I’ve never been a person who prides themselves on their music taste. I wouldn't necessarily say my taste is bad (considering I edit for a music magazine), but I don't always listen to what is considered to be “good” music. My music taste is a combination of those around me. My best friends, my parents, my boyfriend, and even random songs in movies all accumulate into long nonsensical playlists that I hide safely from the public eye in my Spotify account. I had rarely paid attention to the idea of having “good” playlists for aux. I assumed that everyone around me also listened to music the way I did. I would find songs through friends or movies or TV shows, enjoy them for a while, and then move on. I didn't really have a favorite artist, album, or song, and I rarely even knew the famous artists my friends talked about.
This all changed when I made the mistake of letting my best friend go through my Spotify account. She was looking through my playlists to find something to listen to when she happened upon my Spotify top songs of 2016 playlist. This playlist consisted of quite a few embarrassing songs, most notably Pompeii. Now the song Pompeii itself isn't inherently bad, but my 12-year-old self had not only listened to Pompeii enough times that it made this playlist, but the version of Pompeii was the Glee Cast version. Yes, you read that right. I listened to the Glee Cast cover of Pompeii enough times in 2016 for it to be my number one song. The best part of all of this is that I have no memory of ever even listening to the song.
This funny (and slightly traumatizing) experience has set the stage for my yearly Spotify panic. As December approaches each year I pray nightly to the Spotify gods that my wrapped playlist for the year will never match the embarrassment felt from my 2016 playlist.
This year, however, music took on a different meaning for me. I, along with the rest of NYC, spent the majority of the year cooped up, with little but my phone to entertain me. This led to my best friend and I making playlists for each other. Some of these playlists were recommendations, others are specific vibes we get from songs, and some are simply things we like. I noticed while listening to my “Top Song 2020” playlist that most of these songs aren't things I had listened to for my own good, but they are mainly songs making up the hours and hours of music recommended to me. I sought new ways to make emotional connections to my friends while unable to see them in person.
My Spotify Wrapped playlist of 2020 may not be full of particularly good songs; some are jokes, some are lyrically simple, and others are just genuinely bad songs. But, the common link between all of these is that they got me through the year.
Not only is having good taste in music an arbitrary measurement of character, but it also overlooks the personal aspect of music. We love good music when it connects to us, but the music we connect to doesn't always have to be “good.”
Embrace the embarrassment of your Spotify Wrapped. That weird collection of music and artists is what got you to where you are now. Going into 2021 my resolution is to just allow myself to enjoy whatever I enjoy. Music is a personal experience and you should be able to experience it without fear or embarrassment.