By: Charles John Babcock, Managing Editor
Even Ulysses has to return home eventually. After all the Gods have been conquered, cyclops blinded, and women escaped from, there is only one question left. What song do you drive home to?
We’ve all had that moment in the morning when we’re driving home from the debauchery and genuine hedonistic joys that become the “best moments of our lives we can’t tell our kids.” Graduation is going to be exactly like that, minus the long gazes at sexual partners or friends while debating who is more hungover. Except for me, it’ll be a three hour drive, without anyone to debate with about who is more hungover.
Song choice is important on a cosmic level. In film, the soundtrack gives the emotion to a piece of visuals, which unaccompanied has no tone. This brings me to my point this week: screw “Freebird.” It is a song that is so overplayed is devoid of emotion; consider Led Zeppelin songs seen in commercials. The meaning is lost.
Surely this sentimental, bittersweet moment has meaning. It has weight. People try to recapture moments this cathartic for years, without ever gleaming the true vision of the thing. Bloomsburg is a place with puddles that seem to never dry, eternal battles of dress length on the weekends, and the infinite jests from and about ghetto Philadelphia folks and trashy Jersey people. “Freebird,” the long southern jam, retrospectively can be applied to any moment of freedom.
What about other classic rock epics, those which rival “The Odyssey” and “The Illiad” in importance? Songs that mix tone would be good, but can often be overbearing and pregnant with other dilemmas; for instance, “Don’t Fear The Reaper:” too morbid for such a happy occasion, “Stairway to Heaven:” too “Lord of The Rings” to function.
“Bohemian Rhapsody” is a special song for me, particularly because my roommate William, friend Adam, and myself drunkenly belted it with a group of about a hundred people at Hardware Bar on the bar’s opening weekend. That might do the trick. But is Bloomsburg University the kind of bohemian paradise evident in the title? Sure, they’re have probably been murders, but what really is that weird mama stuff? Is it some kind of Freudian diatribe trying to create the last moments of childhood innocence? Or is just some catchy thing that after infinite parties of gaudy extravagance, Freddie Mercury and gang thought of singing?
Undoubtedly, a few of you, my fellow Americans, will be decrying through exhaled smoke, “Dude, you just don’t get it [toke] do you?” Well man, I actually do get it. But consider these songs and they’re roots. Before any Bush presidency and in a pre-9/11 world, that “feel good stuff” really can easily, to borrow a phrase from a dream companion, help you “turn on, tune in, drop out.”
We all have stories about friends who went out for a beerfest freshmen year, only to end up hearing about them going to parties where cocaine was sniffed off of keys like a price of admission.
In the coming weeks, I’ll look at these things, sorting through my record collection’ nothing is off the limits, and every story is fair game. The classics might not be classics, and the last days of Bloomsburg might not call for “The Social Network Soundtrack” or even “Hit The Lights” by Selena Gomez but after all the best friends made and lost and the ridiculous need for one last glimpse at the best days of life, it requires a soundtrack.