So Buzzfeed posted this list last week about songs you will remember if you were in college from 2007-2011. This is my milieu, but as ridiculously specific Buzzfeed has become I could not relate to this pop chart list. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not some hipster hater, I remember all of these songs, especially Lady Gaga. (Because I hated her at the time, now I think she’s cool but it’s not like I want to go pick out curtains or anything). What I’m saying is they did not evoke fond warm college memories for me. I really think your musical journey is your own, especially in college, and if you were just listening to whatever happened to be release during those four years, well I feel bad for you. We live in an age where it is so easy to find and explore music that is new to you. I think finding music that speaks to you especially during the college years is such a beautiful and profound journey every young person should go through.
So without further ado, I bring you my influential college musical finds. Some of them came out when I was in college, others did not, but I discovered them at this time.
My musical taste at this point kind of sounded like a cross between music you’d hear in an American Eagle Outfitters and Apple Commercials. Basically late 00’s alt/indie rock. I was really into Dashboard Confessional, Jimmy Eat World, The Killers, Metric, Ok Go, Hot Hot Heat, Weezer, Relient K, and Tegan and Sara. (see links for notable songs by these artists).
Then my life changed when I heard 1234 by Feist on an apple commercial and watched the music video and discovered the rest of the album. I remember singing it on the way to take my French final. During the Winter semester of that year was when my musical life changed again. I saw Juno and immediately purchased the soundtrack. Discovering Kimya Dawon, The Moldy Peaches, and more importantly Belle and Sebastian.
Ellen Page slayed in this film
The winter of 08 was also when Vampire Weekend’s first titular album came out and my life changed forever. Literate Indie rock with afro-pop influences? FOREVER YES. That whole first album was amazing. As an English major, I do give a f*** about an Oxford Comma. Pretty sure Ezra Koenig does too, considering he was an English teacher before the band took off.
Baby Ezra Koenig you made my life
This Fall was when my 80s New Wave phase began. I was listening to a lot of Tears for Fears, Echo and the Bunnymen, Flock of Seagulls, and Modern English.
It was also when The Killers album Day and Age came out. The single from that album was Human, and it made all us indie rockers wonder whether we were human or are we dancer. Stylistically and musically, this album fit nicely in with my new wave phase. I also remember listening to the Sawdust album by the Killers a lot during this time. Tranquilize featuring Lou Reed was my favorite on that album.
Brandon Flowers was rocking feathers before the all the indie basics at Coachella
That spring I got super into Arcade Fire, MGMT, Chairlift, The Fruitbats, and the Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist Soundtrack.
Kat Dennings slayed in this. Proving that Michael Cera will be upstaged by every woman who is in a film with him.
JGL and Zooey slayed equally in this film.
This was the definitive year where I really started to become the person I am today musically. I was super into Peter, Bjorn and John particularly the Writer’s Block album, the 500 Days of Summer Soundtrack, Simon and Garfunkel, Bon Iver, She & Him, Fleet Foxes, Passion Pit, …and SUFJAN STEVENS. Sufjan is very important. He is the core of my musical taste.
Perfect Indie Dreamboat. Usually seen with a banjo.
Winter 2k10 was when Vampire Weekend’s second album, Contra, came out. I got very into Belle and Sebastian, particular 90s Belle and Sebastian and then the Write About Love album that came out that year, and Grizzly Bear at this time too.
Remember Hipster Runoff? The site where Carles talked about relevant indie buzzbands? Well the site was bought last year, so I can’t link to it, but I remember reading that site a lot because they skewered a lot of indie music culture in funny and relevant ways. I remember there was a post about who was the best indie dreamboat, Sufjan Stevens or Ezra Koenig. I kid you not. Maybe there were a couple other guys in there but I remember it because I was like yes! I can’t decide either!
The choice is up to you. But now I’d have to say Ezra, he rocks a nice sweater while Sufjan prefers that bro-dude look. Ezra would also be able to have a normal conversation and talk about books with you. Sufjan probably would make you tea and then forget he made it because he was busy crocheting and hiding from the world.
This was the year I got really into Bowie, I started off with the Best of Bowie album and took off from there. I also finally got around to seeing the movie Once and became obsessed with the soundtrack. Sufjan released two albums that year The Age of Adz and All Delighted People. I was obsessed with both. I enjoyed the Scott Pilgrim movie soundtrack, once again where Michael Cera was upstaged by everyone else in the film. Metric did a great song on there for the fictional Clash at Demonhead. I also had my Radiohead phase at this time.
Arcade Fire released Suburbs and won a Grammy for it, much to the chagrin of the internet Twidiots. Iron and Wine’s Kiss Each Other Clean came out, I saw them live on my last day of classes and it was glorious. Right after I graduated, Fleet Foxes released Helplessness Blues, the perfect album for my post-grad ennui.
There you have it. My musical road through my undergraduate collegiate years.