DUB’s top list

UU students and staff share their favourite pop songs

My Songs
Foto: 123rf
Soul II Soul

Henk Kummeling, Utrecht University’s Rector Magnificus
got media attention after the University announced it was going to examine its own history of slavery and after the UU’s considerations with regards to anonymized examination

Best song:
Soul II Soul:  Get A Life

Why does this song appeal to you so much?
"It's a great mix of rhythms, instruments, melodies and different singing voices.  But the most amazing thing about this song is that a chaotic choir of 5 and 6-year-old children were able to sing so catchily about one of the most fundamental human questions: "What's the meaning of life?" This song always makes me very happy. For me, it is a perfect remedy for bleak times."



Renate Bosman, student Interdisciplinary Social Science
was nominated for the student prize for platform Studying Without Limitations and is a student member of the Interpersonal Integrity committee

Best song:
Rondé : All That Was Left

Why does this song appeal to you so much?
"The holidays are a celebration for many people, but for some, this can be a lonely or difficult time. Most people celebrate the holidays with their loved ones, but that is not possible for everyone even they if they would have wanted to. I, myself, have also lost people I love, people with whom I would have liked to celebrate Christmas because they are dear to me. To me, this song shows what it feels like to lose someone. Although the song addresses the loneliness that comes with loss, it also shows me that I am definitely not the only one who is missing somebody."


Rolling Stones

Beatrice de Graaf, hoogleraar Internationale en politieke geschiedenis
was featured on many talk shows about conflict situations such as the current war in Ukraine

Best song:
Rolling Stones: Paint It, Black

Why does this song appeal to you so much?
"I was astonished when I first heard Paint it black. I already owned a cassette recorder, but not a lot of cassette tapes. At home we hardly watched any TV, but when I was 12 or so I was suddenly allowed to watch Tour of Duty with my father, who was fascinated by the history of the war in Vietnam. Paint it black was the program’s opening tune. Together with those war images, that show opened up a whole new world for me. Action, war, but also the pain and darkness those wars bring: 'no colors anymore, I want them to turn black'. That really stuck with me, also during my war, conflict and terrorism studies. It was also my introduction to rock music. That didn’t really do wonders for me in social situations, I think I was still in primary school and the other children still listened to the Dolly Dots and watched Fame.  I only wanted to hear the Rolling Stones and bands like The Doors and see war series. The interesting thing is that the lyrics can also be interpreted as a song about heartbreak, but for me it is inextricably linked to the grief and loss casued by war and violence. It therefore remains achingly beautiful, and unfortunately still topical."


Davey Arthur

Anneloes Krul, student Sociology
became the successor of Merel Dekker as student assessor of the Executive Board this summer

Best song:
Davey Arthur and the Fureys: Green Fields of France

Why does this song appeal to you so much?
"This was one of my father's favorite songs. I love Irish music a lot myself, and this song has beautiful lyrics about the incredibly pointless waste of human lives in war. It has been almost a year since Russia attacked Ukraine and war in Europe became a reality. But of course, for years there have been terrible human rights violations all over the world, and sometimes you run the risk of forgetting that these are real people, not statistics. I often listen to it because it puts such a  beautiful, small face to all the suffering. Maybe not a very happy note, but especially around the holidays it is good to be grateful for what we have, and to reflect on how the world can become a little better for everyone, and how we can help achieve that."


Bag Raiders

Charisma Hehakaya, PhD candidate department Imaging & Oncology
is the founder of the fund for first-generation students

Best song:
Bag Raiders: Shooting stars

Why does this song appeal to you so much?
"The melody, the rhythm and the lyrics of the song are very good. The song is about a relationship (the shooting star) that is beautiful and precious, but also difficult to manage because it moves so fast. For me, it evokes the thought that we should enjoy all the small and big moments in daily life, mainly because, and this may sound like a cliché, life moves way too quickly. I often put it on when I’m celebrating something or have to do something important.”



Corné Pieterse, professor Plant-Microbe Interactions 
was awarded one of this year’s Spinoza Prizes

Best song:
Blof & Fernando Lameirinhas: Omhels me/Abraça me

Why does this song appeal to you so much?
"This is one of the best songs ever: "Embrace. It has a beautiful fusion of music and lyrics, two different cultures coming together beautifully. In my research group, over ten cultures merge together every day. Not only does that result in beautiful science, but is also socially enriching for everyone. I listened to it a lot last year in the time after both my parents passed away in quick succession. Beautiful memory."


