heard.
“Tell me why, oh why, oh why can’t my dream come true.”
I’m sure all of us can relate to this line, wondering why certain things have happened to us throughout college. Why we failed a test, rejected for an internship or suffered a broken heart, wondering why we can’t catch a break.
“But as long as a man / Has the strength to dream / He can redeem his soul and fly.”
There certainly have been times where I felt alone in the dark, wondering if all this hard work the past four years would pay off. Thankfully my friends and family helped me keep my dreams alive and keep pushing forward.
“Deep in my heart there’s a trembling question / Still I am sure that the answer, answer’s gonna come somehow.”
In my senior year I wondered if certain dreams of mine would eventually come true, but I believed someday it would all come together, and through the grace of God it did. I graduated with honors, got to be a designer for The Shirt and was accepted into art school. Through all the dark times, I finally got my answer.