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Graduation 2024: Sound of the Times

A reflection on how music has shaped the class of 2024

Finn Wagner

Staff Writer

May 28, 2024

Few aspects of one’s taste are as indicative of his/her personality as someone’s music taste, and this year’s seniors are no strangers to a wide variety of genres. While the world was enraptured in COVID-19’s ravenous rampage, we began high school as “Blinding Lights” by The Weekend broke seemingly every record imaginable. The radio charts have been far from perfect as “Astronaut in the Ocean” by Masked Wolf haunted radio stations on its way to the #6 spots on the Billboard Hot 100. More recently, we have witnessed Taylor Swift’s monopolization of the charts, radio, and streaming numbers; and Kendrick Lamar and Drake, not wanting to send us off without a bang, broke into a feud which caused Kendrick to break all-time rap streaming records with “Not like us.”

Some Westfield seniors, though, seem to veer from the most popular for the most reflective. When asked, “What song most reflects your experience at Westfield High School?”Amaya Smith responded, “‘Where’d All the Time Go’ by Bird and Byron.” She specifically enjoys “the theme of the inevitability of growing up,” which is extremely representative of the realization that “adulthood” is just a few days away. Then further states, “The singer’s voice… is so full of soul and memory that it really feels like it is coming from the heart. It has always reminded me of this time of my life, my time at WHS—witnessing myself and my friends grow and experience these complex realities life has to offer.”

Reflective music, for many, is an avenue for change and self-growth, and few albums exhibit these themes as well as Bon Iver’s “For Emma, Forever Ago.” The lyrics, ranging from beautiful to agonizing, each carry a cathectic essence. “That’s what I love about the album,” said Arthur Michelstetter, “the lyrics are about taking what you can from a bad situation and moving forward, and that's exactly what I feel now, and have been for the last four years—my feelings are unable to be danced through; so I must sit with them.” 

For Emma, Forever Ago - Bon Iver’s beautiful voice looms throughout the album, guiding assessments of one's life, and one's future.

Another album that beautifully articulates the embrace of oneself, and one's past is Izzy Rudin’s choice for the album that most reflects her high school experience, “Blonde” by Frank Ocean. Frank was not the only member of Odd Future to get a mention though, Sam Bola described his love for Tyler the Creator’s artistry, “I just love Tyler, he was definitely one of the most important artists [for me] all throughout high school. I remember listening to him right after Igor came out, very, very special times.”

Call Me if You Get Lost - Tyler the Creator’s 7th studio album took home the 2021 Rap Album of the Year at the Grammys, and three years later makes waves of impact on Westfield teens.

Igor and its sharp difference from the typical genre Tyler the Creator creates is a risk that would again be taken when Lil Yachty, a career-long SoundCloud rapper and trap artist, created the blissful and Psychedelic rock album “Let’s Start Here.” Gavin Van Matre chose that album as the most representative of his high school experience.  

Music has helped so many get through the difficult moments when we felt alone like we could seek solace in something without feeling guilt by the product of the reciprocal normal. But music, in these cases, is a substitute for human interaction, and because of this, we asked more seniors about their regrets and the best ways to remedy them


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