by - 3:00 PM

Art work by Kanra Khan from The Lunar Descent
When I was nine years old a Dutch rap formation called De Jeugd Van Tegenwoordig scored their first gigantic hit in my country. Their name is the Dutch equivalent of 'kids these days', which is funny to me because their main audience seemed to be kids back then. I wasn't one of the many kids who liked them though. You see, one night their song 'Watskeburt' was so firmly stuck in my head that I didn't sleep all night. I was angry and unforgiving. Nine-year-old me vowed never to like a song by De Jeugd Van Tegenwoordig ever again.
Then 2010 happened. I was 14 years old and found myself singing along with my friends to a song called 'Sterrenstof' (Dutch for 'stardust') by... De Jeugd Van Tegenwoordig. No matter how hard I tried, I could not hate this song. This caused quite some concern, but the follow-up was crap and I never spared the group a thought again.

Fast forward to 2017. I hadn't heard a full song by the group I loved to hate in years when I broke down crying, panicking and hyperventilating because I saw no way I could finish the most important college assignment of my life on time. As I pulled myself together on that morning in April, Sterrenstof came on the radio. I smiled, because it made me think of the time one of my classmates sang it in 9th grade physics class and completely screwed the lyrics up. The song brought so many happy memories back that I managed to sit back on my chair and write five full pages before the next wave of panic came. From that day on I put the song on repeat every single time I worked on this assignment that'd bring me a whole lot closer to being a certified teacher. Sterrenstof began to turn into something more than just a happy high school memory.

The first hours of writing were awkward. Even though the song brought back six-year-old memories that were all good, the group reminded me of my ex-boyfriend, who likes them way too much. I felt bad for listening to a song by one of 'his' artists. Until I remembered he hated this song. I felt better then. The song didn't just calm me down, it helped me get over him a little more. Yes, I was enjoying something he'd liked, but on my terms. It felt better and better to slam my keyboard relentlessly to the beat of Sterrenstof. It was then that I remembered I'd watched a documentary on these guys with my ex-boyfriend (hey, we all do stupid things for love) and that he'd told me one of these rappers, Willie Wartaal, was a certified high school teacher. That motivated me to no end. If a guy who had written songs about, and I kid you not, schnitzels of all things could become a high school teacher, I saw no reason why I couldn't become one. I worked and worked and worked, listening to Sterrenstof every single time.

As the days went by and my panic became more intense I noticed I needed more distraction than just the music. Also, Spotify was being a pain in the ass, so I turned to YouTube to get my writing jam. I'd seen the video clip for Sterrenstof about once or twice when I was in high school, but didn't really remember it. Half a minute in I was smiling from ear to ear for the first time since December. It's not a very special video, just the four guys from De Jeugd Van Tegenwoordig being goofy on a hill and very awkwardly dancing, but it struck a cord with me. Okay, they have some weird ass songs that seriously pissed me off when I was a kid, but they were living my dream: they clearly had fun doing what they loved for a living with people they liked. It only motivated me even more to work hard on my assignment so that one day I could live that life too.

It was early May when I was rapping out loud in my room; rapping out loud in Dutch, something I'd sworn I'd never do, not even to save my own life. But I did it, every time I felt the panic creeping up on me. Every time I felt like my assignment was going to be shitty, I turned the volume up. Every time I felt tears stinging behind my eyes, I danced around the room in my own weird way. And when it all became too much, I'd rap. Softly at first, then louder and louder, even though I messed the lyrics up worse than my classmate from 9th grade physics. Eventually I looked them up and finally discovered that a song I'd seen as innocent was actually most probably about LSD. I couldn't care less. The song made me feel better and also had parts about overcoming addiction and making it on your own, which inspired me. And to be honest, yelling 'DAN BEN IK LOESOE IN DE SKY MET DIAMONDS ON MY NECK BITCH DIAMONDS ON MY NECK' made me feel better than I'd felt in months. I was sure I'd pass my assignment, assessment and kick ass in senior year, thanks to De Jeugd Van Tegenwoordig.

Then things changed. I'd worked my ass off and had simultaneously learned the lyrics to one of the most misheard song lyrics in Dutch history when college just... well... screwed me over. Apparently I couldn't do what Willie Wartaal could, because college made it impossible for me to hand the assignment in and apply for assessment on time. I dropped out, but that's a different story (which you can read in this post). For what felt like the millionth time in 2017 I spent my days crying, thinking I was a complete failure. I didn't listen to any music, shut myself off from all of it.
I think I stopped crying after a day or three. I realized I'd made the right decisionby dropping out. I felt like a weight had been lifted, like I could breathe again. That's when I also played music again. The first song I listened to after dropping out of college was, of course, Sterrenstof.

It's now been well over two months since that first breakdown when Sterrenstof came on the radio. Since then the song has calmed me down numerous times, has prevented at least eight panic attacks and kept me from crying on a daily basis. It's the combination of happy high school memories, upbeat music and a video clip that reminds me of my goals in life that makes this song so powerful to me.
I have hated De Jeugd Van Tegenwoordig, resented them with every cell in my body. Not anymore. Sterrenstof gets completely stuck in your head once you've listened to it, but I don't mind. I'm thankful for that now. If it weren't for De Jeugd Van Tegenwoordig, I would have given up hope a long time ago.

x Envy

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10 Fellow Ramblers

  1. Hey! That's great that the song was able to help you and develop new meaning. I know I'll have phases where I listen to a song constantly, and that song starts to develop an emotional association with that time. Whenever I hear them afterward, it's always a reminder. I'm sorry things were so rough for you, but music and the video were there. xx

    Breanna Catharina

    1. It hasn't been a fun year for me so far, but this song has gotten me through most of it. I just love how music can instantly change your mood or take you back in time :)

  2. It's absolutely amazing how so many memories and emotions can get wrapped up into your memory of a song. I'm glad this went from a song by a band you found irritating to one that empowered you to push through some work and then deal with your feelings about dropping out. I hope this song always reminds you of how amazing a journey you're on and how far you've come in living the life you want ❤️❤️


    1. Music is magic, almost like a time machine. I had no idea this song could help me so much in one of the most difficult periods of my life. I wonder how I'll look back on it in a couple of years :)

  3. It's so much fun to look back on music from our past, because I feel like it tells us a lot about who we were at the time, and comes to represent that stage in our lives!

    Britt |

    1. Definitely! In this case it shows me how much I've changed. This was so insignificant when I was in high school, but now the song means the world to me

  4. I love the originality of this post; it's the same for me and the song 'Left Outside Alone' by Anastacia. I disliked it so much when I was about ten or eleven, but now it's a favourite-and so calming. Keep up the good work x

    1. Thanks Lydia! After I read your comment I had that song stuck in my head for hours, hahaha.


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