Indie Songs for the Senior Job Search

All I think about is jobs these days. I do a thing when listening to music where I listen to one song at least fifteen times a day for a couple weeks at a time. Here are some songs on that heavy-play playlist atm, all inextricably tied to the job search.

“Helplessness Blues” by Fleet Foxes

Other people have made the direct link between the 20s job blues and this song. It’s not hard to do. Here’s what happens when I listen to this song. I’ll have been doing something like stalking friends with jobs on fb or surveying starting salaries for non-profit positions. This, unsurprisingly, triggers a low-level dread – low-level in both the sense of being not too pressing but also foundational, as in this dread is not going anywhere anytime soon. Then I’ll instinctually put on “Helplessness Blues;” like the automatic reaction that you get when your knee gets hit by a physician’s reflex hammer. Then I’ll sing the chorus with as much gusto as I can, trying to embody the sentiment of a “functioning cog in the machine,” until the dread becomes muted and manageable.

“How Come You Never Go There” by Feist

This one is less obvious than “Helplessness Blues.” I guess it’s pretty depressing to be translating a sad romance song into a parable on the job search. This senior year is obviously a rocky time to foray into the market. People are dealing with rejection to extents we thought unlikely for Amherst degree holders. It’s easy for me to take rejection from a job pretty personally. When I treat rejection as a judgment of character, my “inner calm” has certainly been disrupted. The thing I like about this song is that it keeps on moving, deliberately but constantly forward. Rejection – from a job or otherwise – is not something to get too hung up on. The message is ultimately a sobering realism: “we’re living proof we gotta let go/ and stop looking through a halo.”

“Cannons” by Youth Lagoon

I admit that I had to listen closely to uncover the lyrics. But I was initially drawn to this song when I was thinking about jobs because it’s got a great attitude in the form of an light and upbeat tune. ‘Chillwave’ music – which is difficult to define but if anything fits under that umbrella it’s Youth Lagoon – always reminds me of this article by Pitchfork Reviews Reviews . His message certainly holds for me; listening to breezy electronic music does transport me to a early time with fewer responsibilities. I sometimes feel like I’m ‘retreating’ when I listen to Baths and kin but not with “Cannons.” I think it’s because the song isn’t afraid to look to the future. My attention to the lyrics rewarded me with this great line, “I have more dreams than you have posters of your favorite teams/ You’ll never talk me out of them.” Aww. This is the pleasure of sampling indie pop: anxiety and hope in equal measure.