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What Are You Listening To?

If you have headphones in, you want to be left alone. Since the dawn of time, this has been an eternal and indelible rule of society. This month, we endeavored to break this custom. Taking a gander at the hordes of students speed-walking across campus, one struggles to find students without headphones, AirPods, or maybe even the occasional wired earbuds (if you're feeling retro). But just what music is infiltrating Georgetownians' eardrums? As the TikTok trend seeks to answer: "what are you listening to?"

Photo Credits: Tina Solki

We began our search meandering across Healy Lawn—the swarming nexus of Georgetown’s campus. We laid our eyes on a nondescript man—the kind found at the front of your Microeconomics lecture watching weightlifting Instagram reels—tastefully clad in a gray Georgetown hoodie and blue skinny jeans. Upon hearing our question, he proudly whipped out his shattered iPhone 11, brandishing his phone inches away from our faces. Our eyes were met with a familiar orange square and the title “I Love Kanye” displayed across his screen. “Kanye West?” Zoha asked inquisitively. “Ye,” the man firmly corrected. "Oh, okay. Thanks I guess," Ariana said, starting to walk away, when he aggressively yelled "Wait!" In the time it took us to turn around, he had somehow acquired a whiteboard and Expo markers, with the words “Why You Must Separate the Art from the Artist" emblazoned across the top. Before we knew it, we were subjected to a 3-hour seminar in a windowless ICC classroom (neither of us can remember how we got there) about how one could still ethically listen to Kanye West, and, actually, he isn't so bad, and, remember when everyone was stigmatizing his mental illness last year? That's fucked up.

As the sun set outside the ICC, we spied our next potential target: a young man, 5’ 8”, donning a green-patterned grandfather sweater and gray corduroys. In his right hand, a Moleskin notebook with what appeared to be a quill; in his left hand, a dirty chai from the Corp. A canvas tote bag flung across his narrow, fragile shoulder. Each leaf beneath his Adidas Samba shoe fawned as he graced them with his steps. As the wind tickled his curly brown hair, he spotted us standing idly on the sidewalk. We felt sheepish as he approached. His air of sang-froid and unbridled swagger was almost intimidating. “What am I listening to?” he asked before we could even open our mouths. “‘Maoist Daydream’ by Quan Tran Ran and the Underground Band. They’re like hyperpop meets British post-punk rock. One of my favorites.” “...Oh!” Ariana responded, a bit confused. “I like your shoes,” she added in an attempt to assuage the awkward silence. “Haha, yeah, a lot of girls tell me I was written by a woman,” he replied. Ariana nodded slowly. Zoha asked him for his snap shortly after.

Our evening was wrought with more zany characters and wacky personalities. A professor jamming out to Demi Lovato, another guy who hit the whip three (3) times in the middle of Red Square with no music on, and a small village-worth of Taylor Swift listeners. One favorite was a man exiting Yates explaining how he’s been on a classical music kick, only to reveal that he’s really just been listening to the La La Land soundtrack. Just as we waved goodbye to our sixty-five and a halfthed Taylor Swift listener of the day, our night took a harrowing turn. Understandably, not everyone is so amicable to random strangers walking up and asking them personal questions. As we were strolling near Hariri, we approached a man, around 5' 9" (although he would probably say "6 foot'' if you asked), with blonde hair and a full Armani suit, complete with an old pair of Sperry boat shoes. Walking determinedly along, Zoha casually tried to get his attention. However, mistaking her for a GUSA candidate attempting to campaign, he screamed "NO!" He punched Zoha in the stomach, NFL spin moved around her crumpled, screaming body, and broke into a dead run, stopping only long enough to jump spider-monkey style onto the back of the nearest football scooterer, never to be seen again. No one said our job was going to be easy.

Acclaimed psychoanalyst and fellow mommy-lover Sigmund Freud once said, “sometimes a cigar is just a cigar.” Before this challenge, we felt we had a pretty good feel for what the kids were bumping these days. However, we came to find out that in the case of Georgetown students, the cigar in question might be closer to a lush ice Puff Bar.

P.S. Can someone please call GERMS, Zoha isn't moving.


Zoha Khan is a freshman in the College listening to the instrumental of Playboi Carti’s “Vamp Anthem.”

Ariana Hameed is a freshman in the College listening to Mick Jagger's Heavy Breathing.


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