Right now many stalwart late-period teenagers and twenty-somethings are preparing to turn off the Macklemore, exchange the summer brotank for the more presentable polo (or the oxford, if they are feeling particularly enterprising) and return to the world of academia. Those of you returning for a second or third (or seventh) year can disregard this article and continue on to StumbleUpon; this isn’t about you. This is about the young, impressionable incoming freshmen still wet behind the ears and operating under the misconception that titles like “prom queen,” “valedictorian” and “Evil Dead 2 appreciation club president” are going to mean anything in three months (actually, that last one might be useful if you find yourself in the right group of people). There are thousands of books and articles floating about to provide various forms of advice for starting college, and really nothing can adequately prepare a person for dealing with such complex issues as roommate difficulties, intra-dorm coupling or how to go about getting a decent meal at the dining halls, so a lot of it has to be learned via trial and error.
However, you can get a leg up on the social competition by listening to the “right” music. You will soon be stunned to discover that, suddenly, Lil Wayne and Panic! At The Disco are, in fact, music to be embarrassed by. Now the guy who once unashamedly advertised his affinity for Mumford & Sons is listening to “real” music that you’ve never even heard of and you are left hopelessly in his wake, cursing the gods for not introducing you to Joanna Newsom sooner and wondering if there’s anything you can do to make up for your wrongdoings. So as to avoid the above scenario, here are five albums (among many, many others) to become acquainted with before starting college. Because “indie cred” is about to become very, very important.