The Official Student News Site of Parkway West High


The Official Student News Site of Parkway West High


The Official Student News Site of Parkway West High


A musical recap of 2023

Graphic by Mikalah Owens, photos from Columbia Records and Fueled By Ramen
2023 was defined by female vocalists such as Miley Cyrus, Taylor Swift and Paramore’s Hayley Williams as their diversity and talent amongst their respective genres topped the musical charts. Williams took to Instagram to show her gratitude for having owned the No. 1 spot on Billboard’s Top 100 chart. “We know enough by now to know success doesn’t equal value. That being said, to experience the [No. 1] on this album, as this version of Paramore, is such a sweet and surreal moment to celebrate together,” Williams wrote.

While living in a time where creativity can be dull or hard to find in music, 2023 managed to highlight some of the biggest moments in several artists’ careers. Though there were monumental accomplishments for many musicians, a lot of unfortunate events also followed. This year saw the endings and beginnings for many new artists, as well as established musicians. With new album releases, band breakups, record-breaking success and cancelations, 2023 became one of the most significant years in music history.



13: Pop singer Miley Cyrus released “Flowers,” off of her ninth album, “Endless Summer Vacation.” The leading single blew up on TikTok and became the most streamed and downloaded song of 2023. 

24: After being the leading frontman of the popular band Panic! At the Disco for 18 years, Brendon Urie announced he was discontinuing the band, so he could focus on raising his family. The news didn’t shock or upset fans, since Urie had been the only remaining member of the original lineup for the past decade and shifted Panic! At the Disco’s original “emo” sound to failing pop music.



4: Comedian Trevor Noah hosted the 65th Annual Grammy Awards. R&B icon Beyoncé went into the award show with nine nominations and ended up taking four awards home, breaking the record for the most Grammy wins by a single artist: an impressive 32

10: After a six-year hiatus, famous alternative band Paramore released their sixth studio album, “This Is Why.” The jittery post-punk inspired album briefly tackled political issues and the band’s growth together with the songs, “The News” and “Crave.” Ultimately, the album was a huge success amongst fans and critics, as the album quickly claimed the No. 1 spot on Billboard’s Top 100 Chart

12: After taking a break from music for several years to focus on Fenty Beauty, Rihanna announced that she would be performing at the Super Bowl LVII halftime show. The performance became the most watched Superbowl halftime show in history where she  performed some of her biggest hits as well as announced her second pregnancy with rapper A$AP Rocky.



17: Taylor Swift started the Eras Tour which explores Swift looking back at her career, album by album, each of which she presents as a different era of her life. All of Swift’s Eras Tour shows run over three hours long, consisting of 45 songs, countless costume changes and speeches.

14: Pop-punk band Fall Out Boy dropped their eighth album “So Much (For) Stardust” and announced a world tour. Similar to Swift, Fall Out Boy paid homage to each era of their career on the “So Much For (Tour) Dust” tour. Instead of having a preplanned setlist waiting for fans, Fall Out Boy did a segment with a magic eight ball mid-show, asking it what song they should play. Each show had different results from the magic eight ball — songs that the band hadn’t played live in a decade or ever before. 

24: Alternative singer Lana Del Rey released the album, “Did You Know That There’s a Tunnel Under Ocean Blvd.” The 12th track, “Let The Light in” best sums up the album’s tone, having a sense of optimism in dark moments. 

31: Singers Pheobe Bridgers, Julien Baker and Lucy Dacus formed the supergroup Boygenius and released their album debut, “The Record.” Boygenius gained popularity on TikTok after their song, “Not Strong Enough” went viral. 



14:  Metallica released their 11th studio album, “72 Seasons,” which was given mixed reviews by fans and critics. Still, the metal icons redeemed themselves, announcing a world tour with Pantera and Five Finger Death Punch. Metallica decided to change their touring style and performed two shows in each city with different setlists for each show. 



