I am one of Northwestern’s biggest Rockbot fans (although my level two status does not reflect this). I always try to use the app when I’m in a dining hall or Norris for more than 20 minutes because it’s very empowering to hear my music choices play over the speakers. Although I refuse to reveal my Rockbot username, here are some song recommendations for different spots on campus. (Yes, I have the music taste of a 12-year-old. Please be nice to me.)
Allison Dining Hall: “Boyfriend” by Big Time Rush
Any Big Time Rush song is an appropriate fit for Allison Dining Hall. Listening to BTR in the upstairs seating area during peak lunchtime hours just feels different. The bright light and open space create a vibrant atmosphere that reminds me of child-like chaos. Because Big Time Rush was such a great show and Ciara Bravo, the actress who played Katie Knight, has not aged since the show first aired, listening to their music reminds me of eternal youth. But, I don’t know, maybe their songs are just all bops. “Boyfriend” is my personal favorite because of its iconic music video that takes place at an amusement park. (Side note: I confirmed this by watching both the TV and official versions of the music video while I was at Mudd Library, my computer screen clearly visible to those behind me, all for the sake of accurate journalism).
Norris University Center: Any song by Demi Lovato
Norris has a similar feel to Allison in that it just invites one to play throwback songs. However, people at Norris are especially aggressive when it comes to down-voting songs, so if you plan to play anything there, prepare for your ego to be insulted. It is also fun to see the wide variety of reactions to the music that plays there. The other day, I did my best not to burst out laughing when the people at the table next to me made fun of not only both the songs I liked, but also my username. I retaliated by playing “La La Land” by Demi Lovato. They didn’t see that coming.
Every Frat House: “Dancing Queen” by ABBA
Hearing “Dancing Queen” in a space where rap music often dominates is probably the best thing that’s ever happened to me at a frat. Maybe I’ve just had mediocre frat party experiences, but hearing everyone around me at a party scream “You can dance / You can jive / Having the time of your life” is the closest thing to happiness I’ve felt in a long time. Throwback to the highlight of my friend’s year being when she was the one who requested the song. What a legend!
Plex West: “I Want Crazy” by Hunter Hayes
Being in Plex West just makes one want to listen to country music – I don’t make the rules. If anybody knows why this happens, please let me know, because they don’t teach that in my social psychology class. For this reason (and the inspirational “You deserve better!” conversation I overheard in Plex before bid night), “I Want Crazy” is the perfect song to represent the yeehaw yet romantic environment created by Plex West. (Side note: If any of the people who had that uplifting conversation are reading this now, I’d like to say that you all seemed lovely and like great people to be friends with!)
Plex East and Mudd Library: No song, just the sound of silence (and tears)
SPAC: “LA Devotee” by Panic! At the Disco and “The Man” by Taylor Swift
Everyone has a workout song that gets them to run faster and work harder. For me, that song is “LA Devotee” because of its fast pace and killer drums (I like pacing myself so that during the chorus of the song I sprint or bike faster, not that anyone asked). Because I can’t just have one song on my workout playlist: female-empowerment songs also get me to work harder in the gym, so I added “The Man.” In the song, the line “I’m so sick of running as fast as I can” is especially relatable when you’re on the treadmill and there are cross country runners on either side of you who are running faster than you could ever dream of.
The Lakefill: “Saturday Sun” by Vance Joy
Even though Evanston is a frozen hellhole right now, it would be a missed opportunity not to honor a summertime jam that perfectly captures the feeling of sitting on the lakefill, enjoying the sun and fresh air and just looking out at the water. Because looking out at Lake Michigan makes me realize how small I am, I selected “Saturday Sun,” a sweet song that contrasts this sense of smallness and existentiality, making me feel less like an emo wreck by the time I leave. It’s a great combination of gentle, acoustic guitar and “whoa”-ing backing vocals.
I hope you take my advice and listen to some of these songs the next time you’re in one of these places. If not, just know that I am.
“Boyfriend” by Big Time Rush starts playing