Music Rewind of 2021

Eliana Cotten

January 14- Music has been a key contributor to maintaining sanity during these past couple of years of craziness. Luckily, 2021 brought in a lot of new music from some of the world’s best artists. Here are the highlights:

For Pop, there were quite a few albums dropped. Olivia Rodrigo is the first one that comes to mind, seeing as her music practically broke the internet. Her debut album, “SOUR,” broke records all over the world.

“My top album of the year was definitely Olivia Rodrigo’s. There were absolutely no skips on the whole album,” eighth-grader Alora Crayton said.

Another Pop artist who released an album was Billie Eilish. Her album was titled “Happier Than Ever,” and the opinions on the album were widely debated. Her song “Happier Than Ever,” specifically the last half of the song, took the world by storm staying at the number one spot on the Billboard’s Top 100 Song Chart for three weeks straight.

Another honorable mention is Taylor Swift’s, “Red (Taylors Version)”. This was ataylorcover long awaited album for both the fans and Swift. The top song by far on the album was “All Too Well (10 Minute Version) (Taylors Version)”. In addition to this 10 Minute Version, she released a short film for the song starring Sadie Sink and Dylan O’brien.

“I was so in love with ‘Red (Taylors Version)’. I listened to it so much that my Spotify Wrapped said I was in the top 0.5% of Taylor Swift listeners this year,” senior Haley Frias said.

Taylor Swift also released “Fearless (Taylors Version)” a few months before “Red (Taylors Version)”.

“Honestly I think ‘Red (Taylors Version)’ was better than ‘Fearless (Taylors Version)’. I just feel like the songs were more well done,” senior London Carter said.

Adele released her album “30” on Nov. 19, 2021. Seeing as Adele is a global treasure, her album was automatically on the number one spot on the Billboard Top 200 Albums Chart.

“I think I listened to Adele’s album like thirty times the week it came out. Which is funny because the album name is 30,” freshman Aleena Rios said.

Moving on from Pop music, Kanye West released an album titled “Donda” on Aug. 29, 2021. After the release of this album, Kanye West moved from number 67 on the Billboard Top 100 Artist Chart to number one in a matter of days. The songs “Jail” and “Hurricane” made it to the top 10 on the Billboard’s Hot 100 Song List.

drakeandkanyeIn competition with “Donda” was Drake’s “Certified Lover Boy”. It was released a month later on Sep. 3, 2021. Many people argued that “Donda” had more emotional meaning which made it a step above “Certified Lover Boy.” Regardless of this argument, Drake’s songs from the album were number one on Billboard’s Top 100 Song Chart multiple times.

Lil Nas X released his album “MONTERO” on Sep. 17, 2021. Saying that his music video for “MONTERO (Call Me By Your Name)” was controversial would be an understatement. Some people saw it as offensive towards religious beliefs. Some saw it as an iconic moment for Lil Nas X where he was openly expressing himself. This controversy once again allowed for the song to reach the number one spot of Billboard’s Top 100 Song Chart in a matter of days.

Tyler, the Creator released his album “Call Me If You Get Lost” on June 25, 2021. The album debuted at the top spot of the Billboard Top 200 Album Chart. According to PitchFork, the album gave Tyler the chance to play with his tone and the raspier part of his voice for more texture in the songs.

“The music from 2021 honestly is what got me through,” junior Sylvia Sellmer said. “I just feel like everyone was on their game last year, and I am really thankful for it.”

HS Chorus Concert at NCLA

Jackson Faenza

January 14- On Wednesday, the North Carolina Leadership Academy hosted its rescheduled High School Chorus Concert which was run by chorus teacher, Ms. Kristen Gobetz.

“I love chorus so much and I think Ms. Gobetz did a great job of getting us readyIMG_3769 for the concert,” said senior Elissa Segers.

The concert was originally supposed to be scheduled for the week of Dec. 13. Unfortunately, the NCLA had to swiftly move to remote learning due to the outbreak of cases the previous week. Due to kids not being able to come to school, the chorus concert had to be rescheduled for another date.

