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Lyrical trip down memory lane

Finals are upon us, and, as I sit surrounded by my studious collegiate counterparts, I feel the unbearable silence of quiet hours weighing heavily.

Having finished a mega-manuscript last week, finals are nearly nonexistent for me. Of course, that means there's not much to do besides sit in my dorm, eating Christmas cookies and reading non-professor-prescribed literature.

After a few hours of nothing but the heater whirring out lukewarm air, the novelty of silence wears off, and I'm left with a very dull dorm life.

Shouldn't we be blaring Mozart from every corner of campus, encouraging Pulitzer-deserving papers and Nobel-worthy final projects?

Just before a stray spider secures living quarters in my unused ear canal, I am struck by a plan to instigate some much-needed noise.

It's time for the Media Player Shuffle.

I plug in my headphones, open Windows, hit "play," and shiver with anticipation of where my music collection might lead.

Song Number One: "Bruised" by Jack's Mannequin. One of my roommate's coolest attributes is that she is one of the elite who know of this CD and comprehend its poetic brilliance. That's going in my ad for a Hamline roomie: "Wanted: Jack's Mannequin fan to share enthusiasm with. Also, must have excellent hygiene habits."

The next song up is "Go" from blink-182's pre-break-up-and-get-back-together days. Sounds like a middle school relationship, right? Ahh, nostalgia.

Ooh, Hootie & the Blowfish! I snagged all of my Dad's Hootie CDs as soon as I learned the glory of nonviolent ripping and burning functions. Thanks, Dad.

Song four is, appropriately, by Regina Spektor. When I rule the world, everyone will be required to take Philosophy of Regina Spektor 101, because she dispenses vital brilliance no one should be without. This song is called "The Calculation;" I'll have to ask her to teach a math class, too.

Weezer: "My Name is Jonas." My boyfriend is obsessed with this song, as evidenced by him stealing (and misplacing) my CD, allowing the case to be warped by the sun while sitting on the dashboard of his car. Somehow, his excitement whenever this song comes on (and how cool the melted case looks) make it OK.

Regina again. It's "Better," about healing all that's sore in those she loves. I'm adding a Spektor-inspired first-aid requirement.

The Beatles! "A Hard Day's Night." This song reminds me of summers in New York with my cousins, when the two eldest reworked song lyrics to fit our perspectives and taught the rest of us to perform them for our parents. We were known as The Blue Heron Players across Lake Moraine. I'm sure the Beatles were flattered that the likes of us infringed upon their copyrights.

The next song is one I've never heard before. Huh. Apparently there's still plenty to explore within my own musical collection.

Number eight is by Green Day, but the title requires searching because it's on a mixed tape I made for a friend after a rough breakup. It's appropriately angsty, though it doesn't matter anymore: the friend is back with the boy, and the mix is just an emotionally-laden musical memory.

Ah, Tracy Chapman, "Talkin' Bout a Revolution." Her low tones passionately recount a radical uprising. 'Nuff said.

A happy song! "Peace and Love" by Fountains of Wayne. You know, the guys behind the "Stacy's Mom" craze that had everybody freaking out in '03? It goes to show there's more to them than met the eye.

Alas, a sad one follows. "Whispering," from the musical Spring Awakening is stunning, but it'll have me bawling momentarily. Next.

Much better: "It's a Long, Long Way" by UB40. Feel-good reggae music, also stolen from my father, that feeds my inner desire to be a Jamaican when I grow up. Ya, mon, rasta all the way.

This lyrical trip down memory lane sprung me from my silence-induced coma. Saved by another successful round of the Media Player Shuffle, somehow I'll survive until finals end and campus converts to a noisy mass of Christmas-crazed college kids.

Thressa Johnson graduated from Detroit Lakes High School and attends Concordia College in Moorhead.