For University students who enjoy relaxing and listening to music, a new club promises not to disappoint. WesTunes, a group started by Daniel Esposito ’17, held its first meeting in the Nicholson (Nics) lounge on Tuesday, Nov. 5.
The group is dedicated to listening to full albums of music, especially on vinyl records if possible, in order to fully appreciate the art. As of right now, WesTunes will meet every Tuesday at 8 p.m. in the Nics Lounge, though the meeting time and location may change.
“When I got to Wesleyan, someone told me about the Film Series and how they promise to ‘never show the same film twice’ in four years,” Esposito said. “I thought that was a really cool idea, but I’m not a huge film person. On the other hand, I really enjoy listening to albums, and I thought that naturally there must be a sort of ‘series’ for recorded music. I couldn’t find anything like that, so I decided to start WesTunes.”
Esposito chose to kick the club off by listening to Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band by the Beatles. At least two major publications have ranked this classic as the greatest album ever. Esposito believed it was a perfect starting point for his new group.
“Sgt. Pepper’s is in many ways the perfect album to start with,” Esposito said. “Whether or not you agree that it is the greatest album of all time, it definitely works well as an example of the album as a coherent piece of art. Every song on the album fits together stylistically, and it often shifts from cheerful (the title track, “When I’m Sixty-Four,” “With a Little Help from my Friends”) to eerie (“A Day in the Life,” “She’s Leaving Home”) to downright trippy (“Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds,” “Within You Without You”). What better way to start?”
The group provides a low-key way to relax and listen to music. Many of the attendees at the first meeting enjoyed the albums while working on homework or chatting with friends.
“I am very excited to get to listen to more albums and learn more about different albums and artists,” said Melissa McKee ’17. “I hope more people take advantage of this opportunity to listen to music, do homework, and relax after a long day of classes.”
Rachel Day ’16 explained that she appreciates having a weekly scheduled time to listen to a full album at WesTunes meetings.
“It’s nice to have time blocked out to sit down and listen to a full album,” Day said. “It’s hard to make time for that sometimes, so it’s good to have it scheduled in.”
Listening to albums in their entirety is a new experience for many people in the age of MP3 downloads, which allow people to separate individual songs from the full album. As WesTunes members enjoy listening to different genres of music, Esposito hopes that the group will also enjoy and appreciate the unique artistry that goes into creating an album even if it is music to which the members don’t typically listen.
“I want to allow people to share in an appreciation for music, particularly albums,” Esposito said. “Albums are pieces of artwork, just like films or paintings. WesTunes is bound to expose people to music that they’ve never heard before, and that is very important because not everyone has the patience to sit down and hear an entire jazz album, for instance, if they do not generally listen to jazz.”
Aside from being exposed to other genres, members can also develop an appreciation for older music. With its focus on vinyls, the group has the potential to explore older music, something that McKee finds exciting.
“I think it is a good way to connect with musical history,” McKee said. “It is also not often that one gets the chance to listen to music on vinyl anymore.”
WesTunes is open to playing any genre of music; the only rule is that the group will not play “Greatest Hits” albums or compilations. To make suggestions to the group, students can email firstname.lastname@example.org. Voting will then be conducted on OrgSync, allowing group members to decide which album they will listen to at the next meeting.
“I will know that WesTunes is a success if listeners keep coming back to hear albums regardless of the artist or genre,” Esposito said. “That would prove to me that people are really interested in appreciating the music and not simply hearing their favorite band for the 20th time.”