The Smoke Signal, MSJ's Official Newspaper


DieHard TryHards: Soundtrack 2 My Life

By Staff Writers Tanisha Srivatsa, Tavish Mohanti, Varun Upadhyay, & Jessica Yu

Looking for new music recommendations? In this cycle’s DieHard TryHards episode, watch as four staff writers attempt to summarize their high school lives into playlists. Check out the video below to see them explain their playlists and find out who won!




To listen to Tanisha’s playlist, click here

It’s no secret that I listen to a lot of music. At night, in the shower, when I should be studying for my AP US History exam — there’s constantly a pair of headphones on my ears. For this DieHards TryHards episode, I decided to challenge myself to try something I’d never done before: making a playlist with only Taylor Swift songs. I’m a pretty diehard Swiftie, and I certainly tried hard, so I’m relatively confident in this project. Obviously, my playlist is 13 tracks long (a nod to Swift’s signature 13 motif), but I’ve also challenged myself to include songs from each of Taylor Swift’s nine amazing albums, each of which represents a different period in my life. I don’t think there’s anyone out there who can rival my Taylor Swift obsession, so I’m pretty confident in what will definitely be my first DHTH win.


To listen to Tavish’s playlist, click here

Music has always been an integral part of my life. From the musicals I did in middle school to the dance performances in high school, the impact of music has always stuck with me. And, of course, being the self-centered sociopath I am, I’ve often thought about the soundtrack that will play in the background of the movie about me. I know that with so many songs to choose from, I need to enter this challenge with a plan. So, I’ve broken my life into chapters and each song I select will fit into those chapters to tell my story, seamlessly. My AirPods are charged and my Spotify is open, so let the playlist curation commence. How hard can condensing my life into a 15-track Spotify playlist be?


To listen to Varun’s playlist, click here.

While I’m a pretty avid music listener, my taste in music is admittedly slightly generic and my playlist-making capabilities are nothing to write home about. Despite this obvious shortcoming, I still think I did a pretty decent job with this one. I added 13 songs that have not only shaped who I am today, but have also been organized to mimic how I normally flow on a typical day. From hanging out with friends in the evening, to vibing through the late night, to reminiscing in the morning — something I do more often as I inch closer to graduation — this playlist perfectly encapsulates my growth throughout the last four years. I’m not too concerned with winning as music is very subjective and personal — each of the songs have incredible meaning to me, and I just hope listeners can sit back, vibe, and enjoy at least a few of them.


To listen to Jessica’s playlist, click here.

Music. Ah. I love music. Who doesn’t love music? I’m constantly listening to music, whether it be hip-hop on the car, lo-fi while studying, 2010 pop bangers during karaoke, or R&B while washing the dishes, so this should be easy right? You may have seen me on the Smokie Podcast Music in Our Lives episode, and after soul searching and deep reflection on the last three years of my life, I’ve finally found the perfect formula to create the perfect tracklist. First, I’ll look through my old Top Songs playlists of past few years, then note (haha get it) the most important ones based on my high school career. Music puns may not be my forte, but making playlists certainly is.



So… tough crowd, huh? With my fourth place finish today, I will say that I’m somewhat disappointed in my three collective last-place DHTH performances in my two years as a staff writer, but I honestly feel like I tried my best in all of them — and after all, isn’t that what really counts? I’m still convinced that my all-Taylor Swift playlist deserved to make it into at least the top three, but at the end of the day, I did have a fun time picking out songs for my soundtrack and taking a trip down memory lane. Although my superior music taste was unfortunately not recognized in these rankings, I guess I’ll just have to “Shake it Off” and find solace in the fact that my music is meant for a more cultured crowd.


So, I didn’t place first. But, you know what they say, it’s about the journey, and not the destination. All jokes aside, this was the perfect DHTH to conclude my time at the Smoke Signal and at MSJ. The hours of reflection and scrolling through my Spotify Wrapped was a nostalgic trip down memory lane. Music is such a beautiful and expressive art form, and I realized that playlists are the perfect everyday platform to discuss your life experiences.


Though I certainly wasn’t expecting to win, I’m really happy I was able to close out my final DHTH with a victory. It’s always interesting to see how music tells a story, and I thoroughly enjoyed listening to the others’ playlists — except Tanisha’s — and learning more about my fellow Smokies through the process. I also loved this challenging task of selecting the music that shaped who I am today, and as a graduating senior, I’m very happy I got the chance to reflect and share all I’ve learned these last four years with the rest of my peers. Although I’m incredibly happy with this first place finish, I think a true victory for me would be if at least some people could find a few songs from my playlist which they can use to help them along on their own high school journey.


Wow. That was a big disappointment. But I guess some people just don’t have the stomach for the refined taste of my track choices. Even though I did not win, I think my playlist deserves an honorary mention for having such a nice balance. Not too much of any one genre, or any artist for that matter (ahem Tanisha). Overall, this was a great experience for my first DHTH, regardless of the outcome. Besides, I think my soundtrack still takes a nice little journey into my life and high school career, and hopefully some people will enjoy seeing life through my eyes (or ears?), and it was a great reflective experience to compile the playlist.

Cover Image by Staff Writer Nishi Bhagat

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