The Sidekick Staff’s Songs of the Year

Saniya Koppikar and Josh Campbell


Angelina Liu, Executive Editor-in-Chief

On the fifth track of Caprisongs, “oh my love” by FKA twigs explores the delicate balance of a modern day relationship. With samples from FKA Twig’s close friends Suzannah Pettigrew and Abigail Sakari, the catchy song expresses FKA Twig’s yearning of wanting more out of a relationship than a simple fling but struggling to take action due to unresolved feelings. The verses act as an anthem, with FKA Twig’s repeating “Everybody knows that I want your love/Why you playing, baby boy, what’s up?” The upbeat synths and bass accompany the song’s deeper meaning, allowing listeners to connect with the track in a bittersweet way.

Manasa Mohan, Executive Editorial Page Editor

The long-awaited and highly anticipated collaboration between Taylor Swift and Lana Del Rey culminated in the fourth track, “Snow on the Beach” on Swift’s latest album, Midnights. The song depicts someone realizing that your feelings are reciprocated and questioning whether your life is a dream or reality. Rey’s vocals intertwine with Swift’s in the chorus as they harmonize about the moment when everything “lines up” in a relationship. The song even references both current relationships and past songs as Swift sings about the beautiful emotion she has felt and how she hopes to hold onto it forever. The dreamy, warm and rhythmic yet haunting melodies combined with the delicate vocals make for a poetic masterpiece that connects with listeners as they take a journey through a once in a lifetime feeling.  

Olivia Short, Sports Visual Media Editor

Cigarettes After Sex returned to the music scene on Nov. 15 with its single “Pistol” to finish off 2022. “Pistol” cuts deep, discussing how the artist longs for their lover from a past relationship. No matter what lead singer Greg Gonzalez does, he cannot seem to move on, and puts this person on an unwavering pedestal.  In a sense, just like the artist, we are all waiting for someone or something to return into our lives. “Pistol” is relatable for those who will continuously take a shot in the dark, looking to hit replay on a relationship with hopeless optimism. Reflecting on memories can lead us to hold on, creating a delusion of what you used to mean to someone.

Josh Campbell, Page Design Editor

Denzel Curry’s “Walkin” from Melt My Eyes See Your Future is a punchy track with clever lyricism and an in-your-face attitude. Beginning with a heavenly chorus to the sound of boots crunching against the dirt, Curry speaks on his path through past hardships and finding redemption in a world of failure and violence. All of this is masked by Curry’s dynamic delivery, creating a undoubtedly catchy song. 

I’m watchin’ massacres turn to runnin’ mascara, but anywho // For the pain, see what this Henny do // So we can see what lies beneath as we pour up a swig of truth // The sun sets as I sip a few

Curry’s clash of meaningful lyrics with a serene beat produces a one of a kind track: my choice for 2022’s song of the year. 

Maya Palavali, Staff Cartoonist

I found my favorite song through TikTok. Scrolling through my feed, I grew tired and was about to close the app. Then, a video popped up of a girl playing a snippet of a song, one that made me stop in my tracks. “No, I am no longer funny ’cause I miss the way you laugh.” Such a simple line carried the weight of a thousand thoughts so easily. I found out the song was “Stick Season” by Noah Kahan and was hooked. For a few weeks, it was all I listened to. The lyrics tell a story about regret, blame and self awareness, as Kahan sings about confronting a loss he is confused about, unafraid to admit his faults. We all feel many emotions at once, but I’ve never heard anyone say they were half of the problem. The croon of Kahan’s voice has many meanings when he says “it’s half my fault, but I just like to play the victim.” The rhythmic strumming, the peppy beat and the straightforward tune directly contrast the lyrics. In just a bit over three minutes, Kahan explains the complexity of loss and missed opportunity in a poetic way I’ve yet to see in another song.I was never a folk genre type of person, but this song has opened my eyes to a world I may have overlooked.

Torie Peck, Copy Editor

“Fifth of May” is one of Zach Bryan’s most recent singles, released alongside The Greatest Day of My Life. The song opens with a soft acoustic riff before Bryan’s voice consumes listeners’ ears, singing about a resurfaced memory of his late mother. Bryan ties his personal experiences into themes of nostalgia and the happiness that a memory can bring as he looks upon old photographs and a box full of memories.

Gettin’ high’s easy, gettin’ drunk’s fine // It’s the gettin’ by that’ll get a soul down // So if you need me, know that I’m bleedin’ // Somewhere alone in some coastal town

Memories capture emotion, and Bryan has a beautiful way of showing it. The longing for happiness is evident as Bryan returns to a coastal town with these memories in tow, regaining happiness through a little piece of his past.