Ardavan Hatimi

Leonie van Bruggen, senior staffmember Radiology bij Veterinayry Medicine
was this year campuscolumnist DUB

Best song:
Ardavan Hatami : Christmas Song

Why does this song appeal to you so much? 
"My new, Iranian colleague recommended the song to me. At this time of year, I’m thinking about the people that are living through trying times, due to war and conflict situations. My colleague thinks this song is very beautiful. I would like to add it to the playlist. A tune that is well known across the globe, but sung in Iranian."



Elena D’Onofrio, student Media & Culture
wrote about Italian elections as an intern for DUB          

Best song:
Abba: Slipping Through My Fingers

Why does this song appeal to you so much?
"I particularly like this song because it reminds me of my little sister's 18th birthday party, where I realized that she was truly growing up and becoming her own person. The lyrics of the song mirror those emotions, and listening to it brings back a bittersweet memory, but one that I cherish. Also, Abba just never missed! All their songs are amazing."



Rosi Braidotti, University professor
founded the Gender Studies program and retired from the university this year

Best song:
Adele: Set Fire to the Rain

Why does this song appeal to you so much?
"Because it combines vulnerability with resilience, pain with love. And above all, because it does not seek revenge, it refuses to spread negative emotions, but rather gives hope while remaining lucid about the specific predicament it celebrates. Catchy, and great to dance to, it is inspirational. I have been listening to it for years as a sort of spiritual vitamin. But I do have a special memory linked to it: a while back, I had a health issue and had to undergo some painful medical treatment. That song was the soundtrack I chose to keep me company during the long hours of treatment. For me, it became the soundscape of my recovery – a hymn of joy to life.   It is part of me now."


Brigitte Kaandorp

Willem Vos, Master's student at Art History
is a student member of the Equality, Diversity & Inclusion and was on the UU boat during Utrecht’s Pride Parade

Best song:
Brigitte Kaandorp: Zwaar Leven

Why does this song appeal to you so much?
"I think this song reflects the struggle of the average student that thinks of himself as unique. The melodramatic tone of the song reflects my thought process during exam week or a week full of deadlines. Sometimes, as a student, it’s just nic to complain about your difficult life. After all, it is so very hard... It feels like this song was written for students. That might also be due to my personality, and the fact I identify a little too well with the lyrics, melody and drama of the song."


Jim Croce

Jolanda Mulder,  front office employee
left the Administration Building to work  at the Androclus building

Best song:
Jim Croce: I got a name

Why does this song appeal to you so much? 
"Jim Croce's voice is unctuous and his lyrics are often comforting. 2022 was a year in which I bid farewell to four dear (former) colleagues: Bob, Leo, Fred and Linda. I also said goodbye to the reception and the people of the Bestuursgebouw. However, 2022 was also a new beginning: I started working at the reception of the Androclus building and the contact point. And last but not least: the birth of our two beautiful grandchildren, Joah and Josephine. So for them, Bob, Leo, Fred, Linda, Joah and Josephine; I got a name."



Tim de Winkel, PhD candidate at Media & Culture Studies
is active in the action group 0.7 and has been fighting for better teacher contracts for years

Best song:
Burial - Archangel

Why does this song appeal to you so much?
"This is from the album Untrue, one of the most important albums in electronic music, or IDM, or whatever you want to call it. And maybe it’s my favorite album ever. Opener Archangel is the reason I put the record on repeat 15 years ago. Even though it is very accessible, it will never make it into the top 2000. So here’s my way of putting it onto the UU-2000. Alternative electronic music should finally start traveling across generations. In a Pitchfork review, Burial was called the Joy Division of the dubstep generation. I thought that was a nice description. Untrue is London based, and is about borders, the city and hope, and of course about the club scene and growing up and stuff. It's uncompromising, as early dubstep used to be, solitary, but warm and extremely emotive. It's like getting glimpses of the nightlife scene from the bus or from an alleyway. Just the dull beat, cold wind, and some ambient noise. But when the door opens, you get hit with a flurry of smoke, music and warm air." 



Chiara Stam, student Media & Culture
was named the University’s best member of the university council by Vidius in 2022

Best song:

Why does this song appeal to you so much?
“It's a very beautiful and soft song. It tells the story of a girl who has an unrequited crush on her best friend. Although I usually think these kinds of songs a bit too saccharine, I find this one very sincere. I always cry a little when I hear it. I already knew DODIE, but I didn't listen to her that much. Two and a half years ago a girl played this for me, that was my first private contact with her. I fell in love with this song and we kept talking via WhatsApp. This song always reminds me of her. And guess what, that girl is my girlfriend now."


