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Arts Vanity: Top 5 Crimson Anthems

By Zennie L. Wey
By Trevor J. Levin, Crimson Staff Writer

Folks, my two-year tenure as a Crimson Arts exec is coming to a close. Somewhere along the line, I stopped being the board’s Boy Wonder and started being so old that I found myself on the deliberating side of the Crimson’s Turkey Shoot. During those long nights of discussion about the future of this prestigious organization, it became clear that The Crimson needed a way to make the “fringe boards”—which I believe means those not named “Arts” or “Editorial”—feel part of an integrated whole. As the outgoing music exec, I thought I might best contribute by suggesting the songs most fit to serve as building-wide anthems. I hope at least one of these makes a news exec finally feel at home at 14 Plympton Street.

5. Fleetwood Mac, “Second Hand News”

“Second Hand News” is actually the modus operandi of most college newspapers. Not The Crimson, we bring you the raw, breaking stuff. But this gem, which kicks off Fleetwood Mac’s 1977 masterpiece “Rumours,” doesn’t just have “news” in the title. Its bittersweet blend of heartbreaking lyrics and irrepressible melody make it a perfect fit for an organization with which every single member has a love-hate relationship.

4. Fleetwood Mac, Everything Else on “Rumours”

…That being said, every other track on “Rumours” is even better. All Harvard students can relate to Stevie Nicks’s reflections on lost love, and not just because we’ve given up on all of our own “Dreams.” No matter how many times a Crimson exec might tell himself he’s “Never Going Back Again,” this publication will somehow bring him back indeed to the newsroom. He will never break “The Chain.”

3. ABBA, “Dancing Queen”

What better way to promote inter-board collaboration than “Dancing Queen”? As an ode to dance, that most athletic of art forms, it celebrates the unlikely but flourishing Arts-Sports Alliance. Plus, we play it at literally every Crimson party already, so transition costs, like the lights, are low.

2. Styx, “Come Sail Away”

Speaking of inter-board collaboration, who could forget the Editorial Board’s decision to run a piece entirely about music (which is an Art) with the thesis that more people should listen to “Come Sail Away,” especially at parties? I remain unconvinced of the song’s merits, but I do know that the Ed board is never wrong. And let’s face it—this is now the song most identified with The Crimson. That’s right: After my year as music exec, the “Come Sail Away” piece is by far the most widely read music-related article on So, “Come Sail Away” is who we are, plain and simple. Let’s own every power chord of this arena-rock monstrosity.

1. Smash Mouth, “All Star”

According to TVTropes, the producers of the monumental 2001 film “Shrek” originally intended only to use “All Star” in the title sequence as a placeholder but never found another song. It’s difficult now to imagine a world without “Shrek” and its ska kickoff. Likewise, many Crimson editors (all evidence anecdotal and autobiographical) comped freshman year out of curiosity, but as their other extracurriculars fell away (or cut them), The Crimson became, accidentally, their Thing. Then, the years started coming, and they didn’t stop coming. For better or worse—and why not say better?—our time at Harvard would never be the same. Also, most of Crimson Arts’ institutional memory is encyclopedic Shrek trivia. If I have any kind of legacy in these hallowed halls, every board will have a Shrek exec. A Shrexec or Shrexpert, if you will. And they will all sing “All Star” in harmony.

—Trevor J. Levin is the outgoing music exec, comp director, Shrexpert, and according to testimonials (available upon request), “soul of the Arts Board.” He is studying abroad for at least the next semester, depending on when The Crimson’s water fountain gets fixed, but until his return, he can be reached at

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