10 Transcendentalist Pop Songs Thoreau Would Jam Out To In The Woods By Walden Pond

10 Transcendentalist Pop Songs Thoreau Would Jam Out To In The Woods By Walden Pond

Ever wonder what kind of music Thoreau, the transcendentalist forefather himself, would listen to?
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Henry David Thoreau, an American essayist, naturalist and philosopher known for "Walden" and "Civil Disobedience," is considered to be one of the forefathers of the American Transcendentalist movement. The Transcendentalist movement started in the early 1800s to oppose the progress towards technology and piety of the era. The movement's core values were rooted in the belief of individual intuition being able to transcend a physical being to understand a greater truth, as well as the importance of nature in guiding one's journey to this greater truth.

While curating this playlist, I included motifs that Thoreau used for the structure of his experiment at Walden Pond: self-reliance, nonconformity, and nature.


1. "This Is Me" — Demi Lovato, Joe Jonas

A classic throwback song from Camp Rock, Demi Lovato and Joe Jonas showed Disney Channel fans to be unapologetically themselves. Similarly, Thoreau lived at Walden Pond for two years because he wished to "live deep and suck out all the marrow of life" for his self-contentment.

2. "Hurricane" — Misterwives

This song embodies the spirit of being true to yourself rather than to someone else's expectations. Thoreau would have appreciated the line, "We'll do this all our own way " because he believed the only way to live life was to "live deliberately."

3. "Don't Stop Believin'" — Journey

"Don't Stop Believin'" is a classic song played at every dance and party. Its message of staying true to your values and thinking for yourself embodies the Transcendentalist tenet of self-reliance. The line "Payin' anything to roll the dice/Just one more time" shows that people are too focused on extending their life quantitatively rather than qualitatively. Self-reliance helps them gain satisfaction from their life by learning more about themselves, according to Thoreau.

4. "Float" — The Neighbourhood

Although The Neighbourhood produces more alternative music, "Float" recounts the experience of being an outsider learning to trust themselves. It says, "They show you how to swim, then they throw you in the deep end/I've been learning since, but it doesn't mean I'll float" to reflect that society helps us build standards, but doesn't help us reach them. As a result, one must learn to rely on themselves to "float." Thoreau's experience with self-reliance comes from his decision to live alone, which forces him to fend for himself.

5. "It's My Life" — Bon Jovi

"It's My Life" by Bon Jovi shows the idea of non-conformity through the line: "I ain't gonna be just a face in the crowd, you're gonna hear my voice when I shout it out loud." Bon Jovi wants to be remembered on his own terms, which shows his originality and ability to move away from society's expectations of him. Similarly, Thoreau must have thought "It's My Life" when he made the decision to live at Walden Pond to learn more about himself through nature.

6. "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" — Israel Kamakawiwo'ole

"Somewhere Over the Rainbow" is a quintessential song about nature's boundless beauty. It symbolizes nature as an optimistic source of inspiration for improving oneself and society. Thoreau echoes Kamakawiwo'ole's message by stating, "A lake is the landscape's most beautiful and expressive feature. It is earth's eye; looking into which the beholder measures the depth of his own nature," in order to show how nature has enlightened him.

7. "Wings" — Little Mix

"Wings" is an anthem for nonconformity. It states, "Don't let what they say keep you up at night... No, they can't detain you 'cause wings are made to fly" to show that one should only focus on being true to themselves. Thoreau was known for strongly despising tax payments in protest against slavery. In a way, "Wings" mirrors his refusal to pay taxes because he stands firmly for his beliefs, even if it took him to jail.

8. "Colors of the Wind" — Judy Kuhn (Pocahontas)

"Colors of the Wind" from "Pocahantas" urgers people to bask in nature's beauty whether it be by "painting with all the colors of the wind" or listening to "the voices of the mountains sing." Thoreau would have enjoyed this song because it embodies his stance on observing nature's interconnectedness to alleviate society's dependence on technology.

9. "Call It What You Want" — Foster the People

Foster the People's "Call It What You Want" opposes society's norms to illustrate the importance of following your own values. By including the line, "Yeah we're locked up in ideas, we like to label everything" the band highlights society's tendency to compartmentalize people into neat labels, which Thoreau opposed.

10. "Oh No!" — Marina and the Diamonds

Marina and the Diamonds' "Oh No!" shows the importance of self-reliance: one must not depend too much on their material possessions if they wish to understand themselves and the world on a more intuitive, spiritual level. A person must look into themselves to find happiness, much like Thoreau did when he decided to live at Walden Pond.

