Research Theme – Battle of the bands pt1

Every university department has a degree of friendly rivalry between research groups. Well here at the Southampton Geography & Environment Gradschool its obvious the only way to settle which group is coolest is a battle of the bands. Over 10 rounds Earth Surface Dynamics (Geomorphology) and Paleoecology will slug it out to see who comes out on top, which research area has inspired musicians throughout the ages.

Comment below if you disagree with the song choices, or if you have any alternative research themed songs/albums/bands

ROUND 1 – Funk and Soul 1

ESD – Ike & Tina Turner – River Deep, Mountain High

Paleo – Etta James – Time will tell

A solid start for both groups, Ike and Tina get in a double research theme with hillslope processes, fluvial and arguably a bit of tectonics as well. Tina’s vocals are in top form and Ike’s arrangement is tight, but are they trying a little too hard? Etta is straight in there, simple, right to the point. Its paleo; time will tell.

Verdict – Win for Paleo!

Round 2 – Folk Rock

ESD – Bruce Springsteen – The River

Paleo – Bon Iver – Holocene

Both research groups go in with key research themes here. ESD look strong with the haunting title track from album of the same name; The River dealing with issues of loss and regret. Bon Iver, although lacking the stand out anthem of The Boss’s effort is a grower.

It’s a tie! We need a count back. But what’s this? Bon Iver also had an album track called “Flume”, to my knowledge a flume is a piece of kit only used in ESD, these guys are clearly playing for both sides and are disqualified for song title irregularities.

Verdict – Win for ESD! (1-1)

Round 3 – Postgrad Researchers Head to Head

ESD – Chris Hackney (Get Up! Xmas-chine – SAP & PONCEMAN)

Paleo – Tom Bishop (Lead Belly – Blue tailed Fly)

Well instantly the ESD choice to get Chris Hackney with his landscape evolution of Chines (incised coastal gullies) looks complacent. His research represented by an unknown Christmas novelty song found on Youtube which replaces lyrics from James Brown’s Sex Machine with Christmas references. Dear, oh dear. Its a car crash in musical form. There is an old person dancing in the video with a small child dressed as an elf. Paleo know they need to come strong out of the blocks and Tom Bishop with his Patagonian climate reconstruction work by looking for midges represented by Mississippi delta blues legend Lead Belly, I have no idea whether the chronomids have blue tails but its a winner.

Verdict – Win for Paleo! (2-1)

Round 4 – 90’s Seattle Grunge Album

ESD – Alice in Chains – Dirt

Paleo – Stone Temple Pilots – Core

ESD looking on shaky ground here, the reference to regolith in the AiC’s album is tenuous at best, where as Paleo again with a strong research based showing; cores and coring being a cornerstone of their research. What of the music? Well Alice in Chains is very much of its time, with the angst-ridden lyrics typical of so much of the 90’s grunge scene, STP’s seminal album however has an angrier less submissive feel and is much the more durable.

Verdict – Win for Paleo! (3-1)

It’s looking grim for ESD already

Round 5 – Key research themes

ESD – Vanilla Ice – Ice Ice Baby

Paleo – Cretaceous – Fossilised

ESD turning to the small glaciologist contingent in the group for the first of their key themes, but Vanilla Ice? Will they live to regret it? Paleo looking at geological epochs and perhaps with complacency pick a band they found on MySpace. Cretaceous are a Californian death metal band who make concept albums based on geological epochs, but are they any good? Well Fossilised begins promisingly with riffs reminiscent of early Soundgarden, however at 37secs it all goes wrong with a lot of self-indulgent shouting and rolling thrash guitar. Vanilla Ice stands the test of time.

Verdict – Win for ESD! (2-3)

Here ends part 1 of the battle of the bands, Paleo leading 3-2 at the half-way point, but with Funk & Soul 2, fluvial and Aeolian yet to make a key contribution and big hitters such as Thierry Fonville, Alex Clayton and your own author yet to make an appearance there is plenty to come.



  1. I feel I have been miss-represented. Surely Bill Medley and Jennifer Warnes “I’ve had the Chine of my life” is by far the best known of all Chine related songs! Makes the swing 3-2 to ESD!

  2. […] remember the Paleoecology group are leading Earth Surface Dynamics (geomorphology) 3-2 after yesterday’s battle of the bands part 1. With 5 more rounds to go today though it’s all to play […]

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