Sahith Mocharla, Staff Writer

The opposite of love isn’t hate; apathy is. Hate isn’t the opposite of love, rather it is love gone bad. Joji’s “Die for You” from his latest album Smithereens is a masterclass in explaining the difficulties of losing someone. Though you may struggle with understanding and accepting the happiness of one you once called your own, your love for them eventually turns not to jealousy but acceptance, finding peace in their happiness even as you diminish without their presence. “Die for You” is the song of the year for the perfection it exemplifies, its heartfelt concept on a touching subject, and its amazing vocals augmented by a slow, melodic beat that makes one recall rainy days and dark nights. Sad has never felt so good.

Sahasra Chakilam, Staff Writer

“Mercury,” the third track and lead single of Gemini Rights by Steve Lacy, is exhilarating right from the start. With supporting vocals of Foushee, Lacy explores the bitterness of his past relationships and reveals his own double-sided nature. Lacy’s lyricism expresses the themes of relationships well, as he tells a story through the lyrics; he provides insight to his listeners by giving a line by line replay of the thoughts that went through his mind during his break-up, and his following path of contentment. 

“Mercury running amuck in my mind/Can’t tell if I’m winning or falling behind”

Lacy utilizes a bossa-nova production to generate satisfying rhythms and a vibrant cadence throughout his singing, especially in his post-chorus.

Araceli Reynoso, Staff Writer

I can’t lie, I first heard “Bad Habit” on Instagram while scrolling through my reels. I thought the song was pretty sweet, and the beat was mesmerizing. I soon realized it was a popular song, as I would start to hear it very often. The more I heard it, the more I liked the song. Although, I didn’t like how the only lyric I knew was “I bite my tongue, it’s a bad habit.” Then again, it made sense because that part of the song was being used the most in both Instagram reels and TikToks. So, I went and played the full song, and started to learn the lyrics. The main lyric I know from the song, “I bite my tongue it’s a bad habit” actually stuck out to me a lot. I have a bad habit of my own, literally. It’s one that I have to work on and get better at, slowly but surely. Another lyric was “You can’t surprise a Gemini, I’m everywhere, I’m cross-eyed.” My astrological sign is a Gemini, and I felt like I could relate so well to this lyric. I like how it references that Geminis are the symbol of twins. So to be everywhere and cross-eyed makes it even better. There’s just so many segments of this song that I feel like I can relate to. It’s not often I add a song that I like from reels. 

Minori Kunte, Staff Writer

“Nonsense” was released this July in emails i can’t send by Sabrina Carpenter. Carpenter describes the stage of liking someone where you are completely in love, to the point where everything else seems great because of them. Since I was in middle school, I have liked the music Sabrina Carpenter has created. Her creations have shaped my own music preferences to this day, and her versatility provides a song for any situation. Originally, I heard “Nonsense” through video clips of Carpenter’s concerts that went viral because of how she changed the ending lyrics of the song for each city she performed it in. The light-hearted instrumentals and witty, satisfying lyrics make this song so easy to get addicted to. Especially in this stressful time of year, “Nonsense” is my stress reliever. It is certain to put me in a good mood, and is a song I will easily memorize, scream the lyrics to and sing to my heart’s content.

Shreya Ravi, Staff Photographer

JVKE’s “golden hour” combines pop-rap and powerful belting in the chorus, making the song feel almost magical. The highlight of the song is the violin and piano chords running through it. Unlike most songs, “golden hour” relies heavily on piano chords, with the first 15 seconds starting with a string of broken chords followed by a rap in the first and second verse. The song also ends with a minute of a violin playing the melody, followed with more instrumental creativity on JVKE’s part. JVKE’s vocals and chorus were flawless and defined the song’s tones of romance and love.The instrumental arrangement of piano and strings capture the emotions that one feels when seeing something beautiful, just as the title “golden hour” suggests. 

Meghan Chiang, Staff Designer

Every daydreamer’s worst nightmare: being faced with reality. “Movies” by Conan Gray exhibits the idealized vision. It describes the emotional experience of wanting a movie-like relationship and the harsh reality it brings when those expectations aren’t met. Gray describes the feeling of romanticizing relationships like the ones we see on screen. Although a relationship like this may not be realistic, most people have fantasized about it at least once or twice. Throughout the song, you feel as if you’re on an emotional rollercoaster, knowing that your love isn’t what you pictured and that the person you fell in love with was a part of something you idealized in your head. Not only are the lyrics moving and impactful, but his voice and the way certain parts of the song are layered together also evoke a growing emotional response. With the intensity of the instrumentals and the emotions in Gray’s voice, it’s easy to relate to his want of a movie-like relationship despite knowing that it’s not what you’re going to get.

Follow Saniya (@SaniyaKoppikar) and @CHSCampusNews on Twitter.