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Northern Star

The Student News Site of Northern Illinois University

Northern Star

Get wrapped up in 2023’s Spotify Wrapped

A collage of album covers sits in front of a green and blue background. This weeks Spotify playlist theme is songs from our Spotify wrapped. (Northern Star Graphic)
A collage of album covers sits in front of a green and blue background. This week’s Spotify playlist theme is songs from our Spotify wrapped. (Northern Star Graphic)

The yearly ritual of counting down the hours to Dec. 1 has come to a close: Spotify Wrapped is here. After a year of late night listens, bedtime bops and tear-jerking tunes, here are three songs from each of our most listened to tracks this year. 

Sarah’s picks:

  1. Gunna, Drake – “P power (feat. Drake)”
  2. 21 Savage, Metro Boomin – “Glock In My Lap”
  3. Drake, 21 Savage – “Spin Bout U”

My No. 1 song on Spotify Wrapped this year was “P power” by Gunna. The song is about sex, and Gunna and Drake brag about the women they get and their sexual power. When Gunna sleeps with a woman, he then goes on to buy her expensive gifts such as a Mercedes and a Birkin bag. Drake comes in at Verse 2, and the switch between the two artists is so smooth that at first you don’t even realize Drake has come in on the track. “P power” is a song that sounds the best when you have headphones in. 

“SAVAGE MODE II” released in 2020, and “Glock In My Lap” makes it to the top three best songs of that album. 21 Savage sings about how he is always strapped – he always has a gun on him in case violence occurs, and he needs to protect himself. When the lyrics “The gang is what I trust (straight up)” begin, everyone who listened to the song at least twice will already know what lyrics are coming next. “Glock In My Lap” is one of my favorite tracks of Savage’s, and he always induces listeners with the song’s trap drums and dangerous beats.

“Spin Bout U” comes off the best album of 2022, “Her Loss,” and in this song, Drake sings about taking care of his lover, protecting her from a world that wants to control and disrespect her. Drake also raps about his luxury and how his “girl” can get almost anything she wants, such as a spot in Vogue or sitting courtside at a sports game. The slight change in Drake’s rhythm from the main verses to the chorus is what always gets me in a good singing mood and always will.     

Nick’s picks:

  1. Colter Wall, Tyler Childers – “Fraulein”
  2. boygenius – “$20”
  3. Lil Yachty – “the BLACK seminole.”

Topping my chart this year was the duet between modern country legends Colter Wall and Tyler Childers. Both Wall and Childers were some of the major inspirations for my major shift into enjoying country music. Where songs about beer and tractors don’t do it for me, hard-sung love songs with stories that sound passed down from the old man at the end of the bar are my specialty. With its simple guitar line and vocals full of old-time emotion, “Fraulein” sums up my deep dive into country this year.

A trio of Phoebe Bridgers, Lucy Dacus and Julien Baker, boygenius has captivated me with its writing since the release of the trio’s self-titled EP in 2018. A mix of modern, head-banging guitar music and melancholic singer-songwriter, “$20” is my song of the year. The track features a unique structure, jumping between groupings of seven and six, creating a stilted, off-putting beat. Known for their glorious imagery, the band does not disappoint on this song, calling attention to “the T-Bird graveyard” and “pushing the flowers that come up into the front of a shotgun.”

A Pink Floyd-esque soundscape, Lil Yachty’s 2023 album “Let’s Start Here.” was a wild shift for the rapper. “the BLACK seminole.” is the intro track to “Let’s Start Here,” full of arpeggiated synths and Yachty’s auto-tuned voice. I don’t remember listening to this song much this year, but it fades after every listen. While it is certainly a good song, it also is highly forgettable. Each time I listen to the song it feels like the first time – and not in the way one hopes. Highly forgettable yet deeply new, the track is, if nothing else, an experience. 

