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Athena’s Top Hits: 2021-2022 Through My Ears

As someone who listens to lots of music, many songs on my playlists remind me of specific memories from my past year at Caltech. Here are a few, in no particular order:

  1. Way 2 Sexy – Drake, Future, Young Thug

This song was a fall term classic, especially in Fleming House. I probably heard it at least three times a weekend for the entire term, and some people got tired of it quickly, while others had it on repeat. But you can’t deny that it’s catchy…

  1. Africa – Toto

Another Fleming classic, but this tune has been around for years. In Fleming, the day after rotation assignments come out is moving day, when first years move into their new rooms. And we have a tradition in which ‘Africa’ is played on loop on our biggest speaker in the courtyard, all day. Sometimes upperclassmen decide to add to the fun by playing ‘Africa’ on their personal speakers and hiding them outside of the underclassmen rooms. I had the pleasure of having a room near one of the hiding spots, and I remember that every time I asked those upperclassmen where the speaker was, they would simply reply “it’s in the walls!”

  1. Dream a Little Dream of Me – The Mamas and the Papas

I got ‘Dream a Little Dream of Me’ stuck in my head after a cute little concert a friend invited me to, at the Huntington. The Huntington is a Pasadena attraction that houses not only a library, but also an art museum and botanical gardens. This particular event was called Laurel Canyon, and was led by artistic director Rachel Worby. The performance narrated the history of Laurel Canyon, an oasis just out of Hollywood, where singer-songwriters (such as the Mamas and the Papas) converged to reinvent music. We were treated to lovely renditions of many songs of that era, and some great stories as well.

  1. Mr. Brightside – The Killers

Mr. Brightside is a universally known and loved song at Caltech interhouses. There are 8 interhouse parties each year, once thrown by each house, often accompanied with a theme, constructed stage, great decorations, and snacks. At these parties, everyone, no matter your house affiliation or where you live, is invited to these parties. But regardless of the theme, Mr. Brightside will play without fail at every one.

  1. Pepas – Farruko

I just mentioned an old interhouse classic, but this year ‘Pepas’ was certainly popular at our parties. A new classic in the making?


This song is a funny one, and certainly very different from all the other songs on this list. The first time I heard ‘Wellerman’ was at a tennis practice. Apparently, one of our teammates added it, and the rest of us were very shocked to hear a song like this on a practice playlist, usually filled with upbeat pop songs. I honestly had to search through our 8 hour playlist to find it, because on our team it’s affectionately called “the sea shanty.”. Take a listen if you’re feeling adventurous.

  1. Every Summertime – NIKI

I first heard this song on a road trip to Malibu during spring break. The tennis team has matches during break, so a couple of my teammates and I decided to make a trip to go watch a Pepperdine v. USC tennis match, grab some lunch, and then hang out at the beach. I remember that when this song played, we were cruising on the highway with the windows down, and the ocean right up next to the road. Stereotypical California moment, I know. But as a native Chicagoan, I was loving every minute of it. I still smile every time I hear this one.

  1. New Light – John Mayer

This last song was my end of the year anthem. It reminds me of that finals week feeling of being happy that you’re almost done, and it’s almost summer! And it has simply become one of my favorite songs of all time, so my list would not be complete without ‘New Light’.

Thanks for reading about my 2021-2022 top hits! Hopefully I’ll have plenty of new tunes next year, and I can write my next edition.

Athena Kolli ’24

Hi! I am a senior from Buffalo Grove, Illinois. At Caltech I am a member of the varsity women’s tennis team, and I do research with the Daraio Lab. I am also a full member and peer advocate for Fleming House and a social member of Lloyd House. In my free time I enjoy working out, reading, and just about anything creative!