Ladies and gentlemen, kids of all ages, we’re back with the Observer Spotify (and other music platforms) Wrapped. Our team of student journalists, frequently found at major campus events or hunkered in our office in the basement of South Dining Hall, listen to a lot of music. Maybe even more music than the average listener, as we blast it away during late night production shifts, while traveling to cover Irish athletics or while writing a story.
All that means that we have a lot of Spotify Wrapped data among us. Or, if you’re our esteemed Managing Editor Aidan O’Malley … we have the breakdown of our YouTube Music listening habits. Either way, we’re back with the same project as last year. We will curate a playlist for each department at The Observer and denote, as an organization, our top artists, songs and a bonus award — the top album.
Without further ado, let’s take a look at this year’s Observer Spotify (and other platforms) Wrapped.
Graphics, Photo and Social Media
Top Five Artists: Taylor Swift, Harry Styles, Noah Kahan, Billy Joel, Zara Larsson
We combined these departments due to their smaller nature and created their playlist as such. Over half the respondents from this group featured Taylor as their top artist, a trend that will be seen frequently throughout this article. A variety of Swift albums made their presence known in every department, but it was “Fearless” that dominated the Graphics/Photo/Social Media department playlist. Four songs from the album cracked the 25-song playlist, headlined by “The Other Side of the Door.”
A clear second was Harry Styles, who frequently made appearances but played second fiddle to Swift in these rankings. His single “As It Was” and album “Harry’s House” featured prominently, with “As It Was” being one of the top songs throughout The Observer. Rounding out the top five, Noah Kahan’s “Stick Season” earned him a spot in this ranking, and a few of his songs appear throughout other playlists as well. There was a significant drop off into the final two rankings, but Billy Joel and Zara Larsson each notched a top-artist ranking in the department to claim a spot on the top five.
The overall playlist includes six Taylor Swift songs and no other artist repeats. It can be found here.
Top 5 Artists: Taylor Swift, Harry Styles, Phoebe Bridgers, Dylan, Kendrick Lamar
Taylor was yet again a clear winner in News, as the top two artists from 2021 came through again this year. Swift was the top artist for 47% of respondents in the News Department, and Styles earned 18% of the remaining top-artist slots. That was easily enough to claim the top two spots in the artist rankings. Three songs from “Red (Taylor’s Version)” made the playlist, highlighted by the 10-minute version of “All Too Well.” “Late Night Talking” and “Grapejuice” from Styles’ “Harry’s House” led the way for the runner-up.
Outside of the top two artists, Phoebe Bridgers, the Observer’s overall No. 3 artist from 2021, makes her first appearance. Three of her songs make an appearance in the playlist, with a pair from her album “Punisher” making the cut. Dylan and Kendrick Lamar round out the list, although you won’t find any of the latter on the playlist, as none of his individual songs cracked the rankings.
With 14 of the songs belonging to the top three artists (and 16 to the top four), there’s less diversity in the News playlist, but the vibes stay immaculate. Find it here.
Top 5 Artists: Taylor Swift, Sufjan Stevens, Kendrick Lamar, Florence & The Machine, Harry Styles
The Scene department is able to dethrone Styles from his regular No. 2 slot, although Taylor remains atop the list. For the second-straight year, Sufjan Stevens claims the No. 2 spot among all Scene artists. His song “Back to Oz” is the headliner on the playlist. Swift was actually considerably less dominant among Scene respondents, but no other artist was able to clearly seize control, allowing Taylor to claim the top spot for the third-straight department. Two songs from her “folklore” album boosted her numbers on this playlist.
Outside the top two, we get another appearance from Kendrick Lamar, but again, the artist has no songs featured in the top 25. Florence & The Machine is another new name, buoyed into the rankings by their song “King,” and Styles rounds out the list. “Late Night Talking” was again a hit, keeping Styles just barely in the top five.
The Scene department had a couple of the most noticeable quirks. One respondent produced a top five songs all by Oingo Boingo, so a couple are present on this playlist. Additionally, cracking the list as the 25th and final song was “Hedwig’s Theme.” Maybe it was music used to fall asleep, or maybe it hyped them up, but either way the Harry Potter music found its way onto the list. The full playlist, featuring 20 different artists, is here.
