CULTURE  |  MUSIC

What Recess listened to in 2022

You could feel it in the air. As of Nov. 30, something shifted in the atmosphere. Instagram stories were covered with graphics of people’s top artists. Exclamations of “No way THEY’RE your top artist!!” and “0.5% again! I knew it!” filled the air, and group chats were full with carefully cropped screenshots, artfully hiding the Glee Cast’s consistent place as someone’s fifth most listened-to artist for the fourth year in a row (I might be projecting a bit with that last one). Whether you like it or not, the Spotify Wrapped 2022 was released and thus began my favorite yearly pastime — judging people’s music taste.

Spotify Wrapped feels like the one day a year where the entire internet — except for Apple Music users, put your Replay 2022 away, no one wants to see that — can come together to talk about music, both the good and the bad. Despite the claims that “No one cares” about people’s Spotify Wrapped that plague Twitter around the end of the year, the inescapable nature of the event begs to differ. To many people, music is an indispensable part of their life, accompanying each walk to class, workout and study session, each song contributing to the thousands of minutes they clock each year. Regardless of if you view the songs and artists you like as a core tenant of your personality, your music taste and listening habits can say a lot about you. People love Spotify Wrapped because it provides the opportunity to share that part of your life with the people around you, sending around all your listening data in a series of aesthetically appealing graphics.

Here at Recess, we take our Spotify Wrapped seriously. As soon as the Wrapped was dropped, our group chat filled with screenshots and the conversation started. We analyzed each other’s results — a varied mix of pretentious and embarrassing (my top song is MY personal business, thank you very much) — exploring what we had in common, and much more interestingly, where we diverged. As much as I delight in giving my opinions on other people’s results, I enjoy Spotify Wrapped for another reason — the chance to expand my own music taste a bit and explore new artists that my peers love. We’ve compiled our own recommendations below and as we go into the new year, we hope that you can find something new to listen to! Maybe they’ll even make your Spotify Wrapped for 2023. 

For anyone who keeps up with our music reviews, this may be unsurprising, but our most popular genres this year were pop and rap, with indie pop, rock, show tunes (no comment) following closely behind. Though we had many genres in common, our artists of the year varied, spanning from Taylor Swift to Johnny Cash to Vince Staples. Our staff also listened to a lot of Rufus Du Sol, Lizzy McAlpine, Kendrick Lamar, Frank Sinatra, Phoebe Bridgers, Peach Tree Rascals, Charli XCX, Rina Sawayama and the Red Hot Chili Peppers. Lizzy McAlpine’s place in our listening history was well-earned. Her newest album “five seconds flat” was masterfully done and beautifully articulated her “experience of heartbreak and falling out of love.” Similarly, Kendrick Lamar’s 2022 release, “Mr. Morale and the Big Steppers,” was bound to show up on our Wrappeds. In his first album after a five-year hiatus, Lamar created a work with “superb production” and “deeply introspective” themes that resonated with many listeners. Additionally, though it was only included in 10 days of data-tracking, Taylor Swift’s newest work “Midnights” managed to leave a massive mark in our Wrappeds. Despite its relatively recent release, the album, which “marked a triumphant return to pop” for Swift, has made waves in both the Billboard Top 100 and our yearly Top 100s. 

Aside from our favorite artists and albums, there were a litany of songs that comprised the soundtrack of our 2022s. Our staff recommends “The Beach” by Vince Staples, “Constant Repeat” by Charli XCX, “Sun Came Up” by Sofi Tukker, “Waiting Room” by Phoebe Bridgers and Blu Detiger’s “Hot Crush Lover.” If you’re looking for some nostalgic throwback songs, we recommend “Scream & Shout” by will.i.am and Britney Spears, “Ramble On” by Led Zeppelin, “Evacuate the Dancefloor” by Cascada (why this wasn’t chosen as the Duke song will always confuse me), “Tunnel of Love” by Bruce Springsteen and “I Love It” by Icona Pop ft. Charli XCX. It’s clear that at least amongst the Recess staff, the 2010s are having a big resurgence. 

If those recommendations weren’t enough, we also wanted to offer up some of the hidden gems of our listening habits this year. Whether we got into them too late or didn’t listen to them quite enough, there were quite a few albums released this year that deserve a spot on your 2023 playlists. “Wet Leg” by Wet Leg was a fantastic debut; it’s catchy, fun, and described as two women “scratching at the yellow wallpaper” — while those things don’t seem to go together at first, one listen will have you hooked. “The Car” by the Arctic Monkeys was a similarly “captivating” release, nodding to the past with “vulnerable nostalgia” and showcasing their growth as a band after two decades of making music. Continuing within the indie rock genre, The 1975’s latest work, “Being Funny in a Foreign Language” is perhaps their most cohesive yet. The album is best described as earnest, forgoing the catchy but messy and rambling energy of their prior works in favor of a simpler and sincere album about love. Beyond new releases, 2022 also brought us the end of some hiatuses. With “The Forever Story,” JID’s third album showcased “the breadth of styles” he is able to deliver, and the benefits that reflection and an analysis of one's own thoughts can have in creating a truly unique and beautiful body of work. Denzel Curry’s latest work, “Melt My Eyez See Your Future”  also showcases the power of maturity in creating an impressive album. In his fifth album, Curry has “improved everything about his music” and brought fans a reflective look at his life. 

Spotify Wrapped is perhaps one of the company’s most successful marketing campaigns, encouraging listeners to both consider what their music reveals about them and find others with similar tastes. Whether you’ve been proudly posting yours or trying to explain the more unorthodox entries on your top five — to quote our Music Beat Writer, Rhys, “The Dalai Lama makes music and it’s GOOD,” we hope that some of our recommendations can make it into your Top 100 in 2023. 

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