This is probably one of the most difficult pieces that I’ll ever write, as it’s an attempt to capture a span of 19 years as genuinely as I can. I am (hopefully) graduating this June, and this will be my last-ever column. I first and foremost want to take this opportunity and thank the Bilkent News family, as well as my readers, for allowing me to express my keen enthusiasm for contemporary music. I want to dedicate my last column to Bilkent itself by remembering songs that make me remember Bilkent.
Every day is a bare-knuckle fight at Bilkent. You need to dress in your battle armor – all black, except for the Stan Smiths. And these are the hymns I hummed during this battle – they changed every so often, but they have enough stored feeling for me to remember it all. Because what counts most is the experience itself – an indescribable totality that will fade with every day spent off the campus. And now it’s time to say goodbye to all that.
“Nocturne” by Secret Garden
This odd 1995 Eurovision winner is perhaps one of my first musical memories. Five-year-old me hated this song, because five-year-old me hated afternoon naps in the Bilkent kindergarten. This was – as far as I can remember – the only song that was played, on repeat, intended to induce toddlers to sleep. To this day, whenever I hear it, I unwillingly yawn.
“Lofticries” by Purity Ring
I still remember the first time I heard this song. One of my friends (and my brother’s girlfriend at the time) shared it on Facebook (when Facebook was still relevant). I was completely mesmerized by its singular sonic quality, and, as I was still very new to alternative music, it felt as if I had discovered a profound secret. The song’s beats still send me back to that time when I was in high school, playing coy with emotions, trying to understand life.
“Only Heather” by Wild Nothing
Taken off my favorite album, “Nocturne,” this song is really soaked in the mood of early morning, when sleeping and being awake intermingle for hours. I used to listen to this every morning on the way to my high school, trying to go back to dreaming.
“Do I Wanna Know” by Arctic Monkeys
This song seemed inescapable in 2013, the year I started college. It was a regular in Radio Bilkent’s afternoon playlist, and whenever I hear its distinctive guitar riff, I feel as if I’m walking toward Speed, seeing everyone sitting on the steps of FF talking to each other. Or maybe it’s because I remember hearing it live at Rock’n Coke 2013. “Crawling back to you” seems like an apt mantra for university – whatever you do, you’ll always crawl back (in memory or in person).
“Sunset” (Jamie xx Edit) by The xx
This song undeniably reminds me of my senior year, hanging out in cars and jamming to imaginary movies, trying to be actualized beneath a thick cloud of smoke.
“All My Friends” by LCD Soundsystem
This is the only song on the list that I don’t immediately associate with Bilkent. It starts with distorted piano notes and quickly becomes a manifesto to the unfound beauty of friendship, even when it’s doomed. James Murphy, the lead singer, closes the song by screaming “If I could see all my friends tonight” over and over again. This, I believe, is the overriding chant of college: an obsessive desire to connect, to find and give love to those who deserve it. Think about all the people you’ve met over these four years, the people you’ve loved and talked to till dawn, and think about all the people you’ve lost to the complications of growing up. Thank them, the friends you have and the friends you’ve lost, and know that no one will ever know you, not really, like the bends of the roads leading up to Bilkent.