Emily’s picks:

  1. Lifehouse – “You And Me”
  2. Edwin McCain – “I’ll Be”
  3. Taylor Swift – “Teardrops On My Guitar”

Although “You And Me” by Lifehouse was not at the top of my Spotify Wrapped, it was No. 2 on my chart. This pick did not really surprise me because I tend to gravitate toward early 2000’s music. “You And Me” is a powerful ballad full of emotion. The simple strum of an acoustic guitar makes the vocals stand out and adds to the song overall. The song accurately describes a loving relationship and the feeling of having someone by your side for eternity.

“I’ll Be” by Edwin McCain could arguably be considered a wedding song. The song is packed with emotion as McCain expresses his love for his significant other. The lyrics “And you’re my survival, you’re my living proof / My love is alive and not dead” illustrate that McCain loves his significant other more than life itself and would do anything for the sake of their relationship. 

Anyone that truly knows me knows I’m a big Taylor Swift fan, so having at least one of her songs in my top five for Spotify Wrapped was bound to happen. I’m not going to lie though, “Teardrops On My Guitar” was the Taylor Swift song I least expected to be on my list. I was also surprised I only had one of Swift’s songs in my top five. The song is about Swift’s crush on a guy named Drew. She expressed her frustrations about how she wants to be with Drew even though Drew has a girlfriend.

Jonathan’s Picks:

  1. Pharrell Williams – “Happy”
  2. Tyler Smyth and Kellin Quinn – “Find Your Flame”
  3. Bill Withers – “Lovely Day” 

Ever since I first heard “Happy” all the way back in 2013 when “Despicable Me 2” was in theaters, I have been using it as a pick-me-up song whenever something has me feeling really down. The sheer positive energy alone can have a cheery effect on your mood and get you humming the song before you even realize you’re doing it. The lyrics aren’t too complicated and don’t change much as the song progresses, but the real allure of this song is how it can almost always lift your mood with its good vibes. 

The next song, “Find Your Flame” from “Sonic Frontiers,” might be my favorite song of all time from a video game. When I first heard it, the combination of the electric guitar and the singer in the beginning sent chills down my spine. From then on, the pace of the song speeds up, and the drums come in which makes it extremely difficult not to bop your head to the beat. For being such a metal song, its ending is, surprisingly, much softer than the rest of the song, yet it still is a nice touch. I highly recommend this to any lovers of metal music, as it is very hard not to scream out this song. 

Finally, the last and my all time favorite song is “Lovely Day.” I have been listening to this song for as long as I can remember, and it has such a chill and calming vibe to it. It just gives off this sense of “everything is going to be okay.” “Lovely Day” is certainly the type of song to listen to during the summer while you’re chilling outside with your friends and family or driving down the road during the day. 

Lindsay’s picks:

  1. The Cranberries – “Linger”
  2. Weezer – “Island In The Sun”
  3. Red Hot Chili Peppers – “Scar Tissue”

I always used to make fun of my best friend for being a fan of The Cranberries, and now “Linger” is my top played song of the year. “Linger” has been a song I have been consistently listening to all year and probably at least once a day. I love Dolores O’Riordan’s voice, especially when her Irish accent is apparent in her vocals. The song is a powerful story of the singer who is still in love with someone who doesn’t feel the same way.

“Island In The Sun” by Weezer has been in my top 10 for the last two years and has finally made its way to my top five. Unlike “Linger,” I don’t purposely listen to this song, but it is in my main playlist, which is why it has so many plays. Say what you want about Weezer, but this song is fantastic. It’s a great song to play when you want to wind down but still want a strong rock beat.

I think I’m just a fan of songs with distinct vocalists because my fifth most played song this year was “Scar Tissue” by the Red Hot Chili Peppers. The song is a metaphor for drug addiction and the struggles addicts go through when attempting to get sober. The chorus’ lyrics “With the birds I’ll share this lonely view,” illustrate how an addict feels when compared to the rest of the world – like a bird.

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