In January 2009 I was a few weeks away from turning 20 years old. I was a sophomore at Texas A&M University in College Station. I found time to go to class between working as a short order cook and attending every party I could find. Seriously, so much partying. Social media was still kind of in it’s infancy. Smart phones were around but not as ubiquitous as they are now. The economy was in shambles. And a month earlier it actually snowed in College Station, which has an average low of about 45 degrees Fahrenheit in December.
As I returned to campus after Christmas break, a song was suddenly everywhere. We had just escaped the bombardment of the Christmas classics like Mariah Carey’s “All I Want for Christmas is You” and Burl Ives’s “Holly Jolly Christmas.” I figured I had eleven months of peace before I got that tired of hearing music. But oh, boy, was I wrong. For, you see, a new single was recently released by twenty-four year old douchelord Asher Roth. The song was called “I Love College,” and it’s terrible.
I Remember That Song, But Refresh My Memory a Bit
Happy to. The song, which can be viewed here (be careful, there are some NSFW lyrics), is a first-person narrative of one idiot’s experience at a college party. It includes references to beer pong, marijuana, late night pizza, and a weird interlude that is just people chanting “chug, chug, chug!” over and over. It’s awful. On top of the lyrical content, the music isn’t great, though it does sample Weezer’s “Say It Ain’t So” at one point. Asher Roth is not a gifted rapper and sounds cartoonish, like some sort of weirdly inappropriate character from a Disney musical.
If you were in college, or in high school, or freshly graduated from either, or a patron at a bar in a college town, you likely heard this song several times. In fact, I will conservatively guess I heard this song seventy trillion times between January and June 2009. Seriously, it was everywhere. I heard the explicit versions at parties and bars. I heard the radio edit at rec centers and family restaurants. On the rare occasions I hear it now that I feel a little tipsy because the song is so tied to those memories. Just awful.
Why is it Terrible?
So many reasons. I would rather listen to Rebecca Black’s infamous “Friday” while having my fingernails pulled out and being waterboarded than listen to this song. For starters, it’s campy. It is a shameless attempt to talk about the lowest common denominator college students have. The song had one purpose, and that was to take advantage of idiots to sell records. It’s similar to other songs that have done the same thing. Nicki Minaj’s “WAP” comes to mind. There are songs that have no artistic merit at all, and this is one of them.
Additionally, it gives bad advice. “That party last night was awfully crazy/I wish we taped it.” That is terrible advice. Think about all the stupid stuff you did at college parties. Would you want any of that on video? Somewhere there is a video of me crushing a Miller High Life can on my head, now hopefully lost to time. I say good riddance. The song also advocates drinking Banker’s Club, a vodka even worse than McCormick. Seriously, I can’t believe Banker’s Club even comes in a bottle; a Ziploc bag would be more appropriate.
There’s also a vaguely creepy phrasing in “I danced my ass off and had this one girl completely naked.” Did the dancing seduce her into nudity, or was it something more sinister? Just seems odd to me. There’s a halfhearted attempt to inject some responsibility with the line “don’t have sex if she’s gone [drunk], too,” which I suppose is redeeming, but that message seems disingenuous given the other lyrics.
Then there’s the chanting. In addition to “chug,” Asher also chants “freshman,” “do something crazy,” and “keg stand.” I have been to dozens if not hundreds of college parties, and we never spontaneously chanted anything.* If anyone tried chanting something they would have been asked to leave because it’s such a douchebag thing to do.
What Do I Do With This Information?
For starters, listen to the song. Go ahead, just listen to it right now. I bet there are a few people reading this who loved that song in college but haven’t heard it since. If you’re one of those people, please listen to the song. Leave some feedback in the comments. Was it everything you remembered? Is it terrible now that you have some perspective in life? Do you feel embarrassed to have listened to this voluntarily?
After listening to the song far removed from Formica tables, red Solo cups, and a group of people playing King’s Cup in the living room, how does it feel? Terrible? Good. It should feel terrible. The best thing you can do now is never listen to it again. There’s nothing wrong with having fond memories of college parties. Inevitably, that will mean good memories associated with otherwise awful things. For example, I have wonderful memories of parties where people passed around a bottle of Goldschäger. I ended up getting sick at one of them and couldn’t even chew cinnamon gum for several years, but the memories of those parties are overwhelmingly positive.
This song is a paradox. It is awful. It’s a critical part of some great memories. It is both. Shotgun a beer, order a pizza, and relax.
*We chanted “USA! USA! USA!” at an Olympics party in 2008. It was patriotic and beautiful, so it does not count as douchey. We watched Michael Phelps and chanted.