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jacobainsworth
21st March 2023

Put a Spring in your step: seasonal campus songs

The Mancunion selects a handful of songs for your springtime strolls about campus
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Put a Spring in your step: seasonal campus songs
Photo: George Hodan @ Public Domain Pictures

Now we’re almost a week into March, it’s safe to say that Spring has sprung. Or at least is springing. The Mancunion has picked out five tracks to help you put a spring in your step and enjoy the increasingly light days spent around campus. With a mix of genres and artists, there’s something here for everyone.

 

New Order – ‘Age of Consent’ (1983)

Let’s start with a song born out of Manchester itself, shall we? Rising from the ashes of post-punk outfit Joy Division, New Order launched into the 80’s with working-class stubbornness, an ear for genre experimentation and a not so healthy habit for hedonism. ‘Age of Consent’, the opening track of seminal album Power, Corruption & Lies, is the perfect soundscape for walking around the leafy corners of Brunswick Park, or the squirrel-infested shade of Whitworth Park. From the LP cover art of Henri Fantin-Latour‘s A Basket of Roses, to Peter Hook’s propulsive, bitter-sweet bass pickings, the track is fit for all seasons, but works at its best in the midst of blossoming flowers, tentative spring sunlight and busy days scrambling to meet deadlines. Let Stephen Morris, the ‘human drum machine’ himself, power you through the day with his nervous, jittery momentum.

 

B.J. Thomas – ‘Raindrops Keep Fallin’ On My Head’ (1969)

Like many 00’s kids, I grew up with Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man trilogy. In the acclaimed sequel Spider-Man 2, our protagonist Peter Parker (Tobey Maguire), sick of the unmanageable responsibilities of being Spider-Man, hangs up the mask to begin a life on his own terms. Maguire gleefully strolls through his New York university campus to the sound of B.J. Thomas’ iconic single, picking up the pieces of his life to the sounds of Thomas’ silky-smooth crooning and wistful ukulele chords. The troubled character of Peter Parker is finally offered a rare moment of contentment – of selfishness. Granted, it’s perhaps a little specific, not to mention cheesy, but everyone needs a moment to feel like they’re in control of their life… the moment just so happens to come in the form of three minutes and five seconds of acoustic pop.

 

Pulp – ‘Monday Morning’ (1995)

Okay, so a more time-specific choice. Hungover on a Monday morning? Got a 9am seminar that you can hardly bear to face? Don’t worry, glamorous indie mis-shapes Jarvis Cocker and co have you covered. Featuring a shaking, breathless vocal, a guitar riff the audio equivalent of a sleep-deprived eye roll and a fast-paced backbeat dripping with existential panic, Pulp conjure up the perfect companion for your hungover trip up/down Oxford Road, or last-minute Sam Alex corridor-navigating. It won’t cure the hangover, or make the 9am in Crawford House go away, but it can at least provide a little bit of catharsis and make you walk that pace or so quicker. After all, it’s handy to know that Sheffield’s finest raconteur of sex and class also hates Monday mornings – “stomach in, chest out… on your marks, get set, go!”

 

CMAT – ‘I Don’t Really Care For You’ (2022)

I’ve started to feel like a bit of a broken record singing CMAT’s praises, but the work of the divine cannot surely rest. With a sly, swaggering beat, an addictive piano trill and lyrics that can both punch you in the stomach and make you laugh (“I just spent seven hours looking at old pics of me / Tryna pinpoint where the bitch began / Somewhere after the Passion of Christ / And before I had an Instagram”), future pop-star CMAT offers what can only be described as a ‘main character moment’. Sometimes it’s impossible to explain how and why a song oozes with the gusto and guile found in ‘I Don’t Really Care For You’. All I know is that CMAT’s song-writing is a perfect way to combat self-consciousness when walking into a crowded lecture theatre. It also helps that, due to its appearance in BBC’s Conversations With Friends, the song can allow you to pretend that you exist in the Sally Rooney-verse (no judgement – whatever helps you get through the day).

 

Little Simz – ‘No Merci’ (2022)

With a crisp beat, assertive lyricism and a lucid, psychedelic-tinted outro, ‘No Merci’ is a shape-shifting phenomenon of a track, and without a shadow of a doubt one of the high points of Little Simz’ whole career, let alone one of the high points of the December surprise-release NO THANK YOU. Whether you’re looking for a dash of hip-hop for an energy-boost in the afternoon sun, or a hazy, nostalgia-soaked moment of introspection amidst April showers, one of Britain’s most exciting contemporary artists has something for everyone, as well for Spring’s unpredictable variety of weather forecasts… all within one song too. So, take a break from your essay-cramming in the library, switch off your brain and get lost in Simz’ flow – long days on campus will simply melt away.

Jacob Ainsworth

Jacob Ainsworth

20, he/him, UoM, Film Studies & English Literature. deputy music editor, writer, musician, illustrator and full-time Jarvis Cocker enthusiast

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