This week we’ll be celebrating the fact that a lot of people will be going to University for the first time. This is an amazing time for all involved (except your parents who don’t want the apron strings cut), but it’s not without its hazards. We’re on hand to help. Here’s the first article in a week-long series of Freshers-related content, looking at what it is your record collection says about you.


As Woody Allen once adroitly observed, it’s not what you’re like, but what you like that matters. Nowhere is this more apparent then your first year at University. Kind, considerate and heart-crushingly attractive is all well and good, but if you’re a perma-tanned wannabe wag with a DVD collection that extends all the way from She’s All That to You’ve Got Mailm and listen to funky house at the weekends (but not on Sundays cos you’ve a pill bellyache and a crushing sense of self-loathing that only Damien Rice can help with), then I’m afraid I might have to reject that friend request and only sleep with you when I’m hideously drunk in the first week and ignore you for the next three years (cos I know you’ll do the same to me)

Taste is important and the first weeks of University are a minefield of vicious self-doubt and that inexorable search for like-minded others that will make your time there a heady mix of good time hedonism, mixed in with the occasional lecture, of course, instead of hours spent bent over academic tracts wishing that someone - anyone! - will take you for a beer. Friendships are won and lost over what people hold to be important to them. The clothes you wear, the films you watch, and the music you listen to aren’t incidental material things; they are the material of you, regardless of how seductive you might think Tyler Durden’s rhetoric is. You are what you own, at least in those first moments.

And let me just back up one moment here: music is not just about how others see you, it’s about how you identify with something. Now you’re a student, you’re going to want to assume that role fully, believe me, because it’s an amazing time that is worth embracing for all its ragged poverty-stricken glory - kneel down and you shall believe. Once it’s gone, you’ll miss it forever (until you get an amazingly paid job).

So, here’s a list of albums that are worthy of soundtracking three potentially life changing years.  If you can at least name drop a few of these albums, you’ll be the ‘go to’ of your halls and showered in babes and booze (cos that’s what happens to music nerds, right?).

And a final note, proudly displaying your ownership of “Dark Side of the Moon”, “August and Everything After” or “Bob Marley’s Greatest Hits” like you invented the world doesn’t make you a student; it makes you a terrible awful cunt.


You’re middle class, privileged and away from home for the first time - you’re going to need a hip hop album. Since most hip hop albums are 4 killer singles and 73 other tracks of filler, a compilation is perfect. And grime is perfect too. The commercial development of the genre is so depressing that it makes Steel Magnolias seem joyous, but we should still be thankful that Run The Road Vol. 1 exists, because it’s the unfiltered sound of angry young men and women making something incredible out of nothing. As a penniless student, you could learn a lot from that, especially taking Plan B’s career as an example case of what not to do. And “Let It Out” still sounds like the best song of the last ten years.

Roll Deep - “Let It Out”

03 let it out


Serious, efficient, puritanical – scratch every liberal and you’ll find a fascist. This is the battleground of liking music that isn’t shit. You have to be an elitist (sometimes. You’ll need friends too). Deal with it or piss off back to Razorlight and fantasising over George Lamb/Edith Bowman (delete as applicable). Fugazi will make you feel like you’re better than anyone who doesn’t understand, and that’s a lot of people. But whatever you do, don’t wear a Fugazi T shirt - they never officially made any, you fake!

“Merchandise” BTW, I am aware of the irony in streaming this particular song - “You are not what you own”!

04 merchandise


Black is always the new black and the Velvet Underground are always the best dressed band ever. You might want to try looking like this album cover.

“Beginning To See The Light”

06 Beginning To See The Light


Proof that critics generally know nothing. They’ll try to convince you Slanted and Enchanced is better. It’s not. This is the sound of every good band of the last 40 years melted down into 18 songs and even smarter than that seems. Wowee Zowee almost makes redundant every other indie record ever made, which is good since you won’t be able to afford many others.


10 Grounded


Kate Bush makes every female artist ever nominated for the Mercury Music Prize feel like any other sprinter that isn’t Usain Bolt. It’s a closed field. The battle is always for second place. No matter what feats of sublime invention they reach, they’re still grasping at the ankles of Bush, like a shit Gladiator on The Wall. You know this and everyone else is just playing catch up (you also know that Never For Ever is way better than Hounds of Love, duh)

“The Wedding List”

06 The Wedding List