SigEp adopts no-“Mr. Brightside” policy

Adam Shaw

All chapters of the national fraternity Sigma Phi Epsilon, including the one at Yale, will be prohibited from playing “Mr. Brightside” in their common spaces starting Aug. 1, 2018 and will be required to have completely “Brightside”-free houses by Aug. 1, 2020, in accordance with a new policy established last summer.

According to a post on the SigEp national organization’s website, the policy comes in response to almost 25 SigEp chapters closing down due to “risky behavior fueled by the catchy Killers tune” in the past 13 years since the song’s release. The resolution was drafted by Jerry Alberts, a member of SigEp’s Wayne State University chapter, and approved at the fraternity’s Grand Chapter Conclave by a legislative body of assembled delegates, 64 percent of whom voted to ban the hit single off of 2004’s Hot Fuss.

“It’s about time,” said a member of Sig Ep, who spoke on condition of anonymity. “Guests at our parties shouldn’t be subjected to playlists of throwback pop-rock, made palatable only through layers of irony and inebriation.” The brother estimated that so far this year, “Mr. Brightside” has been played roughly 75 times, “at least once per party.”

The majority of the fraternity’s members were too busy getting involved in extracurriculars and “just chilling” to respond with a comment. Many reportedly feared that criticizing SigEp publically would hurt the number of invites they’d be given for next weekend’s party.

Other members, however, questioned the validity of the change, and whether SigEp’s national office will actually be able to enforce the policy. One member of the fraternity, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, felt that “Mr. Brightside” will probably continue to play a role at parties “for good or bad.”

“We play throwbacks. Do we pander to our audience? Yea, we do. But if you’re our audience, you’re gonna have a good time,” said Jack Ginobili, a SigEp junior who “honestly hasn’t been as involved this year.”

In an article posted on the SigEp website titled “Swimming through Sick Lullabies,” Alberts wrote that SigEp members will still be allowed to “listen to [‘Mr. Brightside’] in their private rooms” until Aug. 2020, when the complete ban on the song in chapter houses comes into place. Alberts also affirmed that members are also welcome to continue to play other hit songs from The Killers’ repertoire at parties, such as “Human” and “Somebody Told Me.”

Of the 23 students polled on Cross Campus and in Bass cafe, only six said that they thought SigEp eliminating The Killers’ song is a good idea for the fraternity. Almost all the other students said they have a hard time imagining how SigEp will prosper as a social space on campus without playing the indie rock hit. Some students stated that the policy will likely encourage students to listen to the indie rock group in excess before heading to now “Brightside”-less SigEp parties.           

Marilyn Paige ’21 noted that many students already listen to “Mr. Brightside” before arriving at SigEp’s parties. “Specifically with Sig Ep, they have the guest list for every party, so the party tends not to open to freshmen until 12. By then I’ve already been listening to endless loops of country music ad naseum at DKE, and SigNu’s this-pop-punk-song-reminds-me-of-my-childhood-in-Scarsdale playlist. By the time you reach SigEp, they’ve probably already played ‘Mr. Brightside’ once during the mixer and once again by accident, so you’re probably just going to dance to ‘Mi Gente’ and try not to lose your friends,” Paige said.

The policy could also affect SigEp’s ability to draw a healthy pledge class in upcoming years, Paige said, adding that most students interested in joining a fraternity will probably look for the “entire frat culture,” including drinking lukewarm beer and getting excited about bands that were cutting edge in the early 2000s.

“It’s a really commendable initiative,” said Yale College Dean Marvin Chun. “We want these spaces to be safe and welcoming for all the students, and I think initiatives like this are fantastic. I can only hope that ‘Despacito’ is next on the chopping block.”

“Mr. Brightside” by The Killers is certified 2x Platinum, meaning it has sold over 2 million units, roughly 75,000 to SigEp brothers.


Yale Rumpus