Cover Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons

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What Your Hogwarts House Says About You

Get yourself sorted and find out where you belong in the world of witchcraft and wizardry.
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Sorting at Hogwarts is a big deal. Being sorted into a house is essentially being placed into a family while you are away from home learning about witchcraft and wizardry. Your house is made up of the people you will live with, go to classes with, play Quidditch with and everything in between. You basically spend 24/7 with them. Your Hogwarts house is your home away from home.

When you get sorted into a house, it is based on your personality traits. The people in your house are typically like-minded people who display the same characteristics as you.

When you’re a first year at Hogwarts, the minute you set foot in the castle you are swept into the Great Hall to have the ancient Sorting Hat placed on your head. This Sorting Hat decides which “family” you’ll be spending your seven years with.

For some, it is very obvious which house they will be in, due to certain personality traits they possess. For others, they may exemplify traits that fit a multitude of houses and are uncertain where they may end up.

To find out where you belong, you can take the official "Harry Potter" Sorting Hat quiz at Pottermore.com. For all you muggles out there, these are the characteristics that the houses possess and what your house says about you:

Gryffindor: The house of the brave, loyal, courageous, adventurous, daring and chivalrous. Those who stand up for others are typically Gryffindors. Brave-hearted is the most well-known Gryffindor characteristic, and Gryffindors are also known for having a lot of nerve.

Gryffindors are people who hold a multitude of qualities alongside the ones listed, making them a very well-rounded house. People who are Gryffindors are often people who could fit nicely into another house but choose to tell the sorting hat they want Gryffindor (there's that bravery). "Do what is right" is the motto Gryffindors go by.

Being a Gryffindor means that you're probably the adventurous and courageous friend, and you are usually known for doing what is right.

Ravenclaw: The house is known for their wisdom, intelligence, creativity, cleverness and knowledge. Those who value brains over brawn can be found here. Ravenclaws often tend to be quite quirky as well. "Do what is wise" is the motto they strive to follow.

Though Ravenclaws can be know-it-alls sometimes, they most likely do know what the wisest decision is.

If you are known for being the quirky friend, the smartest in the group or just great at making wise decisions, you're definitely a Ravenclaw.

Hufflepuff: This house values hard work, dedication, fair play, patience, and loyalty. Hufflepuff’s are known for being just and true. "Do what is nice" is their motto.

Hufflepuff is known as the “nice house” and believes strongly in sparing peoples feelings and being kind. This is not to say that Hufflepuffs aren't smart or courageous. Hufflepuffs just enjoy making others happy and tend to be more patient towards people.

If you ever find that you are too nice for your own good and cannot bear to hurt someone’s feelings, congratulations, you are a Hufflepuff.

Slytherin: This is the house of the cunning, prideful, resourceful, ambitious, intelligent, and determined. Slytherin's love to be in charge and crave leadership. "Do what is necessary" is the motto of this house.

Slytherin is a fairly well-rounded house, similar to the other houses. They are loyal to those that are loyal to them just as Gryffindors are and are intelligent as Ravenclaws.

Slytherin house as a whole is not evil, despite how many dark wizards come out of this house. That is merely based on the choices of those wizards (so if your friend is a Slytherin, don’t judge, it doesn’t mean they are mean people). Slytherins do, however, have a tendency to be arrogant or prideful. This is most likely due to the fact that everyone in Slytherin is exceedingly proud to be there.

What Hogwarts house you’re in says a lot about the person you are, the traits you possess and how you may act in some situations. But in the end, your house is really just your home that is always there for you. Always.


Cover Image Credit: Warner Bros Pictures

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Things To Do When You're So Bored All You Want To Do Is Cry

Do something artsy

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Everyone has times when they have nothing to do and boredom strikes way too hard. From experience, I have found some top things to do when you literally have nothing else to do!

1. Clean

Not super fun, but will keep you busy.

2. Netflix

Find a new show to binge watch. Watched them all? Rewatch something you haven't seen in a while!

3. Shopping

Retail therapy can always keep you busy.

4. Make a home cooked meal

Spend some time in the kitchen and make something yummy! Even invite some friends.

5. Visit friends/ family

Pop in on some people you care about that you haven't seen in a while!

6. Write

Writing is something we all do and is a great way to express ourselves!

7. Exercise

Hit the gym or go for walk, do something to keep you nice and fit.

8. Volunteer

Go to an animal shelter, food bank, museums, or anywhere in your area that needs help.

9. Look for a job

If you're bored, maybe getting a part time job will keep you a little occupied. Plus it's extra money in your pocket.

10. Draw/ do something artsy

Even if you think you're a bad artist, drawing is something fun to do! You'll get better in time.

11. Join an Odyssey Team!

Writing articles through the Odyssey is an amazing experience and can always keep you busy!

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