10:  Beyoncé started her Renaissance tour and went viral for the “Everybody On Mute” challenge. The test started when fans took a line in the song “Energy” literally. When Beyoncé sings the line, “Look around, everybody on mute,” stadiums full of people in glittering outfits are expected to suddenly be silently still. Gothic rock band The Cure also began their world tour but encouraged fans to be vocal and celebrate the time they have together. This is because singer Robert Smith had a public dispute with Ticketmaster after the monopoly company was overcharging fans for tickets.  

11: The ‘Queen of Rock n’ Roll,’ Tina Turner passed away from cancer after dealing with the illness for many years. Turner was honored by many for her influence on music and culture. 

26: Halle Bailey of the duo Chloe x Halle was cast as Ariel in the live adaptation of “The Little Mermaid.” Bailey elevated the iconic character with her wide vocal range and brought justice to the classic Disney tale. 



2:  Foo Fighters released their 12th album, “But Here We Are.” It was the first record the band put out since the unexpected death of drummer Taylor Hawkins. Foo Fighters used “But Here We Are” as a tribute to Hawkins, celebrating their time together with the talented musician. 

9: Mike Ness of classic punk band Social Distortion announced his tonsil cancer diagnosis and had to push back the album he was working on, as well as all tour dates remaining in 2023. 


7: After the original recordings of Swift’s first six albums were sold by producer Scooter Braun, Swift decided to re-record the albums, so she would own all of her music. The pop singer released the re-recording of her third album, “Speak Now,” which featured collaborations with Fall Out Boy and Hayley Williams. 

21:  Director Greta Gerwig released the highly anticipated “Barbie” movie and the soundtrack did not disappoint. Singer-songwriter Billie Eilish quickly became synonymous with the film for her somber song, “What Was I Made For?” which plays multiple times in the film. Actor Ryan Gosling was also a highlight of the film and soundtrack. Gosling instantly went viral for his casting as Ken and shocked audiences with a fully choreographed routine for his song, “I’m Just Ken,” which poked at toxic masculinity.

Universal Pictures

28: Travis Scott released “Utopia,” which was his first release in five years. The album had features done by Drake, Kid Cudi, The Weeknd and for some reason, comedian Dave Chapelle. “Utopia” was applauded as a groundbreaking album for 2023 and completely overshadowed Post Malone’s album, “Austin,” which was released on the same day. “Austin” further helped Post Malone blend his raspy vocals with his steady flow. 



18: Irish musician Hozier released his third album, “Unreal Unearth.” The record is directed in a  blues and indie-rock tone and is the singer’s first concept album, as he narrates a consecutive theme and story throughout the album. In “Unreal Unearth,” Hozier writes about his pandemic experiences through the lens of the poem “Inferno,” written by Dante Alighieri.



1: Tropical rock singer Jimmy Buffet passed away at 76, after battling a rare and aggressive skin cancer. Buffet was most well known for his 1977 song “Margaritaville,” and often promoted a beach aesthetic and island escapism in his music.

3: Steve Harwell of Smash Mouth passed away at 56 due to liver failure prompted by substance abuse. Smash Mouth was most well known for their songs, “All Star” and “I’m a Believer,” which were featured in the “Shrek” soundtrack. 

8: Olivia Rodrigo released her second album, “Guts.” The sophomore record has more of an angsty and rebellious sound compared to her debut album, “Sour.” It’s easy to tell that Rodrigo took inspiration from alternative singers Avril Lavigne, Fiona Apple and Alanis Morissette, but overall, Rodrigo’s musical direction sounds like a cheap version of the music icons. 

10: New York renamed a street in Manhattan to “Beastie Boys Square” to honor the rap legends. The Manhattan intersection had been crucial to the rap group since their early childhood and was seen on the cover of their sophomore album, “Paul’s Boutique.” Hundreds of Beastie Boys fans crowded around the intersection to see members Mike D and Ad-Rock applaud the square and New York. 

