Recap of Cal High Students’ Music in 2021


Ari Harvey

As the year comes to a close, people are sharing their favorite music from the year.

Anika Choudhary, Online Editor

The holiday season is the time of year when temperatures drop, holiday lights appear, and people frantically post their Spotify Wrapped on their stories. 

Since music is a defining force in many people’s lives, streaming platforms have annually released infographics about personal music consumption over the past year that have become a big part of people’s year-end celebrations.

“Music is such a big part of people,” sophomore Mac Lunsford said. “Especially during this past year, people felt their connections weaken so music was an outlet for them.”

Billboard’s Top 100 chart recognizes the most notable songs of the current week, based on sales, radio play, and streaming. In 2021, Billboard has identified songs such as “Driver’s License” by Olivia Rodrigo, “Kiss Me More” by Doja Cat and SZA, and “Leave the Door Open” by Silk Sonic, as some of the top songs of the year.

Billboard represents the top music enjoyed by the general public, but Cal High’s students enjoyed a variety of music different from Billboard’s charts this past year.

“A song that got me through this year would be ‘The Drug In Me Is Reimagined’ by Falling in Reverse,” said Lunsford, who also listens to System of the Down and Pierce the Veil. “It is a beautiful culmination of various instrumentals. The lyrics were changed into having a sense of reconciliation and basically say that you’ve changed and are growing.”

After coming back to school, music has become intertwined with students’ everyday routines. The right song affects people’s day and their mood.

“I love ‘Get Throwed’ by Don Toliver and ‘Addiction’ by Doja Cat,” junior Piya Devidasani said. “They just lift my spirit and make me a lot happier and ready for my day.”

In a year full of turmoil and change, R&B music provided the calm atmosphere that many students craved. In fact, 2021 was a big year for R&B music, with several big releases from artists like H.E.R and Jazmine Sullivan.

“I really like R&B and hip-hop,” junior Aryan Desai said. “Music that got me through this year is definitely Joji’s nectar album. The songs and the lyrics are pretty solid.”

The last year was an especially incredible year for music, but 2021 was an even better year for Taylor Swift. She kicked off the release of her re-recorded music on April 9 with the album “Fearless (Taylor’s Version)” and has followed it up on Nov. 12 with “Red (Taylor’s Version)”, an album that hit No 1 on Billboard’s Hot 200 chart. 

Based on an Instagram poll asking Cal students what their favorite songs of the year were, “All Too Well (Taylor’s Version)” was the top answer.

“My top project from this year was ‘Red (Taylor’s Version)’,” sophomore Meghana Kolar said. “My favorite song off of it is definitely ‘Forever Winter’ because the songwriting is incredible.”

Rapper Playboi Carti also had a big year following the release of his 2020 album “Whole Lotta Red”, which hit No. 1 on the Billboard Top 200 chart.

“I listen to a lot of Playboi Carti,” freshman Benjamin Seo said. “His songs ‘ILOVEYOUIHATEU’ and ‘Sky’ were some of my favorites this year.”

After releasing his first No. 1 album “Tickets to My Downfall,” Machine Gun Kelly has continued to be successful in 2021, winning the American Music Award for Favorite Rock Artist and taking home the award for Top Rock Album at the 2021 Billboard Music Awards.

“Machine Gun Kelly was my top artist according to Spotify Wrapped,” sophomore Alyssa Yu said. “His album ‘Tickets to My Downfall’ was really good.”

2021 was a year filled with new styles, voices, and concepts in music. As people have become accustomed to living in the new COVID-19 world and seeing things upside down, the importance of music has become even more apparent.