Music For November

Matthew McMorrough ’25

It’s a beautiful November day. Snow is lightly falling about. The fall and winter are melting between one another. There is indescribable gloom about everything, and the sun’s comfort cannot quell your anxiety. Good morning. In light of these circumstances, it’s a good idea to listen to some music, whether while staring wistfully out the window, folding laundry, doing homework or playing the card game Go Fish with friends. Other activities are also allowed. 

If you’re in a crunch, anxious out of your mind and incomprehensibly behind in your classes, first, take a minute and collect yourself. Calm down, cool down. Now, get ready to clean your room or do the homework at hand. Cleaning one’s room does always help with clarity of mind, though can just as easily distract from whatever task is more immediate. So, okay, cool, you can choose whichever. Let’s suppose you’re doing your homework, though. 500 pages of reading intended to be done in one sitting. A little ambitious, but nothing you haven’t done before. 

Put on the 1978 album “The Pavilion of Dreams,” the ambient opus of legendary minimalist composer Harold Budd. Clocking in around 48 minutes, the album plays like a dream. Saxophone, harp, marimba, glockenspiel and some operatic vocals are among the instruments utilized over these lyricless, largely relaxing four tracks. As pages of reading are chipped away at, this provides music not to distract but comfort the listener. Everything is okay in the pavilion of dreams. 

Congratulations on the 500 pages of reading! An impressive feat, certainly. It only took you three and a half “Pavilion of Dreams” listen throughs. Now it’s time to hit the gym. After reading about the maintenance of submarine machinery (one of your least favorite topics) and listening to sleepy music, you’re very sleepy. My advice? Down a delicious energy drink and put on Chicago rapper Chief Keef’s 2012 debut album, “Finally Rich.” This album is both a masterclass in and the very birth of drill rap, a definitively Chicago genre featuring an aggressive yet monotonous lyrical flow and heavy drum-based beats. Well-known hits such as “Love Sosa” and “I Don’t Like” appear on the album. 

It’s now the evening. You’re very sleepy, as seems to be your default state of being. This is understandable, as it is as dark at 6 in the morning as it is at 4 p.m. You’re hungry, sleepy and feel overwhelmed by the hustle and bustle of Lowry dining hall, so you grab some orange chicken and three green apples and head back to your residence hall. You found good study music and good workout music, but you’re at a loss for good dinner music. Music to eat dinner to. Lucky for you, there’s no rules about dinner music; you can listen to whatever music you want at dinner. My recommendation, though, is to listen to the album “Twin Fantasy” (2018) by Car Seat Headrest. Now, as a student on a liberal arts campus, I’d say there’s a good chance you’ve heard of this one. It’s a 71 minute angsty indie rock epic, and its first descriptor on the music review website Rate Your Music is “LGBT.” It’s an all encompassing story of an album, largely about one relationship of lead singer Will Toledo, but including many themes of youth, alienation and sobriety within and in between thrashing guitars. An album that draws you in and holds your attention, perfect with orange chicken and three apples.

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