15: Mitski released the beautiful album, “The Land Is Inhospitable and So Are We,” which was an instant hit across social media. Fans of the song posted their significant others to the track, “My Love Mine All Mine,” which became Mitski’s most-streamed song

29: Famous boyband *NSYNC reunited for the first time in 20 years and released their new song, “Better Place,” for the movie, “Trolls: Band Together.” The band’s small reunion sparked rumors of a new tour and excited many millennials. The boy band has yet to comment on the speculation. 



6: After taking a break from playing the iconic “John Wick” character, Keanu Reeves reunited with his band, Dogstar, to release their first album in 23 years: “Somewhere Between the Power Lines and Palm Trees.” Reeves supports the underground band as their bassist, while also being an A-List actor. 

20: Pop punk band blink-182 released their 10th studio album, “One More Time,” which was successful amongst fans and critics. The punk trio announced their 2024 world tour with metalcore band Pierce The Veil, but failed to release reasonable ticket prices. Fans ended up spending anywhere from $250-1,000 on tickets

24: Infamous singer Britney Spears released her tell-all book, “The Woman in Me,” which detailed her painful experiences in the public eye. 

27: Swift re-released her fourth album, “1989,” but was met with some critiques from her audience. Some fans argued that the original release of “1989” was better and that Swift changed the album’s sound too much. 



2: Punk band Green Day announced their tour with The Linda Linda’s, Smashing Pumpkins and Rancid. The tour is centered around celebrating 30 years of Green Days album, “Dookie,” and the 20th anniversary of their political pop-punk album, “American Idiot.” Tickets were shockingly overpriced, as they averaged anywhere from $60-$500. This upset many fans since Green Day and Rancid are both staple punk icons, and both bands were once adamant on having afforadable-priced concert tickets

3: The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame inductions took place in New York. Some of the most applauded inductees were George Michael, Rage Against the Machine, Willie Nelson and Missy Elliot. Political hip-hop group, Rage Against the Machine, quickly became the most talked about inductee since guitarist, Tom Morello, was the only member to attend. Morello explained in his speech that the rest of the group had differing opinions on the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.

16: Daryl Hall sued and got a restraining order on his Hall and Oates bandmate, John Oates after he tried to sell the rights to the duo’s music. Oates seemed to be “Out of Touch” with his longtime musical partner, since Hall had sold some of the band’s work in the early years of their career but never received a payment. 

RCA Records


2: Rock icons KISS concluded their farewell tour at Madison Square Garden. The “End of the Road World Tour” consisted of an impressive 253 shows, starting all the way back in January of 2019. 

8: Rapper Nicki Minaj released her highly anticipated new album, “Pink Friday 2.” The album is supposed to be a sequel to the rapper’s famed album, “Pink Friday,” which is what made Minaj known as one of the most applauded rappers in the genre. 

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Mikalah Owens
Mikalah Owens, Staff Writer
Pronouns: she/her Grade: 12 Years on staff: 2 What is your favorite piece of literature? “What’s Eating Gilbert Grape” by Peter Hedges. Who is your hero? That’s tough. I wanna say Henry Rollins since he’s gone through so much trauma and has overcome that and grown as a person; that’s really inspiring. Realistically, probably my Uncle. If you could only eat one thing for the rest of your life, what would it be? I don’t know… probably fries or something.
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  • E

    Erin FluchelDec 21, 2023 at 10:34 am

    So well done! I think you might secretly be becoming as Swiftie. 🙂

    • W

      Will GonsiorDec 24, 2023 at 9:39 pm

      This is such a great recap!
      I held out for a long time, but no one lasts forever…

  • E

    Emily EarlyDec 20, 2023 at 11:01 am

    so so so so so so so so so so so cool

  • L

    Lauren HolcombDec 19, 2023 at 3:41 pm

    the perfect article minus the olivia rodrigo slander 💔😔. still love it tho !!!

    • W

      Will GonsiorDec 24, 2023 at 9:38 pm

      I know. You can tell instruments are being played and the lyrics are good, how can you call an album like Guts cheap?