The music that mattered - 10 songs that soundtracked my degree

by - Friday, September 26, 2014

All over the country, thousands of freshers will be descending upon our Universities, putting their childhood behind them and getting ready to throw themselves headlong into young adulthood with all the euphoria, silly mistakes and large piles of ignored washing that it involves. I can't believe that three years ago this week, that was me. My three years as a Music Journalism Undergraduate at The University of Huddersfield were some of the best of my life, and naturally, music played a large part of that. Whether it be the songs that I busted a (drunken) move to in the clubs, the records I returned to when I felt homesick or the tracks that remind me of the wonderful friends I made, here are the top ten songs that will forever make me nostalgic for September 2011.

10) Azealia Banks - 212

It's big, it's naughty and it was the most permanently requested track on every night out. Still sounding as fresh as it did three years ago, it reminds me of Leeds Festival 2012 and the anticipation of getting ready for every night out, often involving stupid fancy dress or rummaging for those long lost club vouchers that would mean a much needed free Pot Noodle on the way home.

9)Brand New - Okay, I Believe You, But My Tommy Gun Don't

Bit of an odd one I know, but having made friends with two girls who shared my love of Brand New, this became a bit of Karaoke anthem for predrinks on Rock Night, for 3am walks home, and actually, pretty much whenever we fancied a sing song. Bonus points for the time we managed to legitimately mash it up with One Direction and make it sound okay.

8)Pulled Apart By Horses - Yeah Buddy

Like a lot of songs on this list, this song is on here mainly because of a gig I went to in first year, at Sheffield Leadmill, where I saw PABH for the first time live. I was very drunk (a theme is emerging here) but I can honestly say I had the most fun moshpitting my way around to their unique brand of big, dumb but somehow sharp rock. Whilst that evening got more than a little blurry on the bar crawl that followed, it still brings back fond memories of being spoilt for choice with the northern live music scene. 

7) Twin Atlantic - Make A Beast Of Myself

A less emotional story on the whole, but this song does remind me of one of the best interviews I did as a student journalist. I got to go on my first ever tour bus, the band were entirely lovely and when Sam McTrusty told me it was the best interview they'd had all tour, it was the first time I felt like I might actually make a decent writer. Less awesome was the great but freezing cold gig, followed by the longest wait ever at Leeds Station for the delayed train. Grim. 

6)The Wanted - Glad You Came

Everyone has their freshers anthem that leaves something to be desired in the taste stakes, but is certain to get you on the dancefloor nonetheless. 'Glad You Came' was mine - it became a little bit of a joke how fast I could make it out of the toilets/from the bar to the Camel Club dancefloor when that naff Balearic beat kicked in, and to this day I refuse to acknowledge it's vaguely dubious lyrics.

5)Los Campesinos! - Hello Sadness

You know when you like a band, have their first album but somehow manage to neglect the rest of their back catalogue? Such was my relationship with Los Campesinos! Fully embedded in the local music scene and on the train to Constellations festival with a guy on my course, he was totally baffled at how I'd missed out on their last three records. He placed his headphones over my ears, pressed play and introduced me to 'Hello Sadness.' It was love at first listen, and prompted a year of listening to basically nothing but Los Campesinos!, before interviewing their lead singer and cementing them as one of my favourite bands of all time. And that guy who gave me his headphones? I ended up falling in love with him too, so a pretty sweet deal all in all.

4)Grizzly Bear - On A Neck, On A Spit

As a Music Journalism student, the pressure was on to be on top of the new thing and the hipster mania that greeted Grizzly Bear's return really stands out to me as being one of the most important of my degree. I knew fairly little besides 'Two Weeks' previously, so it was a fairly big punt to by a £25 quid ticket to see them in Manchester but I'm so glad I did it. It also holds a little space in my heart as their Manchester concert was the first official 'date' night that my boyfriend and I went on despite having been an item for several weeks and friends for a year before even that, and so hearing 'On A Neck, On A Spit' was rather special to us in our new found loved-up ness. Vom.

3)Dog Is Dead - Glockenspiel Song

Whilst their debut album didn't really meet my expectations, Dog Is Dead were a huge part of my first year of uni - they supported Bombay Bicycle Club at the first gig I went to in Sheffield with my new coursemates, and their headline show at Leeds Cockpit was a strong bonding sesh with the boys who ended up being my housemates in second and third year - I believe at one point my coursemate Will pretty much ended up on stage with his new bezzies. 'We are a mess/we are failures/ and we love it' the perfect soundtrack for drunken runs for the last train, overly emotional conversations with people you didn't really know well enough to do so and general feeling on top of the world at the dizzying newfound freedom of University.

2)Bombay Bicycle Club - Shuffle

The temptation was to plump for 'Evening/Morning', as my most requested track on Indie Disco nights at Tokyo, but for one reason alone, 'Shuffle' is my second most important uni track. When I moved to University, I was terrified of making friends, convinced that everyone around me would be Skins-like hipsters who I had nothing in common with. This fear almost consumed me in the weeks prior, so that by the time I visited Aspley Hall for the first time, I was genuinely rehearsing conversation starters in my brain for fear of coming off like a proper Hermione. As a huge Bombay Bicycle Club fan, their album 'A Different Kind Of Fix' had been on heavy rotation on my iPod despite only being released a few weeks prior, and when I stepped into halls on that first day and heard 'Shuffle' playing, I thought I must have put my iPod on loudspeaker. However, I quickly realised that the record was playing in the room next to mine, and so I met Charlotte, the biggest Bombay addict I've ever met aside from myself and my partner in crime for the entirety of my degree and beyond. We've just started living together again and even now, the opening strains of this song remind me of the plethora of crazy nights out we shared together in that first year. Totes emosh. 

1) Jay Z & Kanye West - Ni***s in Paris

Two of the best memories of my entire life are attributed to this song, which makes it secure the number one spot. The first was my 19th birthday, which spectacularly fell on the day of our last exam of first year. Everybody was in the mood for celebrating, which meant almost the entire course turned out to Verve, where my coursemates were DJiing and played this track pretty much at the height of it's hugeness. Having all my new friends there really cemented how happy I was at the time, and brings back that classic 'Uni really was amazing memory' of being entirely carefree and liberated, a feeling I doubt I'll ever feel in the same way again. The second was an experience I'm so grateful to have shared with my best uni friend Charlotte. When, in my hungover birthday state, she told me that extra Watch The Throne tickets had been released for just £25, I thought she was having me on, but nonetheless we snapped some up and on June 21st, 2012 at Sheffield Arena, I witnessed the best concert of my entire life, incredibly powerful and summative of why I'd wanted to study Music Journalism in the first place. We 'that shit cray'ed for days after and it was such a lovely way to bookend my first year as a fresher. 

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  1. I love this post! And I'm also incredibly jealous that your university offered Music Journalism as a degree. That sounds like such a wonderful thing to study.