Back-to-School Songs

Back-to-School Songs & Opinions on LCD Soundystem and Van Hunt

The beginning of September means students return to the classroom. Whether you're excited to be back-to-school or the very thought inspires dread and anxiety, Jim and Greg have put together a playlist to ease back to the grind. Plus, they review albums by LCD Soundsystem and Van Hunt.

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reviewamerican dreamAmerican Dream available on iTunes

LCD Soundsystem American Dream

LCD Soundsystem – one of Jim and Greg's favorite bands of the 2000s – broke up in 2011 after a huge farewell show at Madison Square Garden. But only six years later, leader James Murphy has brought the group back for a fourth album, American Dream. Greg was skeptical after hearing the initial singles. But upon hearing the whole record, he calls it their most emotional work yet, designed to work as an album from beginning to end. He cites the haunted quality in Murphy's voice as he confronts getting older and loves the record's polyrhythmic vibes. While Greg gives it a Buy It, it pains Jim to give American Dream a Trash It. He's annoyed at hearing a 47-year-old complain about being old. According to Jim, the new album has lost the sense of humor, groove, and songs of the previous records, and he will never listen to American Dream again for pleasure.

reviewPopularPopular available on iTunes

Van Hunt Popular

Soul-rocker Van Hunt's album Popular, originally slated for release back in 2008, is finally seeing the light of day. According to Greg, the record is“totally contemporary, and totally of the moment… still.” The album, a stylistic diversion from Van Hunt's previous efforts (Van Hunt [2006] and On the Jungle Floor [2007]), was shelved by Blue Note Records after promotional copies had been distributed to critics. Jim and Greg received copies of the album back then and gave the album an "enthusiastic double Buy It" – despite listeners not being able to purchase the music at the time. Now that Blue Note has given the record a proper release, Jim and Greg revisited the record. Greg calls it a Freudian, avant-garde take on Prince's Dirty Mind. He adds that the record has an“adventurous”blend of sonic elements like the mix of punk with falsetto soul vocals in "Turn My TV On." Jim says the record was ahead of its time in 2008 and still sounds absolutely fresh and current beside "other genre-bending maestros of R&B like Frank Ocean and Kendrick Lamar." Both Greg and Jim give Popular another double Buy It (and this time you can actually buy it).



September is a time of mixed emotions. For some, it's an exciting new beginning. For others, it's a time of doom and dread. Either way, here are some of Jim and Greg's favorite Back-To-School songs to kick off the new school year.

Featured Songs

  1. LCD Soundsystem, American Dream, American Dream, DFA, 2017
  2. LCD Soundsystem, Call the Police, American Dream, DFA, 2017
  3. LCD Soundsystem, Tonite, American Dream, DFA, 2017
  4. LCD Soundsystem, Emotional Haircut, American Dream, DFA, 2017
  5. Van Hunt, Prelude (The Dimples on Ur Bottom), Popular, Blue Note, 2017
  6. Van Hunt, turn my TV on, Popular, Blue Note, 2017
  7. Van Hunt, the lowest 1 of my desires, Popular, Blue Note, 2017
  8. Ramones, Rock ‘n’ Roll High School, Rock ‘n’ Roll High School, Sire, 1979
  9. Chuck Berry, School Day, After School Session, Chess, 1957
  10. Screeching Weasel, Cool Kids, Bark Like a Dog, Fat Wreck, 1996
  11. The Specials, You Can't Blame the Youth, Talkin' Blues, Tuff Gong, 1991
  12. Style Council, Long Hot Summer, Introducing the Style Council, Polydor, 1983
  13. The Smiths, The Headmaster Ritual, Meat is Murder, Sire, 1985
  14. Frank Zappa, Catholic Girls, Joe's Garage: Act I, Zappa, 1979
  15. Lulu, To Sir With Love, To Sir, With Love, Fontana, 1967
  16. Bob Seger, Night Moves, Night Moves, Capitol Records, 1976
  17. The Specials, Rat Race, More Specials, 2 Tone, 1980
  18. Buffalo Tom, Lolly, Lolly, Lolly, Get Your Adverbs Here, School House Rock! Rocks, Lava, 1996
  19. Steely Dan, My Old School, Countdown to Ecstasy, ABC, 1973
  20. Mission of Burma, Academy Fight Song, Signals, Calls and Marches, Ace of Hearts, 1981
  21. The White Stripes, We're Going to Be Friends, White Blood Cells, Sympathy for the Record Industry, 2001
  22. Kanye West, School Spirit, The College Dropout, Roc-A-Fella, 2004
  23. The Lawrence Arms, On With The Show, The Greatest Story Ever Told, Fat Wreck Chords, 2003
  24. The Jimi Hendrix Experience, Purple Haze, Are You Experienced, Track, 1967
  25. The Lonnie Donegan Skiffle Group, Rock Island Line, Rock Island Line (single), Decca, 1955
  26. Lonnie Donegan and his Skiffle Group, Does Your Chewing Gum Lose Its Flavor (On The Bedpost Overnight?), Lonnie Donegan, Dot, 1959
  27. Bob Log III, Log Bomb, Log Bomb, Fat Possum, 2003