What’s on their iPod? Everything from a cappella to hip hop

Video by Diler Haji

Continuing on our journey through UConn to discover what students have been listening to, we came across an eclectic taste in music – and some guilty pleasures you might not expect. 

First off is John Potter, a sixth semester actuarial science major. He has been listening to whatever is on the radio and enjoys attending many of the a cappella performances on campus, especially when the groups sing contemporary songs.

Potter’s guilty pleasure is “Walking on Sunshine” by Katrina & The Waves, for he listens to the song “at least once a day – just like walking to class, it puts me in a better mood,” he said.

For Potter music is a “mood shifter,” as he puts it.

“If I’m at the gym working out, it really helps there. If I’m on the way to class and it’s before an exam – I’ll give myself a lot of pump up music. If I just want to walk around and hang out, I’ll just play more random music…I would say it really helps me express what I’m feeling and to kind of amplify those emotions,” Potter said.

Cassidy Stack, a sixth-semester political science and human rights double major, was into relaxing music from the likes of Sublime while in high school, but ever since entering college she’s become a huge fan of hip-hop. Some of her favorite artists include Young Thug and Kanye West.

Although she said, “‘My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy’ is one of my favorite albums of all time,” she has not yet come around to his new album "The Life of Pablo."

When listening to hip-hop, Stack looks for good lyrics, her connection to the song and the beat behind it, for she said “If I can continuously listen to it and enjoy it,” it’s officially her jam. She’s gotten into making playlists on Soundcloud and has become the regular DJ at her job and with her friends.

As for why Stack listens to music she said, “It wakes me up, it makes me happy. It’s the first thing I put on when I’m waking up in the morning. It’s (there) when I’m walking to class. When I go to bed…I always have my headphones in.” Unlike most, she does not have a guilty pleasure for, “If I’m listening to it, I want people to see it. I want people to know, because it’s good,” she said.

Kenneth Miller, an eighth-semester management engineering for manufacturing major, said, “I listen to everything – it’s such a wide array. Some days I could listen to Chicago, the next day I could listen to Thundercat and Flying Lotus. The next day after that I could be listening to Empire of The Sun. It’s just different types of music.” He is a big fan of most genres and has the diverse music collection to prove it.

Miller listens to whatever music matches his current state. Some days he has phases where he wants to listen to something different—“out of the usual, out of the norm” and he discovers such music through Spotify and YouTube. Much of his favorite music is of a different era, for he believes “You get a lot more soul…I can’t really describe it. You can connect.”

For Miller, music is an extra motivator for him. He recalls memories and attributes certain songs to certain moments in his life, from defining experiences to pleasant walks under the beaming sun.

“It just gives me like that boost, that sort of medium. It’s just something that’s there and that I can attribute circumstances in my life to,” he said.

Miller’s guilty pleasure is a stalemate between Empire of the Sun and Prince. “Prince is just weird and I just like the sound, even though it was so unusual for that time and period for someone to be so vulgar, I kind of liked it because it was creative—he had a different approach,” said Miller.

Lastly is Demarco Palmer, a sixth semester economics major who has consistently been listening to Kanye West’s new “The Life of Pablo” as of late. His favorite track from the album at the moment is “30 Hours,” which he said is, “a five minute song where he kind of just rambles, but it’s dope.” Palmer went onto say, “He’s a very polarizing character…I think all of his music sounds super good.”

Kanye’s new album just dropped on Spotify with new edits to many of the songs first released on Tidal, which Palmer thinks are big improvements. Besides Kanye, Palmer is a big fan of Drake and J Cole – but rap is not the only music Palmer can get into. “You see me, and I have a stern face on and I’m bobbing my head, but deep down I’m listening to slow 90s R&B music and like Michael Jackson and Stevie Wonder.”

For Palmer’s guilty pleasure, he said “Low key, ‘N Sync is the greatest boy band of all time and Justin Timberlake is the G.O.A.T (greatest of all time) of teenagers that are surrounded by four other dudes who all just sing nice songs.”

But he also is proud of being an old and unwavering fan of Justin Bieber saying, “I loved J. Biebs when it wasn’t cool to like J. Biebs. You know, back when he was singing ‘Somebody To Love’ and ‘Never Say Never.’” He never told anyone about his fandom for Bieber until the singer attained “cool” status among Palmer’s peers.

As to why music is important Palmer, he said, “You ask anybody what they like and I’m pretty sure literally everybody who’s ever been around the general public likes some type of music. Even the most culturally uncivilized – even going way back thousands of years – there’s always that hint of rhythm and beat…I think music is a part of everybody’s culture no matter what type of music it is.”


Brett Steinberg is a staff writer for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at brett.steinberg@uconn.edu. He tweets @officialbrett.