Our Teachers Top Music Picks Of 2022


Zana Halili, Staff Writer

With the credibility of the Grammys coming into question every year with controversial picks, music-listeners feel cheated by a system fueled by bias and favoritism. To get a more honest, down-to-earth read on the best albums of the year, we turned to the people we trust most: our teachers.

For those who know Ms. Benowitz, one of Baruch’s 9th and 10th grade math teachers, the fact that Harry’s House is her top album of the year should come as no surprise.

Released in May, the album took the world by storm with its first single, “As It Was”, quickly becoming the number one single in both the US and the UK. With a memorable hook–coming in the form of a voice recording of his young goddaughter–and a catchy chorus, it embodies everything necessary to create a perfect single.

Benowitz recommends the bubbly opening track “Music For A Sushi Restaurant”, and the mellow yet explosive “Satellite”. She says she listens to the album when she runs. “It’s something about the background music…yeah his lyrics are great, but the instrumentals put me in a happy mood”.

To Benowitz, the album is a must-listen. “Everyone can get some type of interpretation from it. Can’t you imagine a little baby rocking out to ‘Music For A Sushi Restaurant’?” 

To Mr. Jacobs, a 11th and 12 grade history teacher at Baruch, the reason why Beyonce’s album Renaissance is the best of the year is simple: “It’s Queen Bee”.

Beyond that, the album is an amalgamation of inspirations; House, club, dance, disco, the list goes on. It’s a victorious celebration of Black, queer culture, paying homage to the artists who came before her while empowering the voices of a future generation. 

Although not necessarily the intended audience, Jacobs still finds enjoyment in the album. He admits he listens to the album, “only when I’m alone, and sometimes in moments of crisis.” The uplifting, danceable lead single “BREAK MY SOUL” is his personal favorite, saying he relates to the song as he knows, “deep down, you won’t break my soul.”

It’s an album that was made to be danced to; it’s impossible to feel down as Beyonce sings and raps over trap beats and choir samples. Jacobs says, “I would recommend this album to young men who might be struggling with knowing their purpose”.

It’s not surprising that Mr. Lewis, an English teacher, would favor an album written by the only rapper to have won a Pulitzer. After a 5 year hiatus, everyone was anxiously awaiting the return of Kendrick Lamar; and Mr. Morale and the Big Steppers did not disappoint. 

Kendrick raps, “I am not for the faint of heart” on the song “Worldwide Steppers”, and Lewis agrees. “It’s a fire album. He gives you bangers in between, but if you listen to every track it’s gonna mess you up”. It’s an album filled with personal reflection, societal critiques, and brief, but edifying glimpses into Lamar’s life.

Despite that, Lewis admits he mostly listens to the album while he commutes. He recommends “N95 ”, a song that can be interpreted as a critique of America’s reaction to COVID,  and the song “Rich Spirit ” that calls out celebrity idolization and narcissism. 

Beyond just the way it sounds, Lewis appreciates the themes and messages the album sends. “It’s such a deep album…he touches on a lot of themes in that album that have not been talked about in hop hop or black culture beyond that, he goes there in conversations that people are not ready to have. I really respect that”.

Looking at Mr. DA, our beloved 11th and 12th grade English teacher, you may not expect him to enjoy experimental europop. But he defies the odds, touting Multitude by Stromae, a Belgian singer, as his favorite of the year.

Despite not necessarily being able to understand Stromae as he sings in French, he is still able to find enjoyment in the music itself, describing it as “emotionally complex”. But there is also a lot of musical complexity found in the album, as he combines many genres.

Like Lewis, DA enjoys listening to the album while he commutes, though after he received a copy of the album on vinyl as a gift, he is excited to listen to it at home too. He recommends the song “Fils de joie”, a powerful pop song that highlights Stromae’s smooth, strong vocals. 

It’s an album that is appealing to all music lovers –even those who don’t necessarily enjoy pop music. Even when you can’t understand what he is saying, the emotion in his voice is enough to still feel what he wants you to feel.