Duncan Playlist Review // Issues // Scholastic // University of Notre Dame

Review: Duncan Student Center Reading List

Please don’t stop the music, Duncan Student Center. That’s what I thought as Rihanna’s “Don’t Stop the Music” played throughout the building. Yet with a quick turnaround that only Duncan Student Center is capable of, The Fray’s “You Found Me” followed Rihanna’s smash hit of 2007, because who doesn’t like to cry while doing homework?

Atmospheres matter to music – it would be criminal for a crowd to remain silent and still during a live concert. This is a review of the Duncan Student Center Playlist, but it’s impossible to write it without addressing the important role of one’s environment when listening to music.

I can’t go any further without criticizing Duncan’s low audio level. It’s almost impossible to hear the playlist when the student center is full of loud talking voices. The only opportunity to properly hear the Duncan Student Center playlist is at night, when the entire student body has cleared out the building. If someone turned it up a bit, it would make a big difference.

Some praise for the ambience: depending on your seating position, the time of day, and whether someone who is musically inclined has chosen to frequent the building, you may be subjected to an interesting duet between the grand piano near from the Hagerty Family Cafe and the playlist. The two juxtapose in the best possible way. I didn’t expect to hear Timbaland’s “The Way I Are” and the melodic sounds of piano keys together.

It may depend on the day one visits the Duncan Student Center, but the playlist revolves around the 2000s pop hits we knew and loved during those music’s best days. It’s hard not to feel the growing sense of nostalgia for the songs that played on the radio when your mom or dad drove you to college. It’s hard not to feel the passage of time when you’re working on your second English homework due in the same week, instead of enjoying that commute to your sixth grade classes. Still, the playlist balances those feelings well by going from 0 to 100, playing “Yeah!” by Usher then “Numb” by Linkin Park just after “Best I Ever Had” by Drake then “Apologize” by Timbaland. This is a reflection of the Notre Dame experience – constantly swinging between some of the highest and lowest points of your life on this beautiful campus.

Even if your dorm is far from the Duncan Student Center, you should make the trip at least one weeknight when you have the brilliant opportunity to hear the speaker. You will not regret it. Or maybe you will.