“It was canceled because we went remote the week before the break when the concert was scheduled. Both the students and I were disappointed and frustrated as we were so ready to perform. We all knew that it was OK and that we would reschedule, however. We all need to be understanding and flexible during this time. We are all very thankful we will get the chance to do it this week on the 12,” said chorus director, Ms. Gobetz.

The High School concert will consist of eight songs in total. The songs include, “Be Like the Bird” by Abbie Betinis, “In Flanders Fields” by Dr. John McCrae, “Let There Be Peace on Earth” by Sy Miller and Jill Jackson, “Come in from the Firefly Darkness” by Amy Feldman Bermon, “I Believe” by Mark A. Miller, “December Rose” by Tom Fettke and Thomas Grassi, “Various Themes on Fa-La-La” by Chuck Bidwell, and lastly “The Lord Bless You and Keep You” by Peter C. Lutkin.

“I believe that performance is the culminating experience for an ensemble. Just as core classes take finals or give presentations, music classes celebrate their ‘final product’ by performing. Music is essential to our world and to our community, including the school community. Having a public performance gives the choral students a chance to showcase their work, their families, and the school community a chance to support and appreciate them, and it helps recruit new members for the choral program as well. It is a celebration of hard work and a chance to hear something beautiful,” replied Ms. Gobetz.

With this concert, Ms. Gobetz is hoping that everyone can experience the hard work her students put in during the first semester, “Their program is beautiful and well-rehearsed and I am just so excited to share it, especially after a year with no concerts,” said Ms. Gobetz.

Listening to “After Hours” on 103.5 Dawn FM

Rebecca Avila

January 14- The Weeknd recently released his newest album on January 7 and it’s been two years since his last release. Dawn FM is following one of his greatest albums, “After Hours” and this wait has been dawning on everyone.

There are 16 tracks:The-Weeknd-Dawn-FM
“Dawn FM”
“How Do I Make You Love Me?”
“Take My Breath”
“Sacrifice (E)”
“A Tale by Quincy (E)”
“Out Of Time”
“Here We Go… Again (feat. Tyler, The Creator) (E)”
“Best Friends”
“Is There Someone Else?”
“Starry Eyes”
“Every Angel is Terrifying”
“Don’t Break My Heart”
“I Heard You’re Married (feat. Lil Wayne) (E)”
“Less Than Zero”
“Phantom Regret by Jim”

Dawn FM follows the structure of a radio station giving an interesting take to how music albums contemporarily are.

Maria Fleak stated, “The Weeknd’s album is different from anything else in the music industry and is unique in the sense that it feels like you’re actually listening to the radio.”

His previous album, “After Hours” was released at the peak of the world turning to chaos due to the pandemic. “After Hours” is a completion of material that reflected his feelings and depression at the time. Dawn FM is essentially a rebuttal to “After Hours”.

Etornam Agbemabiese said, “I think this was one of his weaker albums but I still thoroughly enjoyed this project. Nothing can beat ‘After Hours’, that was an instant classic.”

His new album shows the creative path of searching and getting out of the “claustrophobic reality” of the past two years. The first half of the album hits you with some “euphoric” beats with the help of Swedish House Mafia from tracks one through nine. On the tracks 10 through 16 it gives you a more calming end to the album.

The album cover is unique compared to some of his past covers but it depicts the “endless purgatory” of how he has viewed life throughout the pandemic but is hopeful to come out of the heavy fog of the past two years.

In my personal opinion, it’s a different and unique taste to some of his past albums. The radio station takes on a new perspective on how artists can create their narrative within an album.

The songs themselves have a repetitive beat but there are some songs that are good and different. Overall, the album was alright but it wasn’t one of his best releases or comparable to his past greats like “Starboy” and “Beauty Behind The Madness”.

Fleak stated, “The Weeknd’s album is different from anything else in the music industry and is unique in the sense that it feels like you’re actually listening to the radio.”