Ellie’s Pick: “Ceilings” — Lizzy McAlpine
I have come to the realization that all my intern picks have melancholic lyrics/undertones. I don’t know exactly what that says about me, but continuing with that theme, my most listened to song of 2022 was “Ceilings” by Lizzy McAlpine.
Lizzy McAlpine is a 23 year old singer-songwriter from Philadelphia who dropped out of the Berklee College of Music to pursue a full time music career. Five Seconds Flat, her second studio album, features “Ceilings” as the eighth track. Reaching #1 on Billboard’s “Bubbling Under Hot 100” list and becoming a TikTok trend, the song has gone utterly viral. Clearly making the right decision, McAlpine deserves every single appraisal she receives.
What I love most about McAlpine’s writing is how honest and raw the lyrics are. She portrays feelings everyone experiences in such a cinematic way it’s hard not to imagine yourself in her shoes. An indie-folk ballad, McAlpine describes how it feels to be with a certain someone stating “it feels like the start of a movie I’ve seen before.” Building from gentle vocals and guitar, the climax brings almost overwhelmingly dramatic piano and strings as well as powerful kick drums and snare. She introduces a plot twist with the lyrics “but it’s not real, and you don’t exist,” and contrasts her previous statement saying, “it feels like the end of a movie I’ve seen before.” With the amount of emotion McAlpine poured into this song, “Ceilings” will probably have you reminiscing about a relationship or fantasizing about an unrequited crush, but in the most beautiful, poetic way.
Claire’s Pick: “Nervous” — Madi Diaz
My most listened-to song of the year was “Nervous” by Madi Diaz. Madi is a local legend here in Nashville and I came across her music early last year. Apart of her most recent record History of a Feeling, “Nervous” is an upbeat anthem of self-destruction. With crunchy guitar rhythms and heady drums, at the time of the release, it was the most upbeat-sounding track Diaz had released. The opening line paves the tone for the track reading, “sometimes I lie, sometimes I convince myself that everything’s fine.”
The chorus is the fruit of the track as Madi showcases her higher range and lyrically comes to terms with her habits. “I know why I lie to myself (I know why I lie to myself), I’m not really looking to get healthy” is a refreshing release for the self-destructive yet self-aware individual. “Nervous” is a cathartic combination of honest lyricism and raging rock instrumentation. Madi’s direct, introspective writing style establishes her as a reckoning force among songwriters.
Over the last year, “Nervous” helped me to confront big knots of stirring existential emotions. It drove me to rage so that I could someday reflect. For that, I am thankful.
Caden’s Pick: “Abandoned” — Gemini Syndrome
My most listened-to song of 2022 is the heaviest one that I have had on here so far. The song is “Abandoned” by my favorite band, Gemini Syndrome. This song is the sixth track on their most recent album, 3rd Degree – The Raising, released in October of 2021. This is also the album that influenced me to buy my first vinyl.
“Abandoned” was written by vocalist Aaron Nordstrom after his kung fu teacher made him write a song about his adoption and his rejection of his birth mother. This song is by no means a happy one, with the main emotion felt through the music and lyrics being anger.
With this being the heaviest track that Gemini Syndrome has put out, I can understand being a little apprehensive to dive right in. Some other songs I would suggest just to get started with Gemini Syndrome might be “Remember We Die,” “Die With Me,” “IDK,” or “Say Goodnight.”
Christina’s Pick: “While You’re At It” — Jessie Murph
My most listened-to song of 2022 is “While You’re At It” by Jessie Murph. This heart-wrenchingly catchy breakup anthem is still stuck in my head, and I’d definitely recommend it to anyone in need of a good scream/cry. The track was first released on September 9th 2022, as the seventh track on her 2023 album Drowning.
Jessie Murph is a relatively newer artist that I was lucky to discover in 2021. The eighteen-year-old pop and hip-hop artist was originally born in Nashville before moving to Alabama and began going viral with her music in 2020 on TikTok.
One of my favorite aspects of this song is the melodically catchy electric guitar riffs that are heard multiple times in the track. This is especially noticeable in the chorus when Murph sings the hook, “If you wanna tell me that I ain’t the one, if you wanna tell me that it wasn’t love, then baby while you’re at it why don’t you rip this damn heart out my chest?”. The track was produced by Black River’s grammy-winning songwriter and producer Josh Kerr, who nails the vibe perfectly. Lyrically, Murph discusses the emotions of a relationship ending that we all can relate to; while also adding elements of desperation and betrayal in a way that I haven’t quite heard before.