Audiophiles: the ‘back to school spirit’ as told by song

| Senior Cadenza Editor

Now that we’re finally back on campus for the first time in a year and a half, the back to school season feels even more nostalgic than it usually does. All this sentimentality reminds me of three things: early 2010s music (school was so much more fun when I was 10), new beginnings and a return to old loves. So, being the music lover that I am, I now present to you five songs that feel like back to school to me. Some are old, some are new, some are popular and some are not. But they’re all bops.

Best Song Ever

One Direction

You cannot look me in the eye and tell me this song doesn’t slap. The iconic boy band’s song is joyously infectious, and it always gets me excited for what’s to come, even if there are no epic parties in my near future. Regardless of how bad the incoming mid-semester slump may be, you can always listen to this song with the hopes that this school year will be the best one ever.

Rainbow Dragon

Keiynan Lonsdale

Along with a new year comes new opportunities to reflect on what you value most and to continue being your most authentic self even as you grow and change. “Rainbow Dragon” finds Keiynan Lonsdale embracing the truest version of himself, regardless of what others think. As he sings “ain’t got no time, no time to lie/ we got to shine ‘cause we’re losing light/ and I’m the Sun who opens minds that open right to live this life,” it’s a reminder that life is too short to spend it hiding or in fear. Instead, we should live joyfully and genuinely, because it’s what we all deserve. I’m biased because Lonsdale is one of my favorite artists, but his groovy song is a wonderful celebration of inner strength that we could all use.

Last Friday Night (T.G.I.F)

Katy Perry

We all know how easy it is for WashU students to make time for school and extracurriculars and nothing else, which is exactly why I included this song. College may feel all-consuming, but it’s important to let loose and have fun—as some say “go crazy, go stupid.” In addition to being one of the best songs of 2010, “Last Friday Night” is an ode to unabashedly indulging in pleasure, even if it’s not always the responsible thing to do. As I try to make time for more joy in my life outside of school, the song makes me think of this: College is temporary, fun is forever.

Waste of Emotion


Although the prospect of starting school again is exciting, the high stress and persistent anxiety that comes with classes is objectively not. “Waste of Emotion” honors how easy it is to start overthinking and give into your negative emotions while also acknowledging that some things aren’t worth stressing about. In a few weeks, when school ramps up, it’ll be important to remember that there’s no point getting worked up over things you can’t control, and it’s important to engage in activities that help keep you calm and healthy. As Elio says in the song’s chorus, “my God what a waste of emotion … if it’s gonna be fine.”


Frank Ocean

Frank Ocean’s discography has always been very somber, relatable and incredibly popular. This pick is a bit indulgent on my part, but “Chanel” is just a wonderful song, and its mellow quality makes it perfect for relaxed listening. Ocean’s chorus, which is simply “I see both sides like Chanel,” is definitely an earworm, but it’s also a good way to remember the importance of not getting caught up in one perspective or behavior pattern. “Chanel” is an excellent choice if you need some chill studying vibes or if you just want to reminisce about Frank Ocean’s songs while waiting for him to release more music.

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