Asking Vassar students, “What are you listening to?”

I’m sure I’m not the only one on this fine fall campus who has seen those videos where YouTuber Shan Rizwan asks students at various universities, “What song are you listening to?” They feature the beauty and diversity of music taste, and prove that you can never tell what people are listening to as they walk by you on the way to class, mysterious headphones on ears. Apparently, people don’t dance or laugh or smile or breathe when they walk to class; they turn into Easter Island statues and avoid making eye contact with you—and I’m not excluding myself from this. I don’t want anybody to know I listen to Global K-pop Boy Band Sensation Holy Shit I Love Your Choreographies group Seventeen religiously, so I try to mimic the faces of the couple from “American Gothic” as much as I can. Now you’ll never know that I listen to Neutral Milk Hotel—oops.

Anyway, if you were walking by me on the street, I could never tell what you were listening to. Maybe it’s Jessica Pratt. Maybe it’s Death Grips. Or maybe you’re the kind of person who busts it down to “Cbat” by Hudson Mohawke on the way to your French drills. Since Rizwan has not visited Vassar yet, I thought I’d recommend some songs you should listen to just in case he decides to POUNCE on you and ask you this DREADED question. You don’t want to be the chump caught listening to Kirk Franklin! 


  • “Dreams” by Fleetwood Mac. Hood classic. I don’t care if it’s basic—the worst thing you’ll be labeled as is “vanilla” by a bunch of snobs in a YouTube comments section.
  • “Suck It and See” by Arctic Monkeys. The title’s kind of “cheeky,” as Alex Turner would say (what are British people like? I have no idea).
  • “Enjoy” by Björk. Oh, this song is so badass. And apparently, it’s one of Björk’s less popular songs. Who wouldn’t want to be scared half to death by those random trumpet bursts while walking around campus at 10 in the morning? When you tell someone to “enjoy” this song, they definitely won’t but it will leave a lasting impression, which is the least you could hope for with a Björk song anyway.
  • “Tekitoi” by Rachid Taha. To be honest, I feel sorry for you because I know your taste in music will never touch mine—you didn’t grow up with an Indian dad whose favorite genres were Motown and Qawwalis. The best song I can think of that combines both of these fun styles is “Tekitoi.” Maybe you can show it to one of your friends to prove that you might still have a little culture in you before you both skip it to listen to Taylor Swift’s new album, you vapid rube.
  • “Cherries Were Made For Eating” by Godiego. I’ve made my love for the movie “House” quite clear before, but did I mention this amazing song from the movie’s soundtrack?! Imagine saying the title of this song to someone and they respond with the next lyrics like, “Yeah, and fish were made to swim in the sea?!” I would propose on the spot.
  • “Hrudayam Ekkadunnadi” from the “Ghajini” OST (Telugu). OHHH ya know ya girl Nandini had to put a super old Telugu song on here, #eastorwestindiaisthebest. The backing beat (97 beats per minute, I checked) is perfect for a brisk walk on a fine October morning. The lyrics, like all Telugu song lyrics, are so sickeningly sweet and romantic that they’ll make you cry honey. What a lovely look in the morning. Where is my heart? It’s circling around this song.
  • “Ohio Is For Lovers” by Hawthorne Heights. Okay, okay, I included this just for laughs. I know this is supposed to be a serious article, I’m sorry. But have you ever heard an emo song sung by four white guys that has “Ohio” in the title? Of course you haven’t;  I’m here to cleanse your ears. My mom actually used to work in the same city that Hawthorne Heights is from… Yeah, there’s nothing there.


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