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On Repeat: Some hype pop rock music to soundtrack your new route to class

Settle into your new semester routine with some energizing tunes and killer electric guitar riffs

<p>The new semester also brings the opportunity to explore some new — and old — music that can give you the attitude you need to tackle the new year.</p>

The new semester also brings the opportunity to explore some new — and old — music that can give you the attitude you need to tackle the new year.

As students get into the groove of their new classes, the early-semester scaries may start to sink in along with the cold. However, the new semester also brings the opportunity to explore some new — and old — music that can give you the attitude you need to tackle the new year. Here are some upbeat pop rock suggestions to get your semester started on an energized note and remind you of the warmer days ahead. 

“And She Was” by Talking Heads

Released in 1985, this upbeat alternative rock song brings a buoyant energy to a morning walk to your new classes. Talking Heads were known for their experimental alternative sound during the 1970s and 1980s, which is exemplified well in this song. The melody modulates keys multiple times throughout the song, giving it a natural buildup in energy.

David Byrne’s lead vocals tell the odd story of a girl who has the power to levitate above the world and take on a different view of the scenery around her. Though Byrne originally wrote the song about a woman on LSD, the song is more about an exciting emotional and spiritual experience than a high. In a funky tune, Byrne sings about how “The world was moving, / she was right there with it and she was.” At the end of every line of the chorus, the lyrics repeat this open-ended “and she was” as a way of exemplifying the mere ethereal existence of this woman, leaving the audience to interpret the meaning of her reality for themselves. 

The classic bass riff that repeats throughout the song gives listeners a wave of happy 1980s nostalgia. The driving drums also provide a great beat to walk to classes, the Corner or the newly opened Alderman Library.

“Ant Pile” by Dominic Fike 

Released as a single ahead of Fike’s 2023 album “Sunburn,” this short, upbeat song perfectly encapsulates the indie pop rock sound. Fike — who performed for the University during a virtual Springfest Concert in 2021 — enables the continued success of his catchy music through hits like this one. 

“Ant Pile” tells the heartwarming story of a childhood romance. The singer timelines his friendship with a girl, which turns romantic around middle school. In the chorus Fike sings to the girl: “We started to feel different / in the middle of, in the middle of, / and that is when you kissed me,” which is then followed by a date in the ninth grade.

The strong guitar riff at the beginning sets the mood well for the happy tone of the rest of the song. Fike’s chant-like singing throughout emphasizes the energy, making it the perfect song to vibe to while out and about on Grounds.

“Just What I Needed” by The Cars 

This classic rock song may have been released in 1978, but it still hits just as hard today. The beat — along with the combination of strong drums and electric guitar — gives off that I’m-the-main-character-in-a-John-Hughes-film energy in just the right way. 

“Just What I Needed” was the Cars’ first big hit. Bassist Benjamin Orr takes lead vocals on this track, singing about the exciting prospects of a new woman in his life. He sings to the woman with words of passion like “I don’t mind you coming here / and wasting all my time / cause when you’re standing oh so near / I kinda lose my mind.”

The music has a timeless new wave synth sound that carries through the instrumental breaks between lyrics. The Cars represent an entrance into the 1980s sound that would dominate the music industry for the decade. If you are looking for a way to rediscover this era of music, look no farther than this upbeat tune.

“$20” by boygenius

“$20” is one of the most upbeat and energy-driven rock songs on “The Record” — the newest release from boygenius where each of the three artists get their own singing feature. The track is led by Julien Baker — who wrote the song — with features from the other two members. The song tells about a road trip in Nevada where the singer and companions “run out of gas, out of time, out of money.” 

Supergroup boygenius is quickly taking the music industry by storm with the release of their new album, which is nominated for Album of the Year at the 66th Annual Grammy Awards. Members Lucy Dacus, Phoebe Bridgers and Baker worked collaboratively to create this blend of alternative rock and acoustic music, where the power of their three-part harmonies and musical prowess shine through with every track. 

“$20” builds after the second chorus. Each of the three members sing different overlapping melodies begging their road trip companions for $20, as drums and background instruments escalate. The song continues to grow, eventually ending with Bridgers screaming out, “I know you have $20” 

Though the track portrays deep tinges of anger, the backing instruments give it a drive that can make it a great song for walking to class if you’re looking to lean into a punkier rock sound. 


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