The Songs that Connect Conway High


Cooper Milliken

 Music is one of the pillars of society that truly connects person to person and allows us to have connections with people that we wouldn’t have related to otherwise. Person A’s favorite song may be the favorite song of Person B who is completely different from Person A, but despite their differences the chances of them being friends in some fashion comes instantly more likely because they have a similar taste in music. Conway High School is the 7th largest high school in Arkansas as CHS withholds a whopping 2,159 students. No doubt, if each student was told to find a student with similar music taste every student in the school would find somebody they relate to. Therefore, when asked it’s not shocking that many students had consistent crossover in their answers. 

A love for one genre was consistent throughout the interviewees as an album under the R&B genre was brought up 62.5% of the time. Arden Booy mentioned the modern day R&B/rap genre mixing masterpiece IGOR by Tyler, The Creator. Booy said it’s, “one of the most unique albums of the last decade”. This mention of Tyler, The Creator connects to the answers of interviewees, Blaze Robb and Chanley Atwell. Atwell and Robb know very little of each other, yet their shared love of Channel Orange by Frank Ocean connects the two. They’re also connected to Booy’s interests as these two creatives, Frank Ocean and Tyler, The Creator, were founders of the rap collective Odd Future from the years 2007 to 2016. They also collaborated on Tyler, The Creator’s albums Goblin, Wolf, and Flower Boy

Although the all connecting line of music doesn’t stop at the common occurrence of current artists collaborating, Tyler, The Creator is currently working under Columbia Records alongside one of Kayla Stamps’ favorite artists, The Internet. Stamps said their 2018 album Hive Mind has the “most songs I like on an album” compared to everything else she’s listened to. Stamps isn’t easily swayed when it comes to music so for an album to have a majority of songs related with a positive emotion makes it definitely something special to her. 

Although, not everyone’s criteria for liking music is the same. Sydney Evans stated that her favorite album of all time was Goodbye and Hello by Tim Buckley. In opposition to Stamps she loves the album as a whole stating it to be a “sad, quiet antithesis to the decade”. The album was released in 1967, a time of heavy, flashy, psychedelic rock artists such as Jimmi Hendrix, The Doors, and Grateful Dead therefore juxtaposing itself as a memorable experience. Speaking of 1967 another connection arises between two socially different students. Aiden Eslinger is one of the biggest extroverts in the school while Sydney Evans is much more lowkey. Although, the artist behind Aiden Eslinger’s favorite album, Marvin Sapp, was born in 1967. Sapp released Thirsty in 2007 which Eslinger absolutely loves due to its relistenability. Eslinger said he can listen to it, “no matter the day, no matter how I feel, and no matter who I’m around.” The gospel album brings an inspirational joy to Eslinger and there’s a high possibility that the people who would go on to raise Sapp listened to Goodbye and Hello by Tim Buckley as it came out. 

Although, as stated, sometimes there’s just a common genre connection. Emily Gant and Hayes Pruitt are very different people. Sure, they’re friends, but the two of them have very different tastes in music…or so they thought. Gant said her favorite album of all time was The Boom Boom Room (Side B) by Palaye Royale and Pruitt said Firewater by Whiskey Myers. Whiskey Myers is a southern rock band while Palaye Royale is a modern glam-rock group. Is it a stretch to say these two albums are similar because they’re in subgenres of an already vaguely built genre? Sure. Although, Gant and Pruitt’s reasoning are more similar than they think. Pruitt said that, “It talks to a lot more people than it does your average radio country song or average rap song.” Meanwhile Gant said that her album “got her through so much” and that every song on the album had the “most gut wrenching, soul searching stuff that I’ve ever heard.” The rock genre really tends to speak to people, that’s why there’s such a wide variety of subgenres within it and why it has had so much longevity. Whether it be country rock or glam rock, rock music has really helped some students of Conway High. 

Music is good for the soul, and the students of CHS agree. With music connecting to people becomes easier than imagined. That’s why whenever asked their favorite thing about CHS the majority of the answers had something to do with friends or friendships. Sydney Evans put it simply “my friends”, Emily Gant and Chanley Atwell got a little more specific. Gant said that “My favorite thing about Conway High School is that Cooper Milkman is in it.” and Atwell simply states, “Probably, Mr. Richardson.”  Then there was Hayes Pruitt who calmly claimed, “Probably just being around, the people I enjoy being around. It’s really hard for me to do that outside of school, so…” Empathy is what makes people the best they can be and in an environment like high school where the responsibilities of adulthood aren’t all too taxing it’s fantastic to see that empathetic pieces of art, like music, like video games, like books…are bringing people together while they still have time.