Visiting Assistant Professor of Mathematics Justin Marks has a connection to music that borders on spiritual.


Visiting Assistant Professor of Mathematics Justin Marks is one of the newest faces in the Math Department at Wesleyan, coming to Wes from Bowdoin College. Marks completed his PhD in Mathematics at Colorado State University, where he investigated concepts that I barely know how to pronounce, and certainly don’t understand anything about, including “matrix manifolds” and “hyperspectral imagery.” He’s a man of the outdoors who enjoys jogging, hiking and biking—and loves to listen to music while he explores some fresh air. The Argus asked Professor Marks for his personal playlist, which features everything from Coldplay to gospel and spiritual music.

1. Coldplay, “Fix You”

“My sister and I share fond memories of singing a duet to this single with air drums and air guitar.  The song has a hopeful tone, speaking of light that leads us home.”

2. Mutemath, “Typical”

“I have seen Mutemath three times in concert and love their energy. Great road-tripping music!  This single is especially fun, and has powerful lyrics inspiring lives and dreams that ‘break the spell of the typical.’”

3. Mutemath, “Reset”

“Instrumental track with sweet percussion. Especially fun in concert.”

4. U2, “Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For”

“One of my favorite U2 singles, primarily because I have fond memories of singing it at Gospel Choir in college. It seems to be a testimony of a search for truth and meaning, and discovering it in the hope of the ‘kingdom come’ and the one who ‘broke the bonds, loosed the chains, and carried the cross of my shame.’ This is my testimony too!”

5. Bethel Music, “Seas of Crimson”

“The entire album Synesthesia, on which this track is found, is instrumental and provides soothing, easy listening while I am lesson planning. This track has some especially nice drums.”

6. United Pursuit, “Let It Happen”

“One of my newest favorites, ‘Let It Happen’ is a declaration of the vibrant, passionate, life that Christ has made freely available to us. I enjoy the dramatic ebb and flow of the song.”

7. Hillsong United, “Oceans (Where Feet May Fail)”

“‘Oceans’ captures the call of Christ into the realms of the unknown and the impossible. Like the Apostle Peter, we are beckoned out onto the waters of faith. This is a beautiful song.”

8. Steffany Frizzell-Gretzinger, “Closer”

“‘Closer’ is a heart cry for deeper intimacy with God. It acknowledges the powerful love of God for us and responds with admiration. Fun fact #1: this song was set as my alarm for many months.”

9. Desperation Band, “Overcome”

“‘Overcome’ is an epic song of worship. It paints the grand picture of the Gospel and emphasizes the promise of overcoming the devil through Jesus and our testimony. Fun fact #2: My voice is in this song.”

10. Josh Garrels, “Farther Along”

“One of my favorite songs of all time. Incredible lyrics [and a] great melody! I appreciate the creative interweaving of scriptures through Josh’s rap-like flow. I would love to see Josh in concert one day!”

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