Top 5 Artists: Taylor Swift, Morgan Wallen, Florida Georgia Line, Machine Gun Kelly, Zach Bryan
Florida Georgia Line and Machine Gun Kelly return as headliners on the Sports playlist. Taylor avenges herself after slipping behind OneRepublic in 2021 on the Sports rankings. This year, she rose back up to No. 1, putting herself one department away from a clean sweep. Country artists Morgan Wallen and Zach Bryan round out the group.
“All Too Well,” the ten-minute version (of course), headlined this playlist as well, but it was the only Taylor song to make the list. By far, the Sports department boasted the most varied playlist, with no single artist being the primary artist for more than one song. Morgan Wallen featured in a second song, alongside his hit “Sand in My Boots,” but he was the only artist to appear twice.
In general, the Sports department playlist brings to mind some summer vibes with the heavy country presence, as well as some expected pre-game hype. The inclusion of the song “A-OK” is notable as it’s important to mention that Associate Sports Editor Andrew McGuinness listened to the song over 1,000 times, with the tune being the backdrop of the Philadelphia Phillies’ playoff run. You can find the full playlist here
Top 5 Artists: Taylor Swift, Harry Styles, Hozier, Conan Gray, Lorde
The sweep is complete. With three first-place nods in the smallest set of respondents, Taylor Swift easily claimed the top-artist spot in Viewpoint, making it all five departments. Seven of her songs cracked the top 25. Styles interestingly showcased some of his variety of music by claiming the No. 2 overall spot despite not having one of his signature songs crack the playlist. Rather, Hozier, coming in at the No. 3 spot, featured five songs on the playlist. That included a trio from his playlist “Wasteland, Baby!” and two additional songs. The final two artists on the list each earned a song apiece on the playlist. Lorde makes her return to Viewpoints’ top five after checking in at No. 3 last year.
The full playlist features 15 different artists and can be found here.
Observer’s Top Five Songs
- “All Too Well (10 minute version),” Taylor Swift
- “As It Was,” Harry Styles
- “Late Night Talking,” Harry Styles
- “Stick Season,” Noah Kahan
- “Movement,” Hozier
Album of the year: “Red (Taylor’s Version)” by Taylor Swift.
Observer’s Top 5 Artists
No. 5 – Morgan Wallen
Morgan Wallen garnered a second-place finish in the sports department, which was enough to just barely crack the top five. “Sand in My Boots,” along with his feature in “Broadway Girls” were among his prominent songs on Observer playlists, and Wallen gives the top five some country representation.
No. 4 – Sufjan Stevens
After appearing just in the Scene rankings last year, Stevens did the same but did so more heavily, showing up in several respondents’ data. The indie artist remains popular with the Observer despite fewer individual hits appearing on the playlists.
No. 3 – Kendrick Lamar
Another weird phenomenon, as Kendrick showed up on two different departments’ top five artists despite a grand total of zero songs appearing on the playlists. His latest album, “Mr. Morale and The Big Steppers,” released in May 2022, provided enough for Lamar to stay relevant in 2022, although the rapper evidently lacked a major hit, at least among Observer listeners.
No. 2 – Harry Styles
No one is surprised by this one. Styles bumps up from No. 4 to No. 2 in this year’s Observer top-artist rankings, after claiming three second-place finishes in five artists. His hit song “As It Was” frequently appeared in top-five song lists, while a couple of songs from “Harry’s House,” kept his music trending among our listeners.
No. 1 – Taylor Swift
To the shock of no one, the happiness of many, (and maybe the chagrin of a few), Taylor remains the No. 1 artist of The Observer for the second year running. Of the 125 songs featured in the five playlists above, 23 belong to Taylor Swift, who also claimed The Observer’s top overall song with her ten-minute version of “All Too Well,” featured on The Observer’s top album, “Red (Taylor’s Version).”
So while times have changed since I last wrote this article, some things may never change. And Taylor being played in the wee morning hours as we put the finishing touches on that day’s paper is one of those things that I don’t believe will change for a long time.
Contact Aidan at firstname.lastname@example.org.