I went to my first Penn party the January of my senior of high school. Fresh off the high of my early admittance, I visited a friend from home who was a freshman living in the Quad, and took in all of Penn’s earthly delights. And that’s when I heard it — the one song that would play at every single party I would attend from there on out. Yes, on that most fateful of nights, I heard “Don’t Stop Believin’” by Journey: the song I hate to love.
Long before I became a coed (and definitely before Glee made it even more ubiquitous), “Don’t Stop Believin’” was a total cliché. It came out when my parents were my age, and it just refused to go away. For millions of Americans, the song elicits memories of cheap beer and dark basements and being 20. No matter how lame it is to admit, “Don’t Stop Believin’” is undeniably evocative.
Who decided that this song should be played at every single get-together in the history of college? What is it about a small town girl living in a lonely world that everyone finds so damn irresistible (and universal)? For whatever reason, no matter what the venue, when those first few keyboard notes echo out from the speakers, everyone gives in to the cult of Journey, plays a little air guitar and belts out the lyrics in unison.
There were a ton of great pop songs that came out around the same time as “Don’t Stop Believin’.” “Take Me Home Tonight” by Eddie Money, “Your Love” by the Outfield, “Cum On Feel the Noize” by Quiet Riot — while these songs are indeed tried and true college party classics, they simply can’t compete with “Don’t Stop Believin’” as far as epicness is concerned. I guess we all just want to hold on to that feeling.
Other things that are painfully collegiate? Stressing about the LSATs (see Highbrow, pg. 3), decorating your dorm room (pg. 4) and frozen pizza (pg. 7). Oh, and that whole musical cliché thing (pg. 16).
It’s not the destination, Julia