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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Illinois State chapter.

They say that music is a time capsule, music is a time machine, and music has the power to take you back to the past. There are a lot of songs that I love for one reason or another for that exact purpose — to relive in the good moments. However, as I’ve grown a little older, some songs are able to change and grow with me as well. It’s not necessarily that I understand the song better, it’s just that I understand the song differently. Here are some special songs that seem to be changing by my side. 

“Mess is Mine” by Vance Joy 

In recent years, “Mess is Mine” has been coined as almost a teenage, coming-of-age type of song. Some examples can be seen in the movies that the song is featured in, such as Sierra Burgess Is A Loser. I remember listening to this song for the first time when my friend showed it to me during the summer. We both just got our licenses fresh at 16, and I loved the sound of all of the instruments coming together in the chorus. We would turn it up during that part, with our windows rolled down on our way to the beach with a Sonic slushie in hand. The song and lyrics were catchy. We would talk about which colleges we thought about going to. Life was good. 

Now, the song has carried itself with me. When I heard the song again with my boyfriend in the car, I felt as if I was punched in the stomach. When Joy sings about his partner’s “mess being his,” he means that in a relationship, both of them share one person’s anxieties and troubles. The lyrics, “Bring me to your house, and tell me, ‘sorry for the mess,’ hey I don’t mind,” shows that when his partner opens up (takes him to their house) and reveals that they have a lot to work through and deal with, Joy is willing to stick with them and take on the mess throughout the relationship. What a song. 

“Junior Varsity” by Dayglow 

“Junior Varsity” always reminds me of the time when I was graduating high school, which is what I’m pretty sure the song was written about. The lyrics, “can you feel that change coming around?” followed by a high school band instrumental definitely adds to the theme as well. 

I listened to “Junior Varsity” endless times as I was starting my transition into college — as I packed up my room that I’ve made so many memories in, as I got rid of some old clothes and old photos, as I flew on the plane to Illinois, and when I was decorating my dorm. “Junior Varisty” was always with me every step of the way. 

But now as I transition into my senior year of college, I know that the next step into a real-world job or graduate school will be a major change. I’ll be leaving behind a major part of my life, I’ll be leaving behind all of the parties, the roommate talks, the failed talking stages, and slow Sunday mornings. I’ll be leaving behind the all-nighters with friends at the library, the Starbucks study dates, the office hours with my favorite professors, and the hungover brunches after crashing on my friend’s couch. But, no matter the change, “Junior Varsity” and its lyrics seem to keep up. 

“Take it Easy” by The Eagles 

A timeless classic. One of my favorite songs ever. Although the message hasn’t changed, the meaning has. When I was in 7th grade, I had to tell myself to “take it easy” over an algebra test. Now, I have to tell myself to “take it easy” when I present my research at an academic conference as the only undergraduate student from my university. Same thing, same motto.

I feel like I write about songs a lot. But, music has lots and lots of power, and some may argue that it even has more than most mediums. Music has the power to bring awareness, create a social movement, time travel, and create emotion. Music is a form of communication and a powerful one at that. Its lyrics and composition should be analyzed to the finest. 

Kaylee Sugimoto

Illinois State '24

Hi there, I’m Kaylee! I was born in California but raised in Portland, Oregon. I'm a retired Division 1 athlete, and now study journalism and psychology at ISU. If I'm not on campus, I'm probably on a mountain or somewhere without service in the desert. So don't text, I mean it.