The TRUTH about Lunchtime Music



A colorful image of a sound byte with music notes floating around it.

Sophia Pole, Staff Reporter

Background music has the power to chasmically change the overall feel of an event, so I wanted to investigate Mountainside’s lunchtime soundtrack.  That is, I wanted to learn what students thought about the music that plays at lunch, and how their input affects it.

Generally, all MHS students can provide input on the lunchtime music through a lunchtime song suggestion survey.  They can suggest songs for each day of the week and, barring that they aren’t gratuitously inappropriate, those songs will play on those days.  Unfortunately, this has not been the case for many students.  

In a survey about lunchtime music, out of 28 students (about 23.5% of the total students to filled out the survey) who have filled out the lunchtime song suggestion form, only 11 said that they have ever had any of their songs played at lunch, with only five having heard their songs more than once.  This has led me to wonder who chooses which songs to play at lunch, and how students might be able to get their songs played more often.

To find out how the songs are selected and played, I interviewed Natalie Namdar, the ASB director of Entertainment (the leadership committee that manages the lunch music).  The committee uses Spotify playlists to play music at lunch, and the most popular songs from the song suggestion form are added to those playlists. 

“If songs are needed for the day, they’re added,” said Namdar.  She also said that the most popular songs for each day are chosen, so if someone wants their song (or songs) played, “Just keep filling out the form.  Ask someone in leadership if you want a specific song played.”  There is no limit to how many times a song can be played, but according to Namdar “we try to make the playlist long so the songs aren’t repeated all the time.”

According to the survey I mentioned above, this has not been entirely effective.  Where 28% of students surveyed are perfectly fine with the songs that play at lunch, approximately 40% of students surveyed think that the set of songs that play at lunch is too small and repetitive.  Some students commented specifically on the variety of the playlists. 

“There is an extreme lack of variety, and none of the genres played appeal to me,” said one student.

“The playlist needs to be shaken up a little, the songs are fine to me but we need more variety,” said another.

“I’ve heard the same song a few times a week,” said a third student.

This frustration with the variety of the music may be partially caused by the restrictive nature of the themes for each day of the week: 80s Monday, Taylor Swift Tuesday, Wind Down Wednesday, Throwback Thursday, and Hype Friday.  30.3% of students surveyed said that they think that one or more of the themes should be removed.  

Taylor Swift Tuesday was by far the most despised, with 55.6% of students surveyed wanting to get rid of it compared to 47.2% for 80s Monday, 25% for both Wind-Down Wednesday and Hype Friday, and 16.7% for Throwback Thursday.  One student said of Taylor Swift Tuesday, “Please anything except this. Ruins my Tuesday.” While another said, “I like Taylor Swift, but it’s kind of repetitive having it play every Tuesday.”  

Two students commented that 80s Monday and Throwback Thursday are too similar.  This may explain why, when asked whether they would fill out the song suggestion form more often if they could choose the lunches, 38.7% of students said that they have no songs to suggest for lunch.

62.5% of students are in favor of replacing one of these themes with an indie theme, 28.1% want a “songs from movies/musicals” theme, and 18.8% want an “artists from Beaverton/Portland” theme.  Some students requested that specific songs never be played again:


Flowers in your hair by The Lumineers

Heatwaves by Glass Animals

Lost Souls by Baby Keem

16 by Baby Keem

Freestyle by Lil Baby

Take Yours, I’ll Make Mine by Matthew Mole

Awkward by SZA

Work by Rihanna

Baby by Justin Beiber

Never Gonna Give You Up by Rick Astley

It is worth noting that eight students used this section to again express their disdain for Taylor Swift.  On another note, 45.4% of students surveyed said that they would fill out the song suggestion form more frequently if they could choose whether the songs would play during first or second lunch on even or odd days.  16% said that it wouldn’t make any difference in how often they filled out the form and 38.7% instead said that they have no songs to suggest for lunch.

In summary, some students like the current lunchtime music, but many would appreciate some new themes or separate playlists for different lunches on odd and even days in order to reduce repetition.