What MCHS is listening to


Sophomore Carraway Best and Junior Adam Close enjoying music on the breezeway

AirPods have become as synonymous with the average high school student’s attire as wearing a hoodie no matter the weather. Regardless of how official the location or serious the time in school, it is always a common occurrence to notice someone nodding their head or mouthing the lyrics to whatever is blaring into their ears.  It is not rare in the least to pass by a peer who happens to be wearing earbuds, but what is rare is getting the opportunity to discover what is really playing in them. Although you can guess or stand awkwardly close and attempt to overhear, those options hardly suffice. So in the name of all the curious people, I have questioned a sample group of five, willing people, to try and get to the bottom of “What is Madison County High School listening to?”

In each brief student interview, I inquired about several parallel topics in order to give a character to the musical taste. Once I gave a thorough listen to their specific track I also included both personal and objective insight regarding their musical preference. Despite having a few guiding prompts, I kept the discussion as genuine and spontaneous as possible to maintain authenticity. I also made an effort to seek out a random variation of subjects for my questioning, to make sure the results accurately represent all of MCHS, not just a select few.

Zora Guest is a senior at MCHS who enjoys going to the gym and petting her cat. She was listening to Baby Keem, a California-based alternative band with heavy trap influence. The specific track she was playing was “booman” from his 2021 hit album Melodic Blue. When it debuted, Melodic Blue gained massive traction on Tiktok along with rave reviews from critics.  The song “booman” has an indisputable uplifting beat that Anthony Fantano has described as, “unique, gorgeous, and supremely whousy.” Baby Keem lacks obscurity with more than 14 million Spotify listeners monthly, and “booman” is one of his less lyrically impressive works. However, I can forgive Zora for that because of how effervescent the melody is. Among her other favorite musicians are Childish Gambino and Tyler the Creator whose genres are comparable to Baby Keem.

Amaia Vallejo is passionate about cheering for the Madison County High School team and her involvement in theater. She ordinarily listens to Kanye, but the record she happened to be indulging in was “Kevin’s Heart” by J. Cole. Cole is a hip-hop artist renowned for his incredibly diligent, sophisticated, and at times philosophical ciphers. “Kevin’s Heart” is a pop culture reference poking fun at famous comedian Kevin Hart’s marital issues. The music video released with the song consists of Kevin Hart seemingly tending to his errands, throughout this day-to-day routine Kevin’s faced with a number of temptations, challenging his loyalty to his wife. It appears his decision to either act on the trails of his devotion or not makes no difference in how society, especially women, judges him. J. Cole drives home the theme of the mixtape with excellence by associating the perceived glory of drug use with the shortcomings of men and adultery as a whole. All in all, I would consider this song to be a master stroke with incredible listenability. 

Blay Htoo is a sophomore in MCHS whose favorite artists include The Kid Laroi and Juice WRLD. In terms of extra-curriculars, he works at Maggie’s Cafe in Comer. The song he was listening to was “Maze” by Juice WRLD.  From a modern rap standpoint, the project has aged very poorly, but from an art standpoint, it still perpetuates a relevant message. Like much of his work, Juice WRLD sings in Autotune about his self-medicating drug abuse and the contempt he holds for life. Following his overdose shortly after the release of this album “Maze” takes on more meaning; serving as an infamous wake-up call regarding the severity of the opioid epidemic. The vocals are slow and smooth along with melancholic lyrics which overall create a sense of sadness for the listener to revel in.

Noah Braswell is a Junior this year. He also happens to be on the high school swim team. Staying true to the classic country genre, Noah listed singers Keith Whitley and Johnny Cash as his personal favorites. Country is a hesitant category for many, yet Keith Whitley’s “I’m No Stanger To The Rain” bears little resemblance to the atrocity that is modern pop country. While it is not exactly my forte, I confidently say I see the value in “I’m No Stanger To The Rain’s” execution of the ideal clash between wholesome traditional ideals and western grit. Keith tells of his struggles with the “devil” and his innate ability to overcome tribulations. Considering the tape is nearly thirty-five years old, I would say it has aged like fine wine. 

When asked what Aiden Rutledge, a Senior, did with his free time he responded, “Dragons, Scorpions, etc.” The track Aiden’s Ears entertained is “I’m Only Sleeping” by The Beatles. “I’m Only Sleeping” is surreal in a way that can only be described as dreamlike and familiar, much like other Beatles tracks such as “Yellow Submarine”. Even the cover art is nondescript and vaguely reminiscent of hallucinations. Somehow, the Beatles achieved a musical tone that you could play anywhere- both while falling asleep or at a party.  It should come as no surprise that the Beatles have one of the best songs on this list and it would be the track for which there is the highest likelihood that I will give a re-listen.

Even though this article demonstrates how vast the contrast in personality can be, the experience of listening to music in MCHS is a universal one. The feeling of enjoying one of your favorite songs is something we are lucky to have the privilege of sharing as a school.