Feeling the Top 40 blues: The sounds and songs of Mardi Gras

St. Louis has the second largest Mardi Gras celebration in the nation every year, which means it also has the second largest music scene in the nation once a year, right? Don’t answer that. Regardless, our Cadenza staff compiled their favorite sounds of the day for your post-Mardi blues.

A clown and other creatures descend down the parade route on Saturday. Festival-goers partied in the Soulard neighborhood, south of downtown St. Louis, as part of the festivities.Holly Ravazzolo | Student Life

A clown and other creatures descend down the parade route on Saturday. Festival-goers partied in the Soulard neighborhood, south of downtown St. Louis, as part of the festivities.

My Mardi Gras was filled with darties and darty music. There were the classic top 40 songs of Migos, The Chainsmokers and others, as well as a few throwback songs. Some old Kanye West made its appearance, along with other music of the early 2010s. Later, after my friends and I made our way back to the South 40, we celebrated a birthday with a rendition of the classic birthday song. The day continued as we sat in my common room and listened to more music, in particular Ugly God, and reminisced about the incredibly full morning we had just gone through while listening to what has been described by the artist himself as “trash.” It seemed fitting. –Josh Zucker

The music began in the crisp morning hours, when I opened my eyes to the sounds of Kanye West and Jay Z reverberating from the commons, welcoming me back to the reality of Washington University Mardi Gras celebrations. Pregames were commencing. But what was I pregaming you ask? Well, my Mardi Gras became quite lit as I traveled to and from everyone’s favorite Brentwood, Mo. Target and Trader Joe’s. The lack of drunkenness did not hold back my desire to put the music up to full blast, though. New songs—including Zedd and Alessia Cara’s “Stay” and Kygo’s “It Ain’t Me,” featuring Selena Gomez—could likely be heard by people along Big Bend Boulevard. Though perhaps it does not sound fun, my Mardi was quite the party. My fat Tuesday became an opportunity to fatten up on some new music and needed relaxation, and I would have had it no other way. –Greer Russell

My musical expectations of the second largest Mardi Gras in the nation were quite high. I was ready to hear the sounds that made me fall in love with New Orleans the first time I visited: jazz, blues, dirty hip-hop and the aggressive beats of bounce music. I imagined live bands on the streets, performing modern takes on jazz as well as the local, iconic music that St. Louis has bred. While there were glimpses of this in the messy streets of Soulard, the sounds were dominated by popular radio music. I generally enjoy pop radio myself (it’s hard not to join to a street sing-along of Nelly’s “Hot In Herre”) but in an event with such cultural significance to American history, I was hoping to lose myself in a more traditional sonic experience. On my walk back to the metro station, though, away from the nonstop celebration, there it was: A tiny corner bar oozing with lively, absorbing jazz music. We need more of that. –Alberto De La Rosa

I heard the pleasant and calming sound of silence as I walked around the empty campus. I paid close attention to the wind that rustled the purple and gold beads on the bunny Thinker. I think I heard a leaf hit the ground, fooled by the false spring. I was in a show at night, so I could not participate in festive activities. I also heard the thoughts bouncing around my head, including, “At least there’s a fun party song at one point in the show!”–Eric Judson

I had the classic Mardi Gras experience of Soulard. From the screams of a car that drove through the crowd to the silence of a lip-synching drag queen over blaring P!nk, from the squeals of my friends as we stepped on the omnipresent litter to the squeaks of high heels on asphalt during the men in heels race, and from the laughter dusting the streets to the shrieks of people chucking broken beaded necklaces at an open window, Mardi Gras shrouded me in the sounds of the rage. –Kayla Steinberg

My Mardi Gras experience was a boring one, while I hid inside my dorm in preparation for midterm season. But alas, as an inhabitant of Village House, I heard the party, even if I couldn’t see it. In the open areas of the Village were loud yelps from very sober students running to the festivities and the indistinguishable but ever-present bass of booming top 40s hits through speakers. I have to say, I expected more jazz and celebration rather than feathers and partying, but to each their own. –Lindsay Tracy