Just like many other people who recently got their Spotify Wrapped or Apple Music Replay, I realized I spent a large percentage of last year listening to music—and, in my case at least, it was the same music. Over, and over, and over again, I listened to the same genres of music: classic rock and indie pop.
There’s nothing wrong with staying in that comfort zone, but I always like discovering new music. I started looking at my friends’ music rewinds from various apps (if someone listened to one song two hundred times, it must be good, right?), and I also asked them for recommendations. And I liked a lot of them; there were some misses, but many of the songs made it onto one of my top playlists.
I ended up receiving a huge variety of new music to listen to. People had such different music tastes, and, if that was true on a smaller scale—just among my friends—the variation among all of GDS had to be even larger. Thus, I set out to get music recommendations from many different members of the GDS community, with the goal of finding new songs and artists I never would have listened to otherwise.
Here are the recommendations I got:
“Smile” by Nat King Cole, from junior Clara Wartell
Why? “It’s a good jazzy-esque song. It’s not a car song, but it’s good for studying or when you’re in your feels, or a jazzy dance. It’s just a good song that I’ve liked for so long. Some songs go out of style, but I’ve listened to this one so many times and I’ve never gotten tired of it.”
“Me and Your Mama” by Childish Gambino, from junior Anissa McGinnis
Why? “It evokes a lot of emotion and takes you through a story. It also reminds me of a younger, easier time when I would ride in my parents’ car and sing my heart out to this song.”
The English Beat, from Anthony Belber, a history teacher and running coach
Why? “It’s a 1980s ska band. Timeless. Lively. It’s what I was listening to in high school and what GDS students should be listening to.”
“Duele el Amor” by Aleks Syntek and Ana Torroja, from freshman Emi Fitzgibbons
Why? “I just found the song on a whim. It’s a duet, and it’s really pretty how they have the two voices together.”
“Garden” by Fujii Kaze, from senior Elly Robinson
Why? “It’s really chill and mellow, but at the end, it gets really, really grand, and I like how it builds a lot.”
“Sphere” by Creo, from junior Morgana Brand
Why? “This song got me through no fewer than four pandemic panic attacks because I focused on the amount of moving pieces. I always feel like there’s more to the song than I remembered last time.”
“Time Lapse” by NCT 127, from senior Maya Raman
Why? “I like it because the chorus is ever so offbeat and it’s sort of off-putting in a good way.”
AJR, from freshman Zoya Mghenyi
Why? “Their music is weirdly a mixture of upbeat with the trumpet but mellow at the same time, and their songs are funny but also very relatable. Also, the artists themselves are very fun.”
“Mind over Matter (Reprise)” by Young the Giant, from junior Xander Grunwaldt
Why? “It’s depressing but groovy.”
“Heartless” by The Weeknd, from senior Lila Fishman
Why? “The lyrics are beautiful and the beat is sick.”
Marissa Mur, from Parker Benedict, a Spanish teacher
Why? “She sings in Spanish. If I had to pick one of her songs, Yin Yang is my favorite. It’s calming music but also with a little bit of a tropical twist, which I need in the winter.”
“Ruins” from the video game Undertale by Toby Fox, from sophomore Noah Spector
Why? “I recommend it because it’s good. It’s just good. I like it.”
“Can’t Hold Us” by Macklemore and Ryan Lewis, from sophomore Daniel Reilly
Why? “Only because it’s a good erging song. The only time I listen to music now is when I row.”
And now from me:
“These are Days” by 10,000 Maniacs
Why? This song is just so happy. It’s a reminder to not only live in but also enjoy every moment. It’s one of my go-to feel-good songs because it’s cheerful and untroubled without feeling forced. It’s just really gorgeous, and I hope it makes you feel happy too!
“I Believe” by Chris Isaak
Why? This song is beautiful because of the contrast between the depressing premise (the end of a relationship) and the upbeat background music, and because of the quiet, melancholy lines that break up the happy mood. The lyrics aren’t completely dreary like some breakup songs can be—they’re actually hopeful—and I think it’s a lovely, different take on an experience that a lot of artists draw inspiration from.
I’ve truly enjoyed a lot of the new music I’ve been exposed to through my friends and other members of the GDS community. That’s part of the attraction of getting music recommendations: hearing what other people like so you can find new music that you might like too.
It’s also cool to receive music recommendations because music (and art in general) can connect you to other people and give you a deeper understanding of what they like and value. Even if the new music isn’t stuff you would put on your own playlists, I always find it interesting to hear what speaks to other people and to get that little bit of understanding of them.
If you want all of the recommendations in one place, I created a Spotify playlist with the songs as well as a song from each of the recommended artists. You can find it here: https://open.spotify.com/playlist/32oURtDol9b1eulMA2GCRr?si=4c94e3c7fde54c6e