While Cornell recovers from its collective Spring Break hangover, the campus’ consciousness shifts from this requisite oasis of irresponsibility to the next: Slope Day. Speculation about prospective Slope Day acts is typically reserved to either entirely unfounded, unrealistic guesses (“Kanye’s free on the last day of classes, right?”), half-remembered bits of drunken conversation with people tangentially related to the Slope Day Programming Board (“Todd’s roommate’s girlfriend is on the Slope Day Board, and Todd loves Sublime more than life itself, so obviously…”) and pessimistic suggestions proffered simply to lower expectations in anticipation of an especially disappointing musical guest (“Nickelback. Definitely Nickelback. And probably Rebecca Black opening”). For some, such guesswork is ultimately futile, as they will spend their Slope Day mornings drinking home-brewed 4Loko in an attempt to absolutely erase the day’s proceedings from their memories, all the while destroying any remaining shreds of dignity that had survived the preceding semester. But for the rest of us, this guesswork is simply a prologue to the righteous indignation that swells up when the actual announcement is made.
I feel for the SDPB. Not only are the logistical challenges of organizing our annual spring festival harrowing — neon hats, frat pinnies and binge drinking, oh my! — but even if they do manage to book an act, they are hanged in effigy on Ho Plaza regardless of who it is. This year is looking to be especially challenging: noted fist-pump inducer Avicii apparently fell through and the rumor mill has been producing names of the gravest variety, with Good Charlotte, Pitbull and Rebecca Black being discussed as potential acts. Furthermore, the type of popular artists for whom the college festival is not out of the question, such as Kid Cudi, Lupe Fiasco and the notoriously poor tipper B.o.B, have all been to Cornell in the past year. College shows, particularly a daytime one to be held outdoors in the volatile weather patterns of Ithaca, are not an ideal gig for any big time artist. They aren’t able to go through sound check, which is a struggle for many full bands, and it’s not a particularly dignified performance (thanks to the aforementioned 4Loko homebrew).So, in general, booking an act for Slope Day and not disappointing the student body is a challenge that borders on Herculean. Still, it’s fun to speculate and look at the rumors; here are some that I feel deserve some actual discussion.
Rumor #1: PitbullPitbull is an interesting candidate. He’s ubiquitous on modern pop radio, appearing in songs like “International Love,” “Give Me Everything” and “Hotel Room Service.” His primary concerns seem to be clubbing, dancing and having multiple sexual partners, all worthy subjects for a Slope Day guest’s repertoire. But is Cornell ready for an act that so readily associates himself with Chris Brown, that notable perpetrator of domestic violence? Despite his less-than-savory associates, Pitbull remains a reasonable, but somewhat unpopular, choice for this prime slot.Likelihood: Possible
Rumor #2: Ke$haKe$ha, more than any popular act today, embodies the beauty and splendor of Slope Day: unabashed alcoholism, female sexual empowerment and waking up in the morning feeling like P. Diddy. Ke$ha’s glitter-obsessed stage show would undoubtedly leave permanent reminders of the day’s mistakes (way better than that herpes outbreak from 2007). With several radio hits, she would be a godsend for the SDPB. Unfortunately, it looks like her tour schedule is blank until August; she’s likely recuperating from the PR Blitzkrieg of her last album.General Reaction: Pants-wetting excitementLikelihood: Next to Impossible
Rumor #3: Any Former American Idol ContestantYou are likely hearing such rumors from those pessimists looking to soften the blow of a disappointing decision, but any former contestant whose name doesn’t rhyme with Barrie Schmunderwood is not entirely unreasonable. Kelly Clarkson has some absolutely killer songs (“Since U Been Gone” kicks more ass than you will admit) and a throwback appeal similar to last year’s guest, Nelly. Going deeper than her, though, will result in mass discontent. Adam Lambert, while maintaining the flamboyant air of a decent pop star, lacks the memorable songs needed to back up his image; Jordin Sparks has a decent batch of songs (“Battlefield” and “No Air” were pretty huge), but wouldn’t fit into the revelrous context of Slope Day; and do we really want to have to call up Justin Guarini?General Reaction: Could range from “cool-ish” to “Oh crap, they got Dunkleman.”Likelihood: Not Unlikely
Rumor #4: Carly Rae JepsenWe’ve just heard of her, and this is crazy, but Carly Rae Jepsen might play Slope Day (maybe!). Conjecture aside, she’s not the most ridiculous suggestion we’ve heard (that title may belong to a chap who heard that we might be getting this hip young group called Nirvana to play), but she’s definitely the most unproven. With one immensely loveable, sorority girl baiting hit single under her belt, she would be a wildcard pick that would likely needed to be paired with another co-headliner to not completely incriminate the SDPB.General Reaction: Lots of eye-rolling, interspersed with spastic screams from girls who never outgrew Disney Channel.Likelihood: Definitely, like, a wildcard and a dark horse combined.
Rumor #5: ChumbawambaThe little-known anarcho-punk band would be the best selection for Slope Day if held to one tiny stipulation: They were forced to play their infamously repetitive ode to drunken resiliency, “Tubthumping,” for ninety minutes straight on Libe Slope. While initial reactions would be negative, the weeks prior would lead to the campus-wide revelation that, “Oh my God, this song is great to sing while hammered!”General Reaction: Wild skepticism followed by ironic anticipation.Likelihood: PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE