Binghamton University has had all sorts of talented alumni in its 75 years of operation. There have been all sorts of actors, comedians, inventors and many more successful BU graduates, but there have also been plenty of great musicians! Here is a playlist to check out some of the best music that BU alumni have to offer.
“UnSung Hero” by Julia Fordham & Paul Reiser
“UnSung Hero” is a collaboration between the British singer-songwriter Julia Fordham and BU alumnus, actor and musician (among many other things) Paul Reiser, ‘77. It was featured on a full-length collaborative album between the two, titled “Unusual Suspects.” “UnSung Hero” is an anthemic track dedicated to troops serving overseas, where the two display their impressive vocal ranges over a slowly building instrumental that has you feeling like you’re singing along at a concert by the time the song reaches its climax.
“Teen Age Riot” by Sonic Youth
Lee Ranaldo is another BU graduate who went on to have a successful music career. After graduating in 1978, he formed the band Sonic Youth in the 1980s in New York City. “Teen Age Riot” is the intro to their 1988 album “Daydream Nation,” the first Sonic Youth album to really gain mainstream attention. “Teen Age Riot” is a seven-minute epic, with a strange, almost nonsensical intro that transitions into a more traditional yet impressive rock song, highlighting Ranaldo’s impressive guitar skills all the way throughout.
“Ode to the Road” by Dena DeRose
Dena DeRose is not only a BU alumna, she also grew up right here in the city of Binghamton! She was originally just a pianist, but due to medical issues she had to temporarily stop playing and started singing instead. Now, well into her career and thanks to surgeries, she is able to do both again and the result is wonderful. “Ode to the Road” is taken from her most recent release of the same name, and is a jazzy, airy tune about how music school won’t be enough to teach someone to make good music. The “road” is life, a “treadmill of sound” as she describes it, and while the journey through life may be rough and painful, your experience will only help you get better at what you do. Complemented by excellent piano work, “Ode to the Road” will have you feeling as if you’re sitting right in a hotel lounge in a 1950s movie, ordering a drink.
“The Hat” by Ingrid Michaelson
“I knitted you a hat all blue and gold/To keep your ears warm from the Binghamton cold” begins “The Hat,” a song by BU alumna Ingrid Michaelson, ‘01, written about her time in Binghamton! The song is a wintery, holiday tune about a first romance — that happens to take place right here at this very University, not to brag. While tracks about first relationships usually take the heartbroken angle, this folk inspired tune is more reflective, happy that it happened at all as opposed to crushed that it’s over. “The Hat” is a cathartic listen for anyone who might also be reminiscing about days gone by.