Poptimism

A Time for Poptimism: ‘Night Changes,’ and So Does The Phoenix Staff

Amelia Ickes | The PhoenixMembers of The Phoenix staff recreate One Direction's "FOUR" album cover photo.
Graphic by Alec Karam “A Time for Poptimism” is A&E Editor Alec Karam’s music appreciation column.

“We’re only getting older, baby,” and graduation for Loyola’s class of 2022 is rapidly approaching.

With that comes my departure from The Phoenix. This is my last column, my last article and the final issue I’ll contribute to. 

It’s a scary time, leaving the comforting cocoon of the best student newsroom there is to embark on a post-grad life shrouded in unknowns. 

One Direction once asked, “Does it ever drive you crazy just how fast the night changes?”

Yes.

In lieu of focusing on a full album, I’m closing my column with a dedication to the song that has been my life force these last weeks of college, “Night Changes.” 

“Night Changes” is quintessential dream pop. It’s a transcendent song, a warm hug — it’s everything I’ve ever dreamed of. And sometimes, it’s the song I drift off to. 

As I embarked on a four hour red-eye flight from Seattle back to Chicago, I listened to “Night Changes” from take-off to landing. That’s probably the most disturbing thing I’ve ever confessed, but it’s true.

Courtesy of Sony Music Entertainment One Direction released “FOUR” in 2014.

I won’t pretend I’ve listened to this entire album. “Night Changes” is too good to exist within an album, as far as I’m concerned. It’s uninhibited by the restrictions of a tracklist, and I won’t acknowledge “FOUR” further. 

This song has hints of Louis and Harry’s love story, news editor Kayleigh Padar would argue. Truthfully, I’d argue that too. As a Twarrie — someone who believes they were romantically involved in the past — this song fits well into that timeline. 

Beyond the QAnon-adjacent theorizing involved in the track, though, is the heart. It’s an ode to growing older and life’s constant changes. The song’s a poignant reminder that life goes on, even when we’d rather have time simply freeze. 

Leaving The Phoenix is a gut punch. Sometimes it feels like I spend more time in the newsroom than in  my apartment. Exiting the comfort of that room and the group of people within it, leaving behind weekly meetings with my writers on the second floor of Damen, it’s a big change to a routine I love. 

I’ll miss driving down to campus with Kayleigh and stopping at Starbucks for her classic drink: a Trenta Strawberry Refresher with lemonade and no berries.

I’ll miss seeing the glimmer of that fluorescent light from outside the newsroom door and finding none other than social editor Leslie Owen inside.

I’ll miss grabbing dinner at 9 p.m. on a production night with co-managing editor Rylee Tan, even if those trips can lead to us walking all the way to Eataly and making a middling sandwich.

I’ll miss stealing editor-in-chief Katie Anthony’s sour rings and making unwanted suggestions to her about the front page. 

And I’ll miss having a centralized space to terrorize co-managing editor Zack Miller. 

But One Direction says not to be afraid “even when the night changes.” Maybe they’re right. 

It’s hard to know what’s next. Maybe The Phoenix is only the beginning. I mean, I love it here, but I certainly hope my life has greener pastures ahead than a basement newsroom. 

Change is something I don’t particularly like. I’m really wondering why night has to change. If someone would please let me know at their earliest convenience, I’d appreciate it.

Unfortunately, though, it does have to change. In just a week, I’ll be handing the keys to the arts section to one of our many excellent writers. My Tuesdays will no longer be a giant ‘X’ on my schedule, preoccupying me from sunup to well after the sun goes down. 

Soon, the newsroom covered in quotes on the whiteboard, polaroids of our lives and where I’ve accosted everyone by hanging up my paintings will cease to be a place I can call my own.

And lastly, I’ll lose a chance to write about my favorite music in the form of this here column.

What began in March 2020 as a way to bring optimism to an uncertain time, this column has been a time capsule for me. 

I love describing it as a well thought-out encapsulation of my thoughts when it’s usually a word vomit about an album I loved in 2012. But if you know me, you know I’m always stuck on a loop between pop culture references. 

With so much change and uncertainty, I find calm in the song’s eternal existence. Just maybe, the night will change for the better.

“Night Changes” is available to stream on all major streaming services. You don’t have to listen to the rest of “FOUR,” don’t worry.

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