Being a student can be stressful, especially during a time of nationwide feelings of insecurity and unpredictability. With recent spikes in self-care and escapist culture, music styles have changed to ease the worries that burden people through the week, which has made made nostalgic throwbacks all the more appealing.
While exploring the new world of college parties during my freshman year, there was one song that seemed to follow me wherever I spent my nights. After churning through the standard rap playlist, the iconic opening riff of “Mr. Brightside” rang through the crowd; without fail, it would spark the most intense and euphoric reactions of the night. Despite the song coming out in 2004, it seemed to make a comeback starting in 2017. It has become a timeless classic for college students looking for a chance to furiously dance or scream out lyrics from crowded basements.
At its core, the song is about jealousy and infidelity in a relationship, but this recent revival has given “Mr. Brightside” a new meaning, especially for us college kids. The first lyrics of the song, “coming out of my cage and I’m doing just fine,” provide an odd sense of comfort and security, despite being the subject of many memes. No matter how rough a day I’ve had, when I hear those first words, I immediately feel slightly more empowered. I’ll think to myself, “hey, I am doing just fine,” even if it felt like my life was crumbling a few minutes before.
This sense of motivation reaches peak levels during the classic chorus. Brandon Flowers screams, “open up my eager eyes ‘cause I’m Mr. Brightside.” Even though the subject of the song is not entirely positive, the idea of having eager eyes and being “Mr. Brightside” through it all feels hopeful. Maybe I’m completely misreading the actual meaning of the song, but I think “Mr. Brightside” is an anthem of hope and optimism for the young listeners today.
No matter how many people were at those freshman year house parties or how active the party was, every single person was dancing if “Mr. Brightside” was playing. At its core, the song is exciting, cathartic and made me forget everything floating around in my head for a couple of fast-dancing minutes.
An element of nostalgia enhances the escapist feeling; it brings us back to a time when we first heard the song and instantly carries comforting memories to the forefront.
The same comforting feelings are associated with songs like “Float On” by Modest Mouse. Like “Mr. Brightside,” this song came out in 2004 and had a resurgence. Though it is not as popular as “Mr. Brightside,” I think it came back for the same reasons. “Float On” has a similar message of optimism — no matter how garbage things might seem. Both songs are anthems of security and ease for anyone going through tough times, which makes them instantly relatable for college students.
“Mr. Brightside” might fade out of party playlists, but it will forever be a source of comfort and hope for this generation of listeners.