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PUMP IT UP! The ultimate 2017 back-to-school mixtape for Concordians

Start your term off right with these 10 great tunes, picked by music prof Georges Dimitrov
August 17, 2017
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By Georges Dimitrov

Arcade Fire

For some, back to school is an annual ritual of buying books, moving into new digs and connecting with friends about your summer adventures.

For others, it signals the start of Pop Montreal.

Whatever camp you find yourself in, here’s a playlist of 10 noteworthy songs guaranteed to put you back in the university frame of mind.  

1. Arcade Fire – “Ready to Start”

Arcade Fire’s Régine Chassagne (BA 98, LLD 16) graduated from Concordia’s Faculty of Fine Arts, and she met bandmate Win Butler at Concordia. It’s something they obviously remember in this piece of poetry: “If the businessmen drink my blood / Like the kids in art school said they would / Then I guess I'll just begin again.”

So, are you ready to start? And if all else fails, stay true to your dreams and just begin again?


2. Frankie Cosmos – “Art School”

“Art school makes you wild,” sings Greta Kline in lo-fi undertones. We sure hope so. Get creative!


3. The White Stripes – “We’re Going To Be Friends”

“Fall is here, hear the yell / back to school, ring the bell,” sings Jack White in this cute acoustic ballad about one of the great joys of studying: friendships.


4. The Kinks – “Education”

In 1975, the Kinks dedicated a whole rock opera opus, Schoolboys in Disgrace, to the universal subject of education. While many of their songs are overtly critical of the then very rigid British school system, this seven-minute epic is an exalted prog rock ode to the evolution of education throughout the ages.


5. Pearl Jam – “Education”

The fathers of grunge tell us that it is normal to question our education and our choices, but we need to remember that it is but a seed that makes you grow.


6. The Jam – “Art School”

A punk classic that celebrates the liberty of thought: “Anything that you want to do, anyplace that you want to go / Don't need permission for everything that you want / Any taste that you feel is right / Wear any clothes just as long as they're bright.”


7. Vampire Weekend – “Campus”

This is an upbeat indie rock take on the fortunate and sometimes unfortunate relationships bound to happen on campus. How will this love story end? The poetry leaves it open to interpretation.


8. Rufus Wainwright – “The Art Teacher”

Another love song — this is a beautiful piano ballad such as only Montrealer Rufus Wainwright makes them. He sings the nostalgic remembrance of an impossible crush.


9. The Magnetic Fields – “’86, How I Failed Ethics”

Stephin Merritt, the king of indie pop, returned in 2017 with an ambitious concept-album, 50 Song Memoir, featuring one autobiographical song for every year of his life. This beautiful and melodic piece is dedicated to his unconventional 1986 undergraduate year.


10. Automelodi – “Rentrée 3007”

Studying in Montreal means diving into a richly bilingual culture! For a French touch, here’s a poetic futuristic song by one of the city’s underground synth-pop scene’s leading acts.

Find out more about Concordia’s Department of Music.



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