With the pandemic forcing Varsity’s physical headquarters to close, unfortunately I can’t introduce this piece as being ‘the tunes you’d hear while walking around our offices’. That being said, the team have been as busy as ever working in very unique circumstances. I was curious to find out what music had been keeping them going, so I asked around. Here’s what they said: hopefully some of their recommendations will help you get through an unusual Easter term.

Cameron White [Sport Editor]

I can’t stop listening to Glass Animals’ “Heat Waves” – it’s become my revision anthem. While its meaning changes with every listen, its premise is a dreamy reflection on a recently deceased friend, with the lyrics evoking the waves of emotion experienced when cherishing a late loved one. It’s both calm and melodic, yet somehow blurry. What makes this song particularly special for me is that it was recommended to me by a mate that I hadn’t seen for over half a year until recently, and I think this resonated with the song’s focus on relationships and its nostalgic sound.

[Top track: “Heat Waves” – Glass Animals]


Caitlin Farrell [Deputy News Editor]

This month I’ve been on a Mitski binge – I think her music perfectly captures the sadness we often feel in the summertime, and my top track “Strawberry Blond” is the perfect combination of freedom and thrill with isolation and emotion. “I Bet on Losing Dogs” is another Mitski favourite: it makes me feel like I’m walking alone late at night in the rain. I’m a lifelong Smiths fan so no music roundup would be complete without The Queen is Dead – no matter what I listen to, this will remain my favourite ever album.

[Top track: “Strawberry Blond” – Mitski]

Faiz Ghaffar [Music Columnist]

I’ve been listening to the original songs behind Hip-Hop samples. Whether it’s Steely Dan’s “Black Cow” (sampled on MF DOOM’s “Gas Drawls”), Ahmad Jamal’s “Ghetto Child” (sampled on Common’s “They Say”) or Beach House’s “Silver Soul” (sampled on Kendrick Lamar’s “Money Trees”), it’s always a weirdly intimate listening experience. You uncover a secret history, like seeing a photo of a friend as a child. There’s a resemblance, but the original is its own thing entirely. And, inevitably, you knowingly nod your head when the sampled riff comes on.

[Top track: “Why Can’t There Be Love” – Dee Edwards // Sampled on “DEATHCAMP” – Tyler, The Creator]

“Paul Simon [...] is the only artist whose music I would forget about just to have the opportunity to discover again”

Lotte Brundle [Lifestyle Editor]

I’ve been listening to Royal Blood’s new album Typhoons, because they are one of the few crossover bands that both my boyfriend and I actually like: good for listening to in the car! I really like “Oblivion” and “Troubles Coming” in particular, but my favourite Royal Blood song will always be “How Did We Get So Dark?”. My music taste is pretty eclectic, so I’ve also been listening to Anderson .Paak’s album Ventura, which is a firm favourite of mine. This goes along with lots of my parents’ favourite songs from their youth, especially Elton John, Duran Duran, Steely Dan, and Prince.

[Top track: “Girls On Film” – Duran Duran]


Emaan Ullah [Deputy Opinion Editor]

I’ve recently been enjoying a lot of G-funk, mainly keeping to quintessential albums from the 1990s like Dr. Dre’s The Chronic and Snoop Dogg’s Doggystyle, while also brushing up on adjacent hip-hop subgenres. Other songs from the decade I particularly like include DJ Quik’s “Dollaz + Sense”, Warren G’s “Regulate”, and Biggie’s “Going Back To Cali”. As for more contemporary G-funk and 90s-inspired rap, it just so happens I’m currently listening to “Big Body” by ScHoolboy Q, and I think Kendrick Lamar’s good kid, m.A.A.d city can only be an all-time favourite.

[Top track: “You Know How We Do It” – Ice Cube]

Ellie Austin [Lifestyle Editor]

Recently I’ve begun compiling my summer 2021 playlist, as inspired by the glorious weather of mid-April Cambridge. However, it seems a bit premature now given the week-long period of continuous rain… but one can dream. At the moment its basically 100% TikTok songs (think Olivia Rodrigo “déjà vu” and Doja Cat “Kiss Me More” vibes), although I’ve managed to rediscover some of my old summer favourites sourced from Vine to create some balance (including the groovy “Corazόn” by Robby Hunter Band).

[Top track: “Succession (Main Title Theme)” – Nicholas Britell]


Mountain View

How rediscovering rock music got me through Lent term

Levente Koroes [Photography Editor]

As exams draw closer, I’m finding solace in Paul Simon’s music once more. His work has incredible depth, from his early tracks as a part of Simon and Garfunkel to his later pieces. He is the only artist whose music I would forget about just to have the opportunity to discover again. He has party bangers (“You Can Call Me Al”), uplifting songs (“Graceland”), and tracks that will help you wind down (“Long, Long Day”). “Kodachrome” is another personal favourite, as you’ll see me with a camera quite often! I’d start with his Essential Paul Simon album and then go deeper into his discography: all of his albums are different.

[Top track: “Graceland” – Paul Simon]