It's been a good two months but it's time to get on that horse again. School is back in session. For some, after all the lectures have sunk in, it'll be back to the humble abode with the family, free meals and laundry while the sounds of constant bickering fills each and every room.

But for others, the fresh meat being served to the lions of dorm life will bring about many rigors such as dealing with different types of roommates (check out our recent guide to college roommates) and the pressures of meeting new people and fitting in. You've got a long road ahead of you.

Campus Circle offers a guide on something we know a bit about: music. Either in its standard circular shape or jammed into your iPod, these CD picks will get you through the multitude of college scenarios that'll face you. Trust us, the sounds of silence will be filled, just don't expect any aid from Simon or even Garfunkel.


Pinkerton — Weezer

Rivers Cuomo sure knew how to write the perfect pop love song. While the band is still on hiatus for who knows how long, its seminal masterwork is here to say. A commercial disaster in its initial release, Pinkerton has now become a shining light for the little bit of emo inside all of us.

Lie down on the bed and crank the volume to 11. Cuomo's voice is at full blast as you envision all the sexual frustrations and disappointing dates from perspectives you've met in your residence hall.

In the Aeroplane Over the Sea — Neutral Milk Hotel

Love never sounded so haunting. Banjos, flugelhorn and various brass instruments can do that. Jeff Mangum's '90s opus looked at the beauty that came with the horrific, with such tragedies as the fate of Anne Frank chronicled on the record. Throughout, it's Mangum's voice that carries us, always searing true to the point; he anchors it all.

One only has to listen to the titular track to experience Mangum's voice weaving freely in and out. Beauty over consequence shines as he sings: “ And one day we will die and our ashes will fly from the aeroplane over the sea/But for now we are young let us lay in the sun/And count every beautiful thing we can see.” Loneliness is forgone.  


Paul's Boutique — Beastie Boys

The boroughs of Brooklyn and Manhattan represent. Let the freak flag fly high and if you want to toss it around like a helicopter, by all means do so.

Deemed as one of the greatest rap albums of all time, the Beastie Boys literally hung it all out for their sophomore release, unleashing sample after sample (Alice Cooper to the Jackson 5) underneath lyric upon lyric of urban wit. Mucho credit goes out the Dust Brothers who brought their producing muscle to the album.

Bump all this hot shhhh, and let the party come to you. By the end of the night all the ladies will do like the Beasties' track says and “Shake Their Rump.”

Thriller — Michael Jackson

It really doesn't matter what the man did in the '90s and so far this decade, Michael Jackson made Thriller; but more importantly, “Billie Jean” and that's all that matters. The writing is on the wall and after over $51 million in sales; the album is still going on strong, hopefully in your living room.

Enjoy the pleasures of having air guitar battles over “Beat It” to see who can do the best impression of Eddie Van Halen, but really enjoy “Billie Jean.” Play it on continuous loop and bring out the party drinks. Keep doing your version of the moonwalk just be mindful to not trip and land into the toilet.

Damaged — Black Flag

Break your face in. Smash it up against the wall. A little trickle of blood falls. Smile. Rinse and repeat. The boys from Black Flag knew how to do it well and do it proper.

Partying doesn't have to entail sitting down, eating some cheese and crackers, drinking some wine and laughing it up. It would be so simple just to dance but wouldn't you rather mix it up, rather thrash it up if you will.

Embrace the warmth of scathing guitars and the thump of drums courtesy of ROBO. Simply “Rise Above,” but remember to still have that “T.V. Party” tonight. Don't forget the brews. It'll be worth it.

HIGHER LEARNING Ágætis Byrjun — Sigur R ós

Cramming for a big test requires only the slightest of sounds. There shouldn't be any loud percussion, no idiot screaming into the mic. Just peace and quiet. And no this CD recommendation isn't advocating the jazz of Kenny G.

You really need to feel like you're on top of a glacier, just you and your books. While that seems highly unlikely unless you're James Bond, the next available option is Ágætis Byrjun from our favorite Icelandic group Sigur R ós . The band is always ethereal, lush and misunderstood (It's really hard to decipher Hopelandic!).

Study sessions usually last about 10 minutes right? Perfect. You don't need to skip to the middle of the disc, the heavenly“Svefn-g-englar,” is first up. It's also good to point out that Ágætis Byrjun means “An alright start.” You're on your way to that A.


Loveless — My Bloody Valentine

Marvin Gaye and Barry White – those guys sure knew how to bring it. Just play one track of any of their albums and clothes would instantly be a-flying. But controversial as this might sound, the songs are becoming tired, almost cliché.

Once you bring a certain special loved one to your dorm room, and play a little bit of “Let's Get it on,” or “Can't Get Enough of Your Love Babe,” he/she will probably know instantly what you have in mind. That's fine and all, because hey, you got what you wanted but don't you want something different?

Mix things up with a little bit of distortion and an epic level of dream-like noise courtesy of Kevin Shields and the rest of My Bloody Valentine. Don't be fooled by the album's title. The sounds emanating from this record induce and entice.


IV — Led Zeppelin

Plain and simple, if you don't have Led Zeppelin IV in your record collection, then you're not a hot shot. Sorry.

The album hits you right off the bat, with “Black Dog” and “Rock and Roll.” The guitar throttle of Jimmy Page coupled with John Bonham's bombastic drums anchored by the bass playing of John Paul Jones and fronted by the screeching wail that's become synonymous with Robert Plant make the foursome the most lethal of classic rockers.

Just crank up the solo of “Stairway to Heaven.” Open your doors and windows to let everyone from upstairs, downstairs and across the quad know exactly who you are.

Legend — Bob Marley

It's a proven fact around dorms across the country: everyone has Bob Marley's Legend album. Emo geeks, frat jocks and everyone in between has this 14 greatest hits album.

The trick is strategically using the CD to your advantage making sure that you don't use it like one of those “guys.” Meaning, you play the album with all of your friends, clouds of smoke all across the living room, pizza boxes lined up the near the TV which by the way has Mario Kart 64 on it.

That's all wrong, you're a hot shot remember. Here's the technique: put the audio system to a low five, let “No Woman, No Cry,” be the backing track to engaging conversations on Keats and Bukowski all the while you and your guests are eating soufflés and sipping mimosas. Hot shot status certified.