Wash. U. parties are in need of a song switch

Joshua Shapiro | Contributing Writer

Every Washington University student remembers their first college party. The embarrassment is abundant; anxious freshmen ignominiously struggle to find and pop the tabs to their very first beer cans. After reluctantly forcing down a single Bud Light, they throw themselves into the miserable mob of fellow clammy, perspiring freshmen crowding the fraternity basement dance floor. By the end of the night, the injury report is filled with freshmen reporting mostly sore and bruised feet.

All of this, though, is forgiven and forgotten in lieu of the killer playlist that deafeningly blares over the speakers. It’s perfect–or so you think. “Mr. Brightside” flips on, and its lyrics work the room into a frenzy. Then “Africa” by Toto. Or Weezer? No, by Toto.

On and on the list goes, each and every song inspiring more emotion and dancing. Up and down they jump. By the end of the night, most have burned a thousand calories–enough to justify a full half and half!

Yet, after that night, nothing is the same; each party thereafter is slightly worse than the previous. So much so that you start to wonder what’s changing for the worse. By now, you’ve worked up enough knowledge to not embarrass yourself at the makeshift bar. You remembered not to wear flip-flops on the dance floor! The reason for your ever increasing disappointment and dismay can seem almost abstract. And that’s because it hasn’t changed one bit since the first party! That source of frustration? It’s the music.

As a partier, you’ve evolved with experience. But the party playlist has stayed the same. It’s been this way for what seems like decades and doesn’t seem to be changing anytime soon.

The type of astonishment—where did that come from?–that you get from a song like “Mr. Brightside” the first time you hear it diminishes with each and every subsequent listen; the notes and lines become irritatingly predictable.

Oftentimes, we become so steeped in tradition that we forget the importance of change. But maybe it’s time to take a few risks and dramatically alter the playlist that we’ve grown to be comfortably bored and accustomed with. We can start by eliminating all the classics. Yup, you heard me right–all of them. Goodbye, “Mr. Brightside.” So long, “Africa!”

To be frank, I really don’t know so much about which choices are made. In fact, I don’t think there should be a single, new playlist, because such a grouping would fall into the same trap of uniformity as before. The playlist needs to be morphing and changing constantly. Simply put, we as humans quickly bore of the same simple melodies and lyrics. Our personal playlists change all the time. I for one, am constantly shuffling and re-shuffling the songs I listen to on a daily basis. If we’re doing it on an individual basis, then there’s certainly room for development on the party-level. There you go: I just singly revitalized the Wash. U. party scene! You’re welcome. Now please–no more Mr. Brightside!

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