The Undertow: Introduction

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The Undertow is The Daily Campus’ new Life column by Daniel Cohn. Every Monday Cohn will share underrated music that deserves their recognition.

The Undertow is The Daily Campus’ new Life column by Daniel Cohn. Every Monday Cohn will share underrated music that deserves their recognition.

Last semester, I was given the opportunity to write a weekly column about my experiences studying abroad in Prague, Czech Republic, in lieu of my usual two-a-weekish Storrs-bound pieces. I jumped at the opportunity, and my foreign correspondence is some of the work I’m most proud of. I relished the idea of the open-ended format, and my articles changed from a stop-and-go process to stopping myself from writing essays. Now that I’m back stateside for my final year at UConn, I’m writing about the one thing I can’t get enough of: Music. 

For my money, there is no better joy in writing than writing about song. Translating the mosaic of emotions you feel when listening to a great album into the written word can be immensely therapeutic. In fact, it can deepen your love of a piece of music you thought you knew everything about. On the flip side, writing about horrible music can be fun too, as I did the other day when I laid into the atrocious new Blink-182 project . No matter the quality, turning audio into text is one of the best things you can do with an imagination and a keyboard.  

 In the age of the internet, making music is easier than ever. Every day, more and more people gain access to the tools they need to put their creative passion out there into the ether. The concept of “genre” has been left in the dust. This is evidenced by the meteoric rise of country-trap phenom Lil Nas X, who destroyed Billboard records by forcing together two genres that had never gotten along with “Old Town Road.” Preconceived notions of what music “is” and “should be” are fading by the day. At the same time, the ability for anyone to put out a song on free platforms like Soundcloud or Bandcamp made the musical landscape more crowded than the Orange line on a weekday. People still catch fire with viral hits, but it takes more fuel than ever to keep the flame going.  

The working title of my column is “The Undertow.” An undertow is defined as a “current of water below the surface and moving in a different direction from any surface current.” It’s the thing you feel on your legs in the ocean after the crashing of a strong wave. You can’t see it, but you know it’s there. It’s below the surface, but it’s powerful and it deserves your attention. That’s the type of music that I like to dig up and share with people. Music that deserves a spotlight. Music that is just as good as the Pitchfork-reviewed, arena-selling chart toppers we all know and love, but for a multitude of reasons, remains buried on Bandcamp or halfway down a Spotify search. That’s my cup of tea.  

I can’t wait to share my inner hipster with all of you. Get ready to don those flannels and trade in your reading glasses for thick rims, because it’s time to feel the undertow. See you next Monday! 


Daniel Cohn is a staff writer for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at daniel.cohn@uconn.edu.

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