UTG LIST: Back To School


Well, it’s that time of the year again…

By the time this is read, millions of students will have faced the end of summer vacation and made their return to school where they’ll remain for the greater part of the next year. With that comes a lot of feelings ranging from peacefulness to frustration, and anywhere else in between. As always, the UTG staff has you covered with a wide variety of tracks that come to mind when we think of this exciting and busy time of the year.

Check out our staff list after the jump and let us know some songs that make you think about returning back to school!

Everything from Deftones’ early years as a band just screams teenage angst, and “Back to School” hits the nail on the head perfectly. This song could apply to anyone, anybody going into high school, college, or even a new job could find something out of this song. “Back to School” is about realizing that there’s more to life than just following whatever your clique of choice thinks is cool and making the choice to be an individual. – Adrian Garza, News & Feature Writer (Twitter)

My biggest struggle in college was not passing class, but finding the energy every morning to pull myself from the comfort of my bed and shuffle half awake across campus to class. I probably made a dozen playlists my freshman year in an attempt to nail down the perfect morning soundtrack, and while I never got it quite right I did discover the energizing power of Rick Ross’ debut single, “Hustlin.” It has absolutely nothing to do with school, but it does revolve around themes of taking life into your own hands and persevering under stress to achieve your goals. This is done through loads of drug talk, admittedly, but the beat and hook are just too damn good to care. If you start your days with this song I guarantee walking to that first class will be just a bit easier (even if you’re spotted rapping and dancing mid-walk by people around campus). – James Shotwell, Founder/Editor (Twitter)

While this song isn’t necessarily specifically about college, “Came Out Swinging” by The Wonder Years is what I most associate with college and maturing into an adult in general. This is a song about starting fresh, starting new, but recognizing all of the hard work you’ve put in just to stay afloat. This song hit me like a ton of bricks when it was first released, and to this day it is a reminder of the all of the blood and sweat I’ve put into making myself a better person, but also an inspiration to press onward. – Tyler Osborne, UTG TV Staff & Feature Writer (Twitter)

I, like 99% of the people who have ever watched Saved by the Bell, believed high school would be that amazing. Sadly we were all wrong and no one’s educational experience was as cool as Zack Morris and Co. Bad times aside, I was the Jessie and loved learning a little too much, so even though I’ve been done with school for far too long now, this little ditty still manages to make me want to head to Target and get a basket full of composition books and mechanical pencils. – Kendra Beltran, News And Feature Writer (Twitter)

Very few efforts in modern emo-rock describe a passive-aggressive, bittersweet journey away from home better then “Homesick” by The Get Up Kids. Given the proper circumstances, this song has the ability to knock you in the gut with the realization that you are walking away from one chapter of your life and starting the next. Somber and overall saddening, “Holiday” is one of those anthems you sing along to when you are at your loneliest while in a new city or on a new campus. However, there is no reason to stay down, just take the advice of the chorus and remember that “maybe I can see you on holidays.” – Matthew Leimkuehler, News And Feature Writer (Twitter)

Packing up my belongings for college and then unpacking them to “As Tall As Cliffs” has always pinned this song in my mind as being one about leaving for school. The recounting of memories and inevitable leaving sung about in the lyrics allows you to tweak them more towards your life. Add the handful of instruments used in the song and beautiful harmonies, and it’s a bittersweet track that pairs well with that big move. – Nina Corcoran, News & Feature Writer (Twitter)

Thanks to his unavoidable debut single, “Thrift Shop,” many have already grown tired of the Seattle-based rapper Macklemore, writing him off as another one-hit-wonder that won’t make it far beyond the beer pong table. This is unfortunate, for in a genre synonymous with objectifying women and promoting violence in the name of self-advancement, Macklemore is actually writing music that is both poignant and far reaching. “Cowboy Boots” is one such example, as it very beautifully illustrates the unpredictability, excitement, and at times, harsh realities of the college experience. Awkward hook-ups, the development of lifelong friendships, and “the twenty-something confusion before the suit and tie” are just a few of the topics touched on throughout, and yes, the hook is a wee bit cheesy, but it works. At its core, “Cowboy Boots” serves as a song of reflection, and reminds listeners that even though things may not make sense at the time, eventually, in some way, shape, or form, they will. – Kyle Florence, News and Feature Writer (Twitter)

The lyrics of “The Summer Ends” speak of a relationship ending, of people drifting; for me, the song speaks about change. It relays the truth of that bittersweet change – sad, beautiful, and impossible to truly stop. Forlorn horns and gentle guitars foretell of the coming shift, of autumn’s ebb, summer’s wane, and the drifting apart that comes with leaving. A sad smile, a slowly falling leaf, a dusty memory, melancholy – it’s an incredibly tangible song about intangible things, and one that is universally relatable. Leaving for some new place or thing can be a thrill, but it also always means leaving something dearly loved behind. – Tyler Hanan, News Writer (Twitter)


The Mountain Goats have made a career of writing emotionally resonant songs that are lyrically superior short stories. The trio has other songs that are just as good, just as arresting – enough to fill whole albums with. It is this song that is their most popular, though, because it is such a ferocious and determined survival anthem. It’s meant to be shouted at full volume with fists clenched and heart set. Whether this is your first year or your last, your best or your worst, you’re going to make. Stick it to the world with its unfairness, the school with its schedule and demands – you’re going to make it. – Tyler Hanan, News Writer (Twitter)

The fatter and older I get, the more I hate Summer, but the thought of Summer and all it alludes to is always the best. It evokes the warm fuzzies, beach imagery, and rollerskating in hot pants. A Great Big Pile Of Leaves’ newest album (AOTY, I promise) revolves around these ideas of nostalgia, and going back to school year after year following summers that you never want to end is an unforgettable memory…or let-down in many cases. The title says it all. “Where did the Summer go?” – Brian Lion, Co-owner/Front Page Editor (Twitter)

This song almost slipped by my mind as I was on my way to taking a far more obvious route and adding a particular Blink-182 song. I was never a huge fan of The Ataris in high school but “In This Diary” was on pretty much every mix I made. The song is basically the Summer-to-school transition anthem. “Being grown up isn’t half as fun as growing up.” Truer words, right? “In This Diary” still holds up a decade later and serves as the theme song for wild summer nights with your friends, making mistakes, gaining experience points, and eventually accepting the fact that in time you do have to grow up, as shitty as that may be. – Brian Lion, Co-owner/Front Page Editor (Twitter)

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  • Smellycat

    Thanks guys. Just added a lot of new songs to my library