Think back to this morning, when you walked from the classroom buildings to the Union. Fresh out of a lecture, you were probably enter­taining milk-and-honey visions of ancient Athens or day­dreams of Dante and Beatrice. Then you pushed open Grewcock’s double doors and the shock of popstar Ariana Grande singing “Side to Side” wrenched you from your fantasy. Again.

It’s time to toss the worst of the Top 40 trash that plays in the Grewcock Student Union. This is the music of frat parties and stale mon­tages, not the sound­track of early-morning review ses­sions or late-night con­ver­sa­tions. All of us indulge our fancy for pop culture — I’ll admit that I’ve got most of Justin Timberlake’s reper­toire com­mitted to memory. But when Sir­iusXM pumps the union full of ugly, repet­itive tracks, it pro­motes the same thought­lessness Hillsdale teaches its stu­dents to overcome. Luckily, our musical predicament is an irri­tating over­sight with an easy fix.

The mon­itors who manage the Union’s front desk also run its sound system, but they aren’t the cul­prits: “The Student Union desk workers only control whether the radio is on or off,” sophomore desk monitor Jordyn Pair said. “We have no control over what is playing.”

When it’s on, the radio usually plays SiriusXM’s “Hits 1” station, which cycles through the latest hits from the kings and queens of bub­blegum pop. The tunes of Ariana, Tim­berlake, and Taylor Swift belt out the hits that financed their newest mansion, they make the Union a feel like high school prom. Yikes.

While the radio station has edited all the four-letter words from these angsty ballads, the content of these tunes promote vile mes­sages. In the chart-topper “Side to Side,” for example, Ariana drops this poetic shoutout to her latest lover: “I’m talkin’ to ya/ See you standin’ over there with your body/ Feeling like I wanna rock with your body/ And we don’t gotta think ‘bout nothin.’” Lovely, right?

This would be less of a problem if the Union was pop­u­lated only by its 9 p.m. crowd — stu­dents strung out on stale coffee and greasy carbs. But a lot of other people visit the Union. Prospective stu­dents imagine them­selves reading up on the great works of the Western World aside the fire­place, while their mothers picture their pre­cious babes falling for an equally con­ser­v­ative student over ice cream at AJ’s (what they don’t know about Hills­dating won’t hurt them). Donors tour this lodge-like hang out before they snap a quick pic with Winston and clean out their wallets at the book­store. Pro­fessors trudge down the steps into the cafe­teria for lunch. Their tiny kids run wild in velcro shoes.

And who sings backup to all this activity? Nasally, auto-tuned voices screeching overhead about their thoughtless sex­ca­pades and sub­se­quent heart­breaks (I’m looking at you, TSwizzle).

Hillsdale College prides itself on adherence to prin­ciple and cel­e­bration of higher thought. We have got to turn off the music that pro­motes debauchery as it echoes throughout the center of student life.

Listen, I’m not sug­gesting we swap Ariana and her ilk for an equally-irri­tating playlist of goody-goody Christian music. And I’m not saying we should crank up the volume with hours of Rachmaninov’s piano con­certos on loop, even though that’s a sac­rifice for me — I’ve got it bad for Sergei.

Perhaps an a couple of SAB student employees should aggregate and update playlists of upbeat music that doesn’t cel­e­brate hookup culture. Maybe we could even feature Hillsdale’s own radio station, 101.7 FM, in the later evening hours when it’s quiet enough to hear the shows pro­duced by our fellow stu­dents. The options are plen­tiful, and, more impor­tantly, the options are cheap.

Whatever we do, though, we have got to stop playing “Side to Side.” It’s been stuck in my head for weeks.

Ms. Read is a junior studying French and jour­nalism.

  • Jen­nifer Melfi


  • BradinAZ

    With all the available satellite radio sta­tions, why would they only play one?

    • disqus_odKVC5cL1k

      If its the one you paid for the per­for­mance rights for, its the one you get. Would think others would be cheaper, but who knows.