The three or more years you spend at university are absolutely the most incredible years of your life, and they all start with fresher’s week: one (or two) weeks of getting to know a new place, meeting new friends, and trying new things. Soundtracking all of this will be some mix of Radio 1 and Capital FM bangers, livening up your big nights out and quiet nights in. Although we do love a good radio-friendly hit when we’re getting ready to go out, university is at its core about learning to love completely new stuff. That’s why we’ve compiled our favourite alternative hits to soundtrack your downtime between nights out in fresher’s week; hopefully you can give them a listen and learn to love a new artist you’d never heard of before.
The Japanese House – ‘Saw You In A Dream’
‘Saw You in a Dream’, the title track of The Japanese House’s 2017 EP, draws the listener in effortlessly due to its harmonious mix of guitar and keyboard, interwoven with synths. Amber Bain’s vocals take us on a journey where a dream brings back someone she’s lost. Dream and reality collide and the singer remains stuck between the two, but the song goes on seamlessly – and so do our thoughts.
Along with the rest of the EP, ‘Saw You in a Dream’ is the perfect soundtrack for that late night mood which only requires a dreamy tune for the thoughts to start flowing and scenarios to start unfolding – will you meet those people everyone keeps telling you about tomorrow? The friends for life, or even that special someone who will make your university years the best years of your life? Even if we don’t necessarily talk about this mood, it’s there whenever alcohol or confusion aren’t, and it’s worth diving into with a little help from a good song, whenever alcohol and confusion don’t help you first.
– words by Thea Hartman
BROCKHAMPTON – ‘BOOGIE’
Raucous; in-your-face; uncontained; exhilarating. Just a few of the words that can be used to describe both (some people’s) fresher’s week and the utterly insane opener to rap collective Brockhampton‘s utterly insane third record, SATURATION III. The track opens hard with its blaring sirens and pulsating bassline assaulting your senses from the off, and the intensity doesn’t let off until the very end of the song three minutes later. If that doesn’t just as easily describe the kind of fresher’s week where you’re going out every single night and planning the next big one during the day, I’m not sure what does. But it’s also a great hook, pulling you into an album that has so many different layers, from the almost harmonic ‘BLEACH’ to the deep, dark ‘SISTER/NATION’. In much the same way, fresher’s week is an all-out barrage of things to do and people to meet, drawing you in to the wonderful three years you’ll spend at university trying new things, meeting new people, and ultimately having some of the best times of your life.
– words by Sam Law
The The – ‘This Is The Day’
This may be one of the less familiar ’80s tracks, but it’ll still have you dancing round your student room while you’re getting ready for a night out. It’s also a little more bittersweet than some of your other options, but you can thank the subject of the song for the catchy tune of self-delusion. It’s basically about someone who spent their whole life waiting for something, and it never happened. Because of all this waiting around, all they have are the memories of the past to keep them going. No day is the day that they’re talking about, even though when you’re belting out the chorus it’ll certainly feel like it. The song is calling you out, not to kid yourself or have any regrets, and starting uni is definitely one of those times you might need a kick up the backside. With all these new opportunities on the horizon, you’ve just got to throw yourself into it to make the song’s title come true.
– words by Tash Williamson
Superorganism – ‘Everybody Wants To Be Famous’
Maybe not everybody wants to be famous, but certainly everybody’s excited to start somewhere new, and the chaotic ensemble of Superorganism (featuring nine band members from places as far-flung as New Zealand, South Korea, and Burnley) capture this bubble of trepidation and adventure perfectly in their most well-known track. It’s a bit of a weird one, with random samples and synthetic instrumentation all coming together in a complete kaleidoscope of noise, but that tidal wave of sound perfectly reflects the jumble of sights, sounds and people you’ll meet in your first few weeks at university. In the same way, despite its complete mishmash of instrumentation, ‘Everybody Wants To Be Famous’ somehow pulls it off, becoming one of the more ‘out-there’ tracks you could still potentially get away with on the pre-drinks playlist and something you could really enjoy listening to generally; and fresher’s week, despite seeming scary and exciting and overwhelming all at once at first glance, will undoubtedly turn out to be one of the best weeks of your life.
– words by Sam Law
Los Campesinos! – We Are Beautiful, We Are Doomed
It took me far too long to decide what artist I was going to write about for this section, until I remembered my undying love for the ever-amazing Los Campesinos!, a band that has guided me through much of my adult life with a wink and a smile. After deciding the artist, a possibly even tougher question loomed over me – which Los Campesinos album to recommend? Should I opt for the gloriously twee Hold on Now Youngster, the scrappy noise-infused epic Romance is Boring or the electronic, shimmering No Blues? What about the glowering and moody Hello Sadness, or even their latest effort, Sick Scenes? Los Campesinos are a band that have one of the most consistently excellent discographies out there – each album a subtle tweak to their sound that makes them a glorious nostalgia trip and an addition to every single playlist I have compiled since the beginning of time. If I had to narrow it down, however, my vote would have to go to the short-but-sweet and unrelentingly excellent We Are Beautiful, We Are Doomed – an album that fuses twee pop, noise rock and indie punk into a beautiful mess, held together by Gareth Campesinos’ poetic, honest and youthful lyrics. Those lyrics have a way of sticking in the brain – memorable stings of reality that have a way of staying with you forever, underpinning those sour moments for days you want to forget – to “shout at the world because the world doesn’t love you / lower yourself because you know that you’ll have to”.
– words by Tom Brewster
Billy Joel – ‘Moving Out (Anthony’s Song)’
Now, we all know that, degree or not, we will probably work a blue collar job or two at some point during our lives, but the spirit behind this song is perfect for people moving into student accommodation for the first time come September. Although we’re talking about a different era in a different city where people would pride themselves on outward symbols of wealth like a Cadillac while busting a gut to pay for it, I think everyone can identify with the narrator’s decision. Not wanting to follow the working class spiral, his assertive and satisfying declaration “then I’m movin’ out” can only be topped by a Panic! at the Disco cover which leaves you waiting for a good eight seconds before collapsing pleasurably into the song’s titular words. Funnily enough though, us and the narrator alike are leaving behind silly things that Anthony possesses, like job security and a stable income, to boldly venture into the unknown, dreaming of a brighter future.
– words by Tash Williamson