The melodies that defined the past four years


My playlist consisting of the four albums that have defined my high school experience

I have always had a connection with music. From a young age, it captured me in its grasp and I have never had the desire to escape. 

 Every moment of my life has been defined by a melody. There are core memories that I can vividly associate with a song or a fitting lyric. A majority of the time, I find myself connecting albums to periods of my life and when a song from that album plays, I am transported back into that era.

Throughout high school, I have gone through many different stages and music phases, but there are a few that have stuck with me and defined each grade of high school I have endured. 

Freshman year – Heartbreak Weather by Niall Horan

Although the title may be deceiving, I was not heartbroken during my freshman year. This album was released during the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic, which gave me a lot of time to listen to it. I have always been a sucker for pop music, and this album gave me the perfect introduction to the summer of 2020. The album reminds me of late-night FaceTime calls, taking Buzzfeed quizzes, and, overall, pure joy. Heartbreak Weather still sits high on my top five favorite albums of all time and the record even hangs on my wall. I had always been a fan of Horan, but this album solidified my love and got me through my first year of high school.

Sophomore year – SOUR by Olivia Rodrigo

This album was released towards the conclusion of my sophomore year, but nonetheless, defined the year and space in between before I started my junior year. I remember when Rodrigo announced the first single outside of her Disney career, “Driver’s License.” As an avid fan of her TV show High School Musical: The Musical: The Series at the time, I was ecstatic when she announced the single and listened to it the night it came out. After falling in love with the song—along with the rest of the world—I waited anxiously until she announced her debut album, SOUR. A week after its arrival, I confidently knew all the words and sang along to each song as if my heart had also been broken by Rodrigo’s ex-boyfriend, Joshua Bassett. This album oozed teen angst and was released at the most perfect time in my life so that I could thoroughly soak up each lyric. One of my fondest memories occurred on the last day of school sophomore year, my friends and I just got in one of our cars and drove around aimlessly blaring this album, and as silly as it sounds, it wrapped up my sophomore year in the most nostalgic way.

Junior year – Harry’s House by Harry Styles

I spent some time trying to decide what album could have possibly defined this year, my favorite year of high school, and I concluded that Harry’s House was the best contender. Once again, this album came out near the end of the school year, but it still resonates with the year as a whole. After having the privilege of seeing Styles in concert in September of 2021, it felt as though I started and ended my junior year with his music. This full circle moment truly defined my year, the album he performed on tour was Fineline which was another album I fully immersed myself in during my freshman year. The contents of both these albums, though both in the realm of pop, had different undertones and meanings. Harry’s House had an indescribable relation to my junior year as a whole, those thirteen tracks excited me from the moment it began, just as my junior year made me feel.

My not-so-original taste in music may present me as basic, but as a peel back the layers of each of these albums, I find another version of myself. ”

Senior year – Midnights by Taylor Swift

Although I have barely made a dent into the year, I anticipated my senior year just about the same amount that I anticipated the release of Midnights. This album has just been released, but I still have found comfort and a sense of closure within Swift’s lyrics. I could probably define each year of high school using a Taylor Swift album if I wanted to, but this album concluding my high school experience seems the most fitting. Each track reminds me of the girl I used to be, the girl who use to blare “Shake It Off” and dance alone in her room. I wish I could pinpoint the exact reason this album has so much meaning to me, but it seems naturally impossible. Midnights gives me the proper conclusion to the last four years, although my midnights may have been spent writing essays and not hit songs, I feel Swift’s story resonates with me in more ways than one.

I could go on and on about the multitude of albums that have made me who I am, but the most influential have been the ones I indulged in my most formative years. My not-so-original taste in music may present me as basic, but as a peel back the layers of each of these albums, I find another version of myself. 

I cannot seem to trace back the exact moment when I attached myself to the deeper meanings of each song on these albums, but I know that when one of these tunes plays I will always connect it to the teenage experiences I will one day long for.