James Blake

Annemarijn Oudejans, Master'student Sociology
was elected to the City Council this spring for the Student & Starter party

Best song:
James Blake: Godspeed

Why does this song appeal to you so much? 
"The original was sung by Frank Ocean, James Blake co-wrote this song and later covered it. I think this is one of the best songs because both the music, lyrics and vocals are very beautiful. The music consists of a warm and subtle piano melody. This makes the song very easy to listen to and at the same time ensures that you get caught up in it. The title, "Godspeed", means that you wish someone good luck in the journey to come. The lyrics are about letting go of a person but still wishing them well. Out of sight but not out of mind. For me, this song is not only about a person who has left, but also about memories from the past. I don't recall a specific memory when listening to this song, but it does make me look back gratefully on a lot memories or think about people that I no longer have around me. A nice moment of reflection at the end of the year. And despite the heavier meaning, it’s a heartwarming song. We can certainly use that with the rising energy bill ;)."


Dire Straits

Floris van den Berg, Enviromental philosopher
was in the news this year about Woke, and his nude photography project in the Academy Building

Best song:
Dire Straits: Telegraph Road

Why does this song appeal to you so much?
"As a teenager, I had never heard a song that lasted this long (14:18 minutes). The song was different from anything I had heard anyway, but that was probably due to my limited musical experience. I loved it and bought the album 'Love over gold' with 'Telegraph Road' as the opening song as my first CD (40 guilders at the time, a huge amount). However, we did not have a CD player in the house. I then asked someone to record the music on cassette tape. We drove to Spain that summer I was looking forward to listening to it on the way. Unfortunately, that did not happen, because my parents thought it was awful. It was the first time that I was totally captivated by music. It was my discovery of symphonic rock with long guitar solos but also the piano. The big difference in tempo and volume. As an environmental philosopher, I am concerned with the human-environmental relationship and how humans and nature can live harmoniously together. Telegraph Road encourages critical reflection about this issue. The song gives a lot of opportunity to think because there are long pieces of music in it without lyrics."


Kate Bush

Dan Hassler-Forest, assistent professor  Media & Culture
comments on popular culture in Dutch media.

Best song:
Kate Bush: Running Up That Hill (A Deal With God)

Why does this song appeal to you so much?
"The song is so good - firstly because it creates a sonic landscape that is utterly unique: the rhythms and harmony of the track's opening bars always captivate me immediately because they sound like you are entering another world. The percussion feels like an alien heartbeat, while the many layers of synthesizer and other instruments have such rich textures that it's hard to even figure out what instruments are producing the sounds! And then of course there is Kate Bush's voice that is both full-sounding and ethereal in how it floats above the instrumentation. Finally, the lyric deals with the theme of power between men and women, looking fora connection that runs deeper than seems possible. The "deal with god" that the singer wishes for is to be able to swap places with her (male) partner, so each can feel what it's like to be in the other's shoes. This is such a universal desire, yet at the same time it reflects how the woman usually doesn't have the same degree of power as the man, and therefore her wish is also one for more equality. The album Hounds of Love, on which this is the opening track, came out when I was a teenager who was getting into more alternative pop music. That whole album transformed my ideas about what was possible in popular music, and it's been a song that I have returned to again and again over the years. These memories made it even more extraordinary to see the song suddenly reach the top of the charts again among a new generation this year, after its memorable use in the streaming series Stranger Things. Its use in the show was perfect, because it for the character Max, listening to the song opened up a world inside her mind that gave her a 'safe space' from the world outside, and that comforted her in moments of crisis. This directly reflects my own experience with the song, as something that is both searching for answers and reassuring in moments of doubt." 


David Bowie

Kees van den Bos, professor Social Psychology and Empirical Law
regulary comments in the media on political developments

Best song:
David Bowie: Heroes

Why does this song appeal to you so much?
"This song is the best because of the great music that goes together with beautiful lyrics that also leave room for ambiguity. That enigma particularly attracts me to Bowie's music. You can also see that in the fact that the title, officially, is in brackets, so 'Heroes', not Heroes. With my very first salary at the university I bought a ticket for a performance by Bowie in Ahoy. My monthly salary as a student assistant was immediately exhausted, but I quickly realized during the concert: 'if you can do such cool work at the university and can also visit these kinds of beautiful concerts, then that is a very nice life.’ I still remember that and that is also one of the reasons I usually end my lecture series in the Introduction to Social Psychology by playing this song."


Nagada Sang Dhol

Lune de Rijck, student Philosophy, Politics & Economics
is the youngest council member in the University Council and is committed to strengthening the position of non-binary people

Best song:
Nagada Sang Dohl

Why does this song appeal to you so much?
"This is a Bollywood song that I discovered through my boyfriend. This song has a great meaning, but above all it is a perfect song to dance to. Whenever I listen to this song, I think of when I heard it for the first time and immediately started dancing."


Tags: muziek