Songs and sounds of Chicago


Eva Epley

Iconic Chicago music landmarks such as the Riviera Theater add to the musical culture of the city. Some of these theaters have helped launch Chicago musicians to international stardom.

Chicago, a city known for its music, filling its streets with a variety of songs and sounds. These sounds remind residents of iconic landmarks, streets and create unique feelings of living in Chicago. They have also inspired musicians to compose odes to the city’s culture. DePaul students are surrounded by the sounds of the city and have unique experiences to attest to that. Read below about the songs, albums, and artists that makes DePaul’s students prideful and nostalgic for the city. 

What music reminds you of Chicago?

Lux Demoss: Kanye’s Graduation album, specifically the song Homecoming.

Daniel Kennedy: The entire Illinois album by Sufjan Stevens, specifically the Song Chicago

Catherine Callen: Holding Roses by Twin Peaks

Sarah Hoyt: Come on feel the Illinoise by Sufjan Stevens and September Song by Agnes Obel

Aiden Amador: We Can’t Be Stopped by the Geto Boys

Phoenix Moses: 14th Street by Rufas Wainwright

Grace O’Grady: Peace Frogs by The Doors

Peyton Ludtke: Campus by Vampire Weekend

Why does it remind you of Chicago?

Catherine Callen, a freshman at DePaul, studies as she listens to her classic Chicago playlist in the quad. “Holding Roses” by Twin Peaks is Callen’s go-to Chicago tune in the autumn months. Twin Peaks is an Indie Rock band from Chicago born in 2010. (Eva Epley)

Demoss: “’My name would help light up the Chicago skyline’ Graduation focuses on Kanye
breaking out in the music industry and calls back to his times in Chicago during his youth. He shows his love for the city, even after he left.

It reminds me of Chicago because I listened to Graduation throughout high school and basically
every day senior year. The lyrics made me think of graduating and going off to college in Chicago.
The music also made me feel hopeful about the city and I could feel how much love people had for it and passion by listening to this music.

This also makes me think about the different parts of Chicago and how different the neighbor-
hoods are. West raps about where he lives with lyrics relating to drug deals, shooting, gangs, and violence but paints a different picture of downtown.”

Kennedy: Not only is it about Chicago and the
state of Illinois but it captures the quirky character of the state through its songs.

Callen: Because it sounds like fall and when I think of Chicago I think of fall. I talk about sadness but then it also talks about happiness and its such a juxtaposition of how I feel. I’m either really happy or really sad and it relates to that.

Hoyt: I like the mood and the feeling of the song; it’s very homey. When I first started listening to it I was obsessed with it. And now that I’ve kind of rediscovered it in Chicago, it makes Chicago feel more like home.

Amador: You can hear trinkets of the city behind in the song. You can hear train sounds, police. I think, I don’t know little bits and pieces of urban life in songs remind me of the city. Definitely a good find.

Moses: It’s got a city vibe to it. I like listening to it in the city.

O’Grady: It talks about Chicago and its groovy. The doors have such a unique sound. When I’m walking to class I get pumped up.

Ludtke: I go to school here so Campus.