Halloween weekend’s come around again, and boy does this song inspire some serious nostalgia. My classmates and I had been fortunate enough to have Halloween fall on a Thursday, Friday, and Saturday during our sophomore, junior, and senior years respectively, and I capitalized on that time by ironically leaving campus every year. Every Halloween for the past three years I’ve escaped to UMass Amherst, the arguable party hub of New England, in hopes that I could take advantage of an intrinsically themed national day of celebration in the school that possessed a reputation for such festive shindigs. Year after year my decision proved a wise one, as I experienced a side of college was tough to find in the smaller campus environment that I was familiar with.
The parties were expectedly memorable, but a lot of what comes to mind when I think about those snapshots in time is “the day after”. Slow moving and in a state of recovery, my friends and I had time to sit back and take in life in as it came. In the final instance of my Halloween trip to UMass during my Senior year, we had decided to make an early day-after excursion to Dunkin’ Donuts out of necessity for sustenance more than anything else. The radio was playing on this surprisingly lengthy drive back to my friend’s apartment when a 90’s song came on. My friend told his roommate to keep it on because “Matt loves this kind of music”, and then went on to tell me that his roommate liked a lot of the same alternative/indie music that I did.
I looked at him as I often do when I get sporadically introduced to a fellow alternative music fan, a look which I would classify in the same category as post-apocalyptic humans finding each other in a barren wasteland (i.e. Will Smith finding other survivors in I Am Legend). My friend’s roommate started talking about the concerts he had recently attended, such as Frank Turner and The Dodos to name a couple, and I remained thoroughly impressed as I sat in the back seat wondering why less alternative music lovers existed on this vastly populated planet. Instinctively and without thinking, I started humming “Walking” by The Dodos to myself. My friend’s roommate flashed a smirk in the mirror and said “I mean dude, if you’re gonna do that then I’m just gonna have to play the actual song”. He plugged int he auxiliary chord and starting playing “Walking” through the a car speakers, and I was again surprised as everyone in the car knew the song, further proving that this kid had successfully converted a small population to “the light side” as some would say. The song paired with the aesthetic perfectly as we sang the indie tune together while the trees flashed their autumn colors before our recuperating eyes. For the first time in those three years of visiting I was really taking in the beauty of the campus. UMass may surface memories of parties for most, but that drive home is a sightseeing snapshot in time that immediately comes to mind when I hear The Dodos, filling me with a sense of sentimental comradery even when I’m listening to it alone.