Unwrapping Spotify Wrapped 2021 at DHS



Why does everybody love to hate Spotify Wrapped?

The anticipated 2021 Spotify Wrapped has been available to users of the streaming service for well over two months now, inviting music fanatics and casual enjoyers alike to explore their own listening habits of the year. Though the annual event is best known for showing individual users their stats, it also shows a wrap up of the platform’s most streamed songs, artists, and genres. 

Spotify’s presence can be seen throughout DHS (take a walk around B-floor during any passing period and you’ll see dozens of students listening to their new favorite song or a carefully curated playlist), so while it’s no doubt that the student body certainly has their own unique spotify stats, what do they think of the music giant’s year in review? 

Top Artists

With over 9.1 billion streams, Bad Bunny takes the spot as the #1 streamed artist this year. This should come as no surprise due to his large global presence – especially in Latin America – but many DHS students were surprised when they heard this. 

In fact, when this statistic was brought up many were confused as to how the Puerto Rican rapper managed to make such an impact compared to more western artists, such as Olivia Rodrigo or Harry Styles. To quote 2023’s class treasurer Nina Cunha, who’s top artist was Conan Gray, “Who is Bad Bunny?”

Trailing behind Bad Bunny was Taylor Swift, who made her mark in 2021 by announcing the re-release of her earlier discography to reclaim ownership over her first six albums. Following this was the re-release of her two studio albums Fearless and Red, now notably dubbed with a (Taylor’s Version) stamp at the end of each track and album title to symbolize the reclaiming of her work. 

Past nostalgia worked with current growing pains to drive her well known All Too Well (Ten Minute Version), aimed at former partner Jake Gyllanhaal, up the charts and create somewhat of a Taylor Swift Renaissance among the general public and DHS students. Junior Regan Leconte put it simply, “I love Taylor Swift” and junior Ana Oliveira expresses what many long time and new fans were thinking when she released the long awaited single. “Taylor Swift is the music industry.”

For every fan there’s a critic, and Swift’s re-release of her notorious break-up anthems sparked plenty of criticism. Junior Lauren Augusto believes, “Taylor Swift shouldn’t have rekindled what went on between her and Jake Gyllanhaal.”

Junior Brontë Massucco has a similar viewpoint when talking about Swift’s reason for her presence on the 2021 charts. “I’ll be supportive on other occasions but Demolition is just too good of a movie.” 

Conflicting pop culture opinions aside, Spotify’s 2021 stats saw artists like BTS, Drake, and Justin Beiber fill up the rest of the top five ranking. While most have conflicting opinions on these controversial but staple artists within the music industry, one anonymous interviewee cut to the chase with their opinion on the overall list this year. 

“Bad Bunny is annoying, Taylor Swift gives me a headache, BTS scares me, Justin Beiber is an idiot, and Drake is fine.”

Top Songs

Unsurprisingly, the number one song of 2021 was Olivia Rodrigo’s debut single “Driver’s License.” With social media marketing leading to a breakout first week on the charts, few were surprised to hear about this number one placeholder. 

Senior Julia Gilchrest best explains the reason behind Rodrigo’s streaming success, stating, “I definitely feel like TikTok has driven these songs through the roof.”

This reigns true in a digital age where algorithms and relatability have the power to create the next chart-topping single. With a music market catered towards younger generations, it came as no surprise to anyone that the sappy and heartfelt ballad about love and loss found success in an industry fueled by an audience of eager adolescent girls. “Teenage girls definitely have a huge impact on the music industry,” says Gilchrest. 

Following Rodrigo was “Montero” by rapper Little Nas X, accompanied by The Kid Laroi ft Justin Beiber’s “STAY” and another one of Rodrigo’s hit singles “good 4 u.” “Levitating” by Dua Lipa concluded the list at the number 5 spot. 

The overall consensus of this list of songs was less than positive, suggesting the uniqueness and range of DHS students’ music taste. Juniors Madyn Waskiewicz and Robert Magner support this opinion. “Most of those songs weren’t that good. Monteiro was alright though,” says Magner.

Waskiewicz mostly agreed with this statement. “Montero is the best song to come out of this year, and you can quote me on that.”

While Spotify wrapped is a lighthearted insight into musical interests, many students value it and how their unique music taste is reflected as opposed to what songs are trending for the week. The reality is music plays a large role in adolescence, and while Spotify wrapped can be interactive for individuals, on a larger scale it doesn’t always accurately reflect the range of what modern students are listening to. But even with questionable singles and even more questionable top 5 rankings, most students will continue to find themselves patiently waiting for this year’s wrapped, and until then, they’ll still be looking for those new favorite songs and carefully curating those playlists.