By: Alex Masse, Peak Associate
Well, it’s happening. It’s really happening: we’re back to in-person classes. I don’t know about the rest of you, but I’m terrified by the idea of people seeing anything besides my strategically-lit, chest-up Zoom portrait. To acclimate to the inevitable act of being perceived, here are some songs, from me to you.
1. “XS” by Rina Sawayama
If you’re arriving on campus in clothes from your quarantine-induced splurges, this song is for you. Feel hot as hell in those online purchases, and flex your lack of impulse control. With its irresistible beat, electric riff in the chorus, and iconic vocals, it’s basically impossible to hear this song and not feel untouchable — even if it’s technically a mockery of capitalism and excess. As Sawayama herself sings, “the heart wants what it wants.” Own the new look!
2. “We Are Not Alone” by Karla DeVito
Besides the fact this is a 1980s jam forever linked to a classic 1980s film (The Breakfast Club), “We Are Not Alone” is objectively a good choice for this weirdly specific scenario of leaving isolation for the campus life. It’s got everything you need: vintage synths, an energetic guitar riff, and powerful vocals that growl a little in the best way possible. We very much aren’t alone anymore, and isn’t that wonderful? Terrifying, sure, but wonderful.
3. “Normal At Last” by Dane Terry
Okay, things aren’t normal yet, but we can pretend, can’t we? This is probably my favourite song for optimistic dream sequences. With a delightful, head bop-worthy instrumental; Terry’s smooth, full voice; and the picture of a happy future painted by the lyrics, “Normal At Last” is a track that always makes me smile. Imagine going to bars and taking silly pictures in photo booths! Yes, we’re not quite there yet — and neither is Terry, if he’s talking about getting “one of those new flying cars” — but at least we’re taking steps forward.
4. “Friday I’m in Love” by The Cure
For many, going back to school means going back to a solid weekly routine. One benefit of this is that the weekend becomes extra enticing (unless you have homework). In short, days of the week become meaningful again! They aren’t just an abstract blur! And what better way to celebrate than with this oldie-but-goodie? It’s a lush, joyful song that you’ll catch yourself humming as you head to class, day after day, until it’s Friday and — ideally — you’re in love.
5. “Sad but Not Depressed” by It Makes A Sound
Did one of your favourite shops, bars, or other local venues permanently close due to the pandemic? Was your favourite small business mercilessly devoured by a chain? Are you righteously pissed off by the world you’re returning to? Then this is the song for you. Be upset in the beautiful way that makes you want to get up and do stuff. This track was featured in the 2019 podcast It Makes A Sound, and it has stuck with me ever since. “Sad but Not Depressed” is simple and catchy, yet somehow so profound. Also, the podcast is great. Sincerely, though, don’t let pandemic losses get you down. Strut back into life owning that you’re bummed out!