Suggested Listening ’22: Nicholas Kobe

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It’s that time of year again! WOUB Culture has reached out to a variety of folks involved in various capacities with the music and arts throughout WOUB’s diverse coverage region to inquire: “what have you been listening to this year, my friend?” Find their answers on WOUB Culture all throughout the month of December. 

An image of Nicholas Kobe, he is wearing a dark suit and sitting on a bench in a suburban neighborhood.
Nicholas Kobe is an aspiring music journalist from Indian Trail, NC studying journalism at Ohio University. Find Nicholas’ work for WOUB Culture at this link.

Instagram: @leviathan_the_mega_nerd

Twitter: @nickkobe122

For my list of songs of 2022, I took a slightly different approach. I decided not to pick the songs I listened to the most, but rather the songs that I will associate with memories of this year into the future. These are the songs that tell the story of the memories and emotions I experienced as I transitioned into college life.

Josh Groban – “You Raise Me Up”

Obviously one of the hardest parts of 2022 was the end of my senior year. “You Raise Me Up” by Josh Groban is the perfect soundtrack for that. The song is about being raised to new heights by the people around you, something I felt myself doing as I accomplished a lot of my long term goals. The song is also what we play as the final number every spring for the band concert at my high school (yes, of course I was a band kid). Standing up on the stage with the other seniors after seven years in band is just one of many experiences I had that year that reminded me of just how far I had come over the years.

Los Tigres del Norte – “¿En Dónde Estabas?”

Los Tigres del Norte is the best example this year of music bringing people together. Over the summer I was on a trip with my six best friends. Driving through the North Carolina beaches in my buddy’s dad’s Ford Expedition, we were shuffling the radio trying to find something to listen to. All of the hit stations were playing nothing good. Then we just stumbled across a Latin music station, a genre that none of us listened to. “¿En Dónde Estabas?” was on the radio and even though none of us spoke Spanish, the song really resonated with all of us. While translating the lyrics reveals the song to be about the breakup, the song has taken on a new meaning to me. It serves as a reminder of my friends back home, jamming out in the back seat of that car to a song none of us, not even my pretentious self, knew and how music can bring people together. It’s the song I play when I miss home and the song that reminds me of the people there who made me who I am.

Metallica – “Master of Puppets”

“Master of Puppets” by Metallica is one of those songs that has taken a new and interesting meaning for me over the past year. Ever since I really got into metal back in 2020, the song has always been on constant rotation for me. It’s so dynamic in all eight and a half minutes. It’s a true thrash classic. Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past year, you know this song blew up because of its usage in Stranger Things Season Four. I have only seen two episodes of the show but I have been told that the song is played by D&D club president and the “metalhead” character of the show, Eddie Munson. The funny thing is, like Eddie, I was also D&D club president in my high school, I play guitar and I was the “token metalhead” for a lot of people in my school. Therefore all summer I constantly was compared to this guy. Once again, I never saw the show, but this song and comparison represents my embrace of these attributes of myself over the end of my senior year. I stopped being ashamed of my denim vests, leather jackets and nerdy tendencies. While the metalhead in me says I never needed the outside world’s validation, seeing people flock to this scene and this character proved to me that heavy metal, D&D and unashamed self confidence was just as cool as I hoped. 

Green Day – “Jesus of Suburbia”

“Jesus of Suburbia” is probably the best song off of Green Day’s best album — yes, I said it. The song is a 10-minute, five-part monster that sets up the concept and themes of “American Idiot.” For me, the lyrics about leaving home took on a whole new meaning as I prepared for the transition to college. Despite the fact that I love my hometown, I was ready to leave home, and the excitement in “Jesus of Suburbia” of a new chapter in life was something that kept me coming back to this song over the summer. It’s simultaneously exciting and terrifying to be faced with a six-hour move, and I felt like this song and this album really spoke to me as I made this transition.

My Chemical Romance – “The Sharpest Lives”

My Chemical Romance is a band that I could have picked a hundred songs of alone, but the one I listened to the most, and the one that specifically shows my early college life is “The Sharpest Lives”. Off of their 2006 album “The Black Parade,” the song is about living fast and dying hard. That was the type of lifestyle I imagined for myself as I was set diving headfirst into college. I very quickly realized however, this was not the life for me. The song states “give me a shot to remember and you can take all the pain away from me.” What I learned through my experiences and the experiences of friends is that no amount of superficial happiness can permanently deal with the deeper seeded thing you’ve got going on. I feel like this is really well explored in the story of “The Black Parade” as the main character battles with cancer. While me and the people I was with in college aren’t going through anything that serious, “The sharpest lives are the deadliest to lead” still reminded me to focus on the bigger picture and not worry about getting overstimulated by the craziness of this new life.

Pink Floyd – “Comfortably Numb”

Pink Floyd’s “Comfortably Numb” is a rare instance of one of the biggest hits by a band actually living up to the hype. It’s a beautifully performed song, with the traded vocals between David Gilmore and Roger Waters and two of the greatest guitar solos of all time. “The Wall,” the album this song comes from, being my personal favorite Pink Floyd album probably says more about me as a person than I am willing to admit. “Comfortably Numb,” and the entirety of that record, in my opinion, is a perfect representation of a quiet persistent struggle. Feeling so many things, yet going completely numb to it. Personally, that’s how I sometimes deal with stress, so this song serves as a reminder of that for me, on top of just being absolutely fantastic.

Lizzo – “2 Be Loved”

As we start to close up this list, I feel like I would be doing a disservice if I did not pick at least one song release in 2022. I’ll admit I’m not a huge fan of the new Lizzo album. Even “About Damn Time” didn’t click with me as much as it did with many other people. This song “2 Be Loved,” is the anthemic banger of the album, appropriately written with Max Martin who helped write countless hits like “…Baby One More Time” by Britney Spears, “Backstreet’s Back” by The Backstreet Boys and “Shake it Off” by Taylor Swift. Lizzo’s biggest strength as an artist, besides for how she can shred on a flute, is her radiating energy and undeniable charisma. This really helps drive home the excitement and joy in the lyrics. The song is about questioning “am I healed enough from my past to accept the new love that is in front of me.” While Lizzo clearly means this in a romantic context, I think it can apply to almost any situation. For me personally, despite being on good terms with friends back home, it was hard to leave them behind and find new people at college. 2 Be Loved speaks to me about every time of relationship, romantic or not, that you’re faced with, having to decide if you are healed and ready to be loved. The key change at the end of the song as Lizzo finally determines she is ready to be loved instills the confidence that you should accept the love and enjoy life with the new people who care about you. Personally speaking, that’s a message I really needed to hear.

Judas Priest – “You’ve Got Another Thing Coming”

I felt like there was no group more appropriate to end this list with than Judas Priest. They are probably my most listened to band of the year. “You’ve Got Another Thing Coming” is one of their biggest hits and one of two songs that my father knew when I dragged him with me to see them live in September of last year. “You’ve got another thing coming” resonates with me in a lyrical sense. “Out there is a fortune waiting to be had, you’d think I’d let it go, you’re mad, you got another thing coming” is the type of confidence I try to live by every day. The driving riff and Rob Halford’s bold delivery makes the energy of this song infectious. This is the song I play when I feel like I’m on top of the world, proud of what I have done and hungry to keep pushing forward.