Opinion | Music that shaped me

Opinion | Music that shaped me

Ben Levy, Staff Writer

Freshman Year: 2019-20

First Semester: In My Room-Frank Ocean

Short, sweet, and fast paced. The hazy, muffled rapping reminds me of the whirlwind first semester as a freshman. 

Dec: Potato Salad-Tyler, The Creator; A$AP Rocky

Carefree, creative, and straightforward. This song found itself being played nonstep as I ventured into (my first and last) finals week, and break.

Jan: Undercover Martyn-Two Door Cinema Club

A timeless alt-rock banger, this was the perfect song for the beginning of 2020. 

Early Mar: Venetia-Lil Uzi Vert

The palpable excitement of Uzi’s long-awaited Eternal Atake was followed a week later by similar excitement at an extended spring break…Nonetheless, this song is an endearing symbol of the end of normalcy.

Mar-May: Save Your Tears– The Weekend

A beautiful track from the chart-topping After Hours. Experiments in synth pop became a soundtrack to new experiences in quarantine.

Summer: Downbound Train-Bruce Springsteen

The beginning of a deep dive into rock and folk, a summer of uncertainty bred exploration in music.

Sophomore Year: 2020-21

Aug: Roots-Aminé, JID, Charlie WIlson

A powerful song about growth, and change. Amine’s bubbly and honest songwriting went hand-in-hand with the thick August heat.

Sept-Oct: Golden Dream-Snail Mail 

A soft accompaniment as the leaves turn, Snail Mail’s soothing approach to indie rock is a warm welcome to autumn.

Nov-Dec: Teenage Fantasy-Jorja Smith

Over lush drums, Jorja Smith tells a tale of love found and love lost. The music is reflective and chilly as a harsh winter swept in.

Jan-Early Mar: Orlando-Blood Orange

As snow lay waist deep outside, Blood Orange’s soft, meditative track is a soothing examination on the past.

Mar-Apr: Hunger-MIKE

A poignant examination of overcoming struggles, rapped poetically over a soulful beat. MIKE’s standout track was a must-hear as the sun returned in March.

May-Jul: 94 Camry Music-Femdot

A victorious, thumping beat to background the exuberant joy as I survived the online school year, this song was played nonstop as a permit turned to a license. 

Summer: Sweet/ I Thought You Wanted To Dance-Tyler, The Creator

A breathtaking song combining hip-hop, RnB, reggae and funk to create a summer serenade to accompany many hot days at the beach.

Junior Year: 2021-22

Sept: The Mission-Bakar

The brevity of summer was not lost as junior year began, with Bakar’s soft motivation backing my first days back in person.

Oct: Move Me-Gucci Mane

Heavy 808s, scattered piano, and a southern drawl make a song that makes any listener want to become a millionaire. This song preceded many water polo practices and pre-calc tests.

Nov-Dec: Water Under The Bridge-Adele

Soaring vocals. Intense drums. As another winter began, songs like these kept me going into the unknown of a hard year.

Late Jan.-Mar: Love Me More-Mitski

Does music get more enjoyable than this? The near-whispered vocals float over the groovy instrumental, crafting the perfect track for the dead of winter.

Apr: Rock Your Body-Justin Timberlake

One of the greatest producers in his prime meets one of the greatest singers in his prime. This song is pure funk-lined joy, perfect for the approaching end of a long school year.

May-Jun: Father Time-Kendrick Lamar, Sampha

A twinkling piano and a hearty acoustic beat back the pained but brutally honest look at Lamar’s youth. Heavy in subject, this song played non-stop as school wrapped up and the summer began. 

Summer: HEATED-Beyoncé

With shimmering notes and a house-inspired drum beat, Beyonce’s dip into disco is hot (as the title may suggest), emblematic of the summer heat that it flourishes in.

Senior Year: 2022-23

Sept: Habang Buhay-Zack Tabudlo

New friends bring new music, and new experiences. Thus, this euphonious Tagalog ballad became a beautiful beginning to my final year.

Oct-Nov: Tom Verlaine-Alvvays

The melancholic guitar, crashing drums, and entrancing vocals have a tone of change. This whole album was vital to the fall.

Dec-Feb: Frankie’s First Affair-Sade

A sorrowful tale of unfaithfulness, Sade’s vocals coat the jazzy drum like honey. The soft percussion and mesmerizing singing make the perfect selection for a frigid morning practice. 

Mar: Wish You Would-Taylor Swift

The cinematic sound of this track is appealing beyond words. The drums crash as Swift reminisces on the past. It’s an ode to what’s lost, but she doesn’t stumble as she keeps on forward. It sounds like the montage as the high school movie ends…

Mar-May: Yo No Soy Celoso-Bad Bunny
An acoustic and impossibly catchy song about love. Even Bad Bunny’s silkiest, most relaxing tracks get stuck in your head for hours on end, perfect for a random 80-degree beach day in March.

Last week of school: Nights-Frank Ocean

Since 2018, this track has been with me, and I’m sure that won’t end now. An auditory breath of fresh air, this song can be found on my Spotify after every momentous event: conference meets, AP tests and many a late-night drive. It’s only fitting to finish my line up with this song, a melancholic ballad about growing up, and the change of adulthood.

Through and through, these songs and an unfathomable amount of others have stuck by my side. Music made me want to write, so I tried it. I implore any and everyone to try everything—especially new tracks that grace your eardrums—because it really could change your life.