The Student Newspaper of DePaul University

The DePaulia

The Student Newspaper of DePaul University

The DePaulia

The Student Newspaper of DePaul University

The DePaulia

Titanic Memorial DeJamz

Last Monday, April 15, marked the 112th anniversary of the sinking of the RMS Titanic. While I’m sure many of you, my dear readers, were not privy to this commemoration, I certainly was. For as long as I can remember, I’ve been obsessed with the Titanic. From its doomed narrative to James Cameron’s 1997 masterpiece and every piece of media about the ocean liner in between, rest assured, I've consumed it all. In honor of 112 years without that big, beautiful, completely sinkable ship, I've decided to dedicate this DeJamz to the Titanic by curating a playlist composed of songs inspired by or related to the disaster. Now, buckle your life vests and bundle up because we're embarking on uncharted waters.

“The Sinking of the Titanic: 10. Last Hymn” by Gavin Bryars

There are not enough words in the English language to summarize my love for minimalist composer Gavin Bryars's 1995 album “Bryars: The Sinking of the Titanic.” Comprised of 11 tracks, this album is inspired by the band's famous act of bravery. It carries listeners through their journey until the ship's last moments, contemplating how their music might have echoed beneath the waves after they ceased playing. The album, along with its final hymn, evokes a particularly haunting atmosphere. I would cut off a pinky toe to see this album performed live, and I am still contemplating paying $4000 to fly to Paris and back the day before graduation to make that dream a reality.

“When That Great Ship Went Down” by Woody Guthrie

I’m dropping some more Lilly Keller lore on you. Back when I attended elementary school in one of Vermont's last one-room schoolhouses, we would sing this song every year at our concerts. I honestly believe so much of my character and quirks can be attributed to being six years old and singing onstage about the sinking of the Titanic while my teacher strummed away on her guitar. Truly life-defining stuff, people!

“God Moves On The Water” by Blind Willie Johnson

One of the most lyrically haunting Titanic-inspired songs, Blind Willie Johnson’s lamenting track encapsulates the dread and drowning that defined the ship's end. Fun fact: I actually found this song while listening to the 1998 album “Titanic Songs,” which features 18 songs recorded between 1912 and 1948 that deal with you-know-what. If you’re looking for an even more obscure selection of Titanic songs, I can’t recommend the album enough.

“Nearer My God to Thee by The Titanic Orchestra

While my friends were enjoying their freshman year in person, I was rotting in my childhood bedroom, listening to this song on repeat while I completed my Zoom classes. Unfortunately, this would kick-start my ongoing trend of receiving horrific Spotify-wrapped summaries. Do you know how many times I listened to this 2:41 minute-long track? Don’t try to guess. It was over 500 times. While I obviously enjoyed this song, I must set the record straight and reprimand Cameron for having this song play while the ship sank. According to historians and titanicologists, it was likely a simple, upbeat waltz, something I can explain, but I nevertheless find tragic. 

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