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The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

Fit to be king
Lilli Dellheim '25 M.A., Special to the Hawk • July 13, 2024

Senior year soundtrack

Senior+year+soundtrack

Why graduation is more Imagine Dragons than MGMT

As my denial of being a second semester senior at St. Joe’s dwindles, I find myself constantly listening to two songs to help me cope with this newfound acceptance: MGMT’s “Time to Pretend” and Imagine Dragons’ “It’s Time.” Both songs clearly have an emphasis on time—how time moves so quickly, how we should look forward to new beginnings, how time can’t really change us or how it will change us entirely.

I find the themes in “Time to Pretend” more realistic, though extremely depressing, to what college seniors actually go through. The members of the bands, Ben Goldwasser and Andrew VanWyngarden, wrote the song during their senior year of college, so the song was meant to resonate with people going through the same time of their life. The feeling of fear and of the unknown is apparent through the lyrics of the song, but not as much the actual music.

MGMT’s electronic rock and psychedelic pop makes me feel like I’m on an acid trip. The song, which celebrates its tenth anniversary this year, summarizes the transition from college life to the “real world” pretty accurately in its first verse: “This is our decision: to live fast and die young/ We’ve got the vision, now let’s have some fun/Yeah, it’s overwhelming, but what else can we do?/Get jobs in offices and wake up for the morning commute?”

While we’re expected to enjoy our time as college students, have fun, be a little crazy, this time of our lives is only temporary. The music represents the distraction that college gives us, while the lyrics reflect our eventual reality and current fears of not getting the job we want, leaving our friends, leaving the place that we’ve spent the last few years of our lives, getting stuck in traffic with a nine to five and entering the real world.

The song continues with flashbacks of common childhood memories that we have all left behind: “I’ll miss the playgrounds and the animals and digging up worms/I’ll miss the comfort of my mother and the weight of the world/I’ll miss my sister, miss my father, miss my dog and my home/ Yeah, I’ll miss the boredom and the freedom and the time spent alone/But there is really nothing, nothing we can do.”

It’s terrifying and nauseating, but this is the bleak truth we must deal with as seniors. The real world doesn’t always allow our parents to bail us out of difficult situations, we don’t get to play on our playground and despite what Peter Pan told us, growing up is inevitable. Yet, the future doesn’t have to be as scary and depressing as MGMT makes it seem.

I find myself listening to “It’s Time” when the dread of the future has subsided after listening to “Time to Pretend,” for an important reason: it offers a much more optimistic viewpoint.

“It’s Time,” released five years after “Time to Pretend,” seems to embrace changes as they come along. The lead singer of the group, Dan Reynolds, wrote this song after he had dropped out of college. Again, while there are some dismal feelings in this song, I still believe it’s a better senior song than “Time to Pretend.” Instead of fearing the future, we should enjoy and make the best of the present, that is, our time remaining at St. Joe’s.

The song begins with a powerful sentiment: “… now it’s time to build from the bottom of the pit/Right to the top/Don’t hold back/Packing my bags and giving the academy a rain check.” Even if you’re at your lowest point in life, Reynolds believes the only way to go from there is up, right to the top. No one else will help you achieve your goals if you’re not willing to take pride in your work. It’s a little harsh, but Reynolds speaks from experience.

The lyrics continue addressing the fears people have when it comes time to go forth into the real world: “I don’t ever wanna let you down/I don’t ever wanna leave this town…/The path to heaven runs through miles of clouded hell…” As reflected in the song, we were all scared to leave our hometowns and we all have people in our lives we don’t want to disappoint.

Obviously we’re going to struggle, we’re going to face challenges and the real world is a frightening place. The good news is that we’re not the only ones who have these feelings.

Everyone is scared, but if we’re willing to accept the challenges, we become stronger, tougher individuals. As Bob Kelso, the fictional doctor from the TV show “Scrubs,” once said, “Nothing in this world that’s worth having comes easy.”

With all of this taken into consideration, “It’s Time” is a better senior year song. It acknowledges that life comes with challenges and difficult decisions, but these things are arbitrary and can be overcome. So when it comes time for graduation, instead of dreading the real world and the post grad life, take a breath and say “It’s time to begin.”

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