Gazette Wrapped: Favorite Song Reviews

Arts Analysis By Mason Zelenko

The end of the school year is upon us. What a year it has been! As Grace’s resident music critic, I compiled a list of the music some Gazette staffers have been listening to. Perhaps these songs influence their articles. Perhaps they listen to them for fun. I appreciated these songs, and their reviews and hope you do too. Happy summer!

Veronica H. ‘25: “Going To California” – Led Zeppelin

Veronica’s Take:
“​​Going to California may be a wistful song about leaving a seeming ‘past life”’ behind, but it is also quite hopeful. There is sadness and trepidation, leaving a 1woman unkind,’ but the singer’s eyes look to the horizon, finding joy in the possibilities of the future: “Someone told me there’s a girl out there with love in her eyes and flowers in her hair.” There is a breath at the start, the preparation for a new beginning. This song has been important to me this year because I am moving to another country, a decision that I was very conflicted about because I knew I would miss a lot of my current life. However, I realized there was even more to look forward to, and that outweighed any negatives that held me back from choosing to move to Spain.”

Mason’s Take:
The guitar melodies give it that southern twang, while it remains folksy at the beginning, thanks to Robert Plant’s vocals—a nice sentiment, as Veronica pointed out, what with the whole “leaving” motif. I have Led Zeppelin IV on vinyl, and this song seems like one that I will spin from time to time. Those lonely nights.

Milo P. ‘25: “It’s The End Of The World As We Know It (And I Feel Fine)” – R.E.M.

Milo’s Take:
“It shows why getting emotional in times of societal dismay takes away from the beauty of life.”

Mason’s Take:
If “We Didn’t Start The Fire,” was even more mayhem-inducing.– R.E.M., the Atlanta staple, makes me feel like the comet is coming right towards Fulton County, GA, and their non-commital to said fact is punk and stupidly glorious. Good cross-vocals on the chorus.

Fiona M. ‘26: “Time To Pretend” – MGMT

Fiona’s Take:
“It is cheerful and gets me excited for summer.”

Mason’s Take:
I’ve got to give it to them, I think MGMT and their revival of rock in its distinguished, altered form is excellent for music. Synths here, synths there, synths everywhere! It is magnanimous and honestly a little like R.E.M. in its slight quirkiness. Not to skirt around the subject, but the guitar work feels like summer, too.

Pippa L. ‘25: “Let The Light In” – Lana Del Rey

Pippa’s Take:
“It is very calming and relaxing to listen to.”

Mason’s Take:
Dang, some of you guys are in your feels! Lana is a stunning and ethereal vocalist, and similarly to “Going to California,” the song is leaving me and bringing me in simultaneously. It is just more subdued. Chilling harmony with Father John Misty on the chorus brings it together.

Cassie B. ‘26: “Storms” – Fleetwood Mac

Cassie’s Take:
“I like that the melody is simple. I think it contrasts the depth of the lyrics. The lyrics are deep and resonate with the listener. I love the way Stevie Nicks’s voice sounds, it’s simple and beautiful.”

Mason’s Take:
A song that plays like Fleetwood Mac and reads like Frank Ocean. Heart-wrenching stuff from Stevie and the gang, including “Every hour of fear I spend / My body tries to cry / Living through each empty night.” Artists can find ways to make something jump off the page and hug you, push you away, or hit you like a raindrop. BRB, listening to this on a cold summer night.

Hallie R. ‘25: “Wish You Were Here” – Pink Floyd

Hallie’s Take:
“My cousin showed me this song over winter break, and I listen to it almost daily. It’s a very good and timeless song. It is a little sad, but it is one of those songs that is perfect to listen to as you wind down from the day. It also has this long intro that builds up slowly, and I love it!”

Mason’s Take:

“Wish You Were Here” is one of Pink Floyd’s finest moments. Trapped in the psychological effects of his trauma, former lead guitarist of the band Syd Barrett completely left the group, and the song beckons for him back in destitute honor. Glorious, triumphant, melancholy songwriting, if you could even describe it as such.

Media provided by Juliette Robertson ’25

Zarina M. ‘26: “Dreams” – Fleetwood Mac

Zarina’s Take:

“The song is catchy and easy to listen to whenever. It’s a great subway song and study song.”

Mason’s Take:
All I remember about “Dreams” is that one trend on TikTok a couple of years back. You know, the one where the guy is skateboarding and drinking that sugary drink? Classic rock is making a comeback, not in the way Greta Van Vleet intended, but in terms of more young people revering these older artists with a renewed sense of passion. Songs like “Dreams” are timeless in this way.

Sophia S. ‘25: “For Once In My Life” – Stevie Wonder

Sophia’s Take:
“Because it feels like summer.”

Mason’s Take:
This is a very happy song for anyone who just wants to feel good. Stevie on the harmonica is classic, and everything sounds ahead of its time whenever I listen to him. That solo is perfectly timed, and there is emotion, too.

Zamira F. ‘24: “Supercut” – Lorde

Zamira’s Take:
“THIS SONG IS SOOOO FIREEEEEEEE. It is good when you’re feeling happy or sad or anything in between.”

Mason’s Take:
Lorde: the Australian who took pop by storm. I like some songs from Melodrama, including “Green Light,” and they all have this hyper-realistic, “could be in a movie” type of vibe. This song has a certain build and insatiable rush to it, and it does work in both melancholy and joyous settings.

Alejandro I. ‘25: “TQMQA” – Eladio Carrion

Alejandro‘s Take:
“It’s a song that I listened to in the winter when the sun would go down at 4 p.m., and it seemed like the cold and dark were never-ending. In a way, it got me through the winter as it made me think of the warm weather and tranquility of the summer to come.”

Mason’s Take:
I think that reggaeton is one of the most danceable genres out there. And this song would bring anyone out of winter depression. Bright chords in the back let Carrion’s voice sing through pleasantly. It is simple, it is catchy, it is modern, and a great song.

Kristina E. ‘24: “Landslide” – Fleetwood Mac

Kristina’s Take:
“Senior vibes.”

Mason’s Take:
HEAVY SENIOR VIBES. I can just picture them in their huddled masses in the commons on that last Friday, balling their eyes out and finally conquering senioritis. Simple guitar melodies heal all wounds or open new ones to distract you from those most painful. I’ll miss you guys next year.

Mason Zelenko: “November” – Tyler, The Creator

Mason’s Take:
“November” by Tyler the Creator is perfectly weird for me right now. I was on the phone with a friend last night, and I showed her the song, inadvertently asking her what her “November” was, “November” being any moment or idea stuck in a time that you are fond of. This morning, instead of clicking shuffle and letting the song be picked for me, I sought out “November.” Tyler asks everyone listening, “Tell me what’s your November / is it a person?” His leaving the question of what “November” is up to the crowd makes it ambiguous. Another aspect of someone’s November is that it is not just a reflection on the moment in time itself in remembrance; it is also supposed to capture the zeitgeist, the spirit of the time of that moment, in all its good and bad. In terms of the song itself, it is a mixture of bright synths, slowed-down and reverb drums, and witty lyricism.

Again, it has been a great year for The Gazette. Tons of in-depth article writing. Tons of research. Tons of high-class music.

Mason Zelenko ‘25, the author, is a staff writer and one of next year’s Deputy Editors for The Grace Gazette.