Creativity out of Chaos

Within the pandemic, artists have not been slowing down their release of music. Recount what City High thought were the best songs and albums.


Rachel Marsh

The album covers of Kid Crow by Conan Gray, WAP by Cardi B, Drivers License by Olivia Rodrigo, and Folklore by Taylor Swift.

Rachel Marsh, Photo Editor, Reporter

Disclaimer: These songs might not apply to everyone, this is a generalization. Everyone has different music tastes or they might not even listen to music.

Over the course of 2020 into 2021, artists have continued to showcase their passion by releasing new music. Taking a look back at quarantine and heading into the new year still in quarantine, let’s take a look back at the biggest songs and albums. 

According to Rolling Stone, the top 5 songs of 2020, that came out in 2020, were “August” by Taylor Swift, “People I’ve Been Sad” by Christine and the Queens, “Key West (Philosophers Pirate)” by Bob Dylan, “WAP” by Cardi B feat. Megan Thee Stallion, and “Dynamite” by BTS. In a survey to the school, the winner was WAP with 38.2% of the vote. Coming close behind in second was “August”, and the tie for third between “Key West” and “Dynamite”. “People I’ve Been Sad” did not receive any votes.

“WAP” by Cardi B feat Megan Thee Stallion came out on August 7, 2020 and sparked controversy. The lyrics became quite popular and won the American Music Award for Favorite Song Rap/Hip Hop and a People Choice Award for Favorite Collaboration Song. It was at the number one spot on Billboard’s top 100 for a time and in the week following its release, earned 93 million streams in the US.

“I think WAP is a very interesting song to say the least. It’s definitely not song of the year, but it has a nice beat over it and the fact that two black women can create a song that tops charts is really really cool. It’s also a song that’s fun to just blast in the car with your friends while you scream the lyrics,” Elianno Bowen-Burt ‘22 said.

Moving onto albums, Rolling Stone had their top 5 as Future Nostalgia by Dua Lipa, Rough and Rowdy Days by Bob Dylan, YHLQMDLG by Bad Bunny, Fetch the Bolt Cutters by Fiona Apple, and in first place Folklore by Taylor Swift. Those songs ranked differently at City High, with Folklore taking a bigger lead with 54.6% followed by Rough and Rowdy Days by Bob Dylan, Future Nostalgia by Dua Lipa, YHLQMDLG by Bad Bunny, and Fetch the Bolt Cutters by Fionna Apple.

Taylor Swift was quite busy this quarantine with not just one album, but two. Folklore was followed by the sister album Evermore, channeling folk roots in a new era for Swift. Folklore was released in July, Evermore released in December with 33 tracks total between the two. Swift is known for her lyrics. According to her fans, she did not disappoint on these two albums. Top songs “Champagne Problems”, “Betty” and “Invisible string” earned Folklore 289.85 million streams of its songs within the first week, making it the biggest streaming week of 2020 for any album by a woman and biggest non-rap album this year, according to Billboard.

“I love folklore because the songs are able to bring me a little bit of peace in this otherwise hectic time. Taylor’s lyricism inspires me so much as an artist,” Ian Allen ‘21 said.

Coming in a different category were music fads – songs that are on repeat for a week straight. Right at the beginning of quarantine, Conan Gray released his debut album Kid Krow and his song “Heather” became quite popular, earning over 380 million cumulative streams on Spotify as well as a long-lasting tik tok trend. 

“I think the song is creative and original. He has a unique voice that a lot of people like to listen to, especially for this song,” Jake Roth ‘22 said.

 One more recent musical fad was “Driver’s License” by Olivia Rodrigo. Earning more than 65 million streams on Spotify in its first week, the song broke Spotify’s record for most streams in a single week. The heartbreak ballad struck the heartstrings of many listeners and also sparked  many tik tok trends.

“I like Drivers License not only because it’s a fantastic song, but it also has made a really great community of people who are just frustrated with past relationships which I completely understand,” said Megan Fields ‘21. “I’ve had some pretty bad experiences with past ‘flames’ and the song captured it very well.”

Overall, during quarantine, there has been no shortage of songs to top the charts and break records. Whether the song is a pump-up or about heartbreak, artists have continued to share their words and beats with the world.

“I’ve found music to be incredibly helpful over quarantine. It’s allowed me to take a break from the world when it gets a little hectic,” Sophie Brenton ‘24 said.