As we look across social media, with the glossy bright colors and photos that everyone shares, we remember that it’s that time of the year again….when everyone is sharing their Spotify Wrapped. Did you think I was going to talk about the holidays? Ho, ho, hono. Far more important than the naughty and nice list, is the list of songs and musicians you spent your time listening to in the past year.

I’ll be honest, I love seeing my friends’ Spotify Wrapped lists. It’s a wholesome type of information that I don’t mind having thrown at me during this time of the year. The music we choose to listen to says something about us. It tells us if we stan the Top 40 or downloaded TikTok. It reveals if we still haven’t quite gotten over that last relationship, moping to Lana del Rey, or got over a relationship, listening to Little Mix. It can hint that we learned a new language with BTS or Egor Kreed. It can call you out for being a theater kid with Broadway show-tunes or for simply a drama queen. 

But the best part of Spotify Wrapped is the willingness of everyone to expose themselves. 

For the next several weeks, I can expect to see Spotify Wrapped lists covering Instagram stories, Twitter timelines, even Facebook pages. There are shocked emojis as people reveal themselves to be in the top 0.5% of Mitski listeners, even though no one is surprised by those people. But even if some are embarrassed that Glee Cast is somehow still in their top list of Spotify artists, they still proudly show italbeit with a faux shocked face and a good dose of self-deprecating humor. 

Recently, one of my best friends sent me their list (they are the Mitski listener), and I called them back to over FaceTime to ask, teasingly: So do we need therapy? We laughed over our Spotify Wrapped, did our best impressions of VSCO girls, and sent each other more music. 

As much as my friend and I like to joke around with music, it points out another truth. For those of us who love, love, love music, the tunes we listen to not only exposes who we are, but what we turn to for comfort. Pulling out your Spotify Wrapped is not only a way of showing how your slide, gilded, and danced through the year, but also how you picked yourself up. The willingness to share that is, in a sense, admirable.

Music has been shown to have therapeutic effects, but studies have also shown that we judge people based on their tastes in music. So suddenly, when we think about music as a reflection of ourselves, sharing our Spotify music choices suddenly feels like sharing some of our most vulnerable parts. It opens us up to judgement and by sharing it on our social media, we are inviting others to judge us. 

And still, most of us take it in good humor. We laugh about, we share it with jokes and eye-rolls. We make faces and tease each other over our music tastes. It’s an openness that most of us take with some humility and laughter. Spotify ends their Wrapped stories with a cute little message: “Read it, share it, wear it like a badge of honor.” A lot of people tend to take that to heart.

Now, in all honesty, I’ve never shared my Spotify Wrapped. Not because it’s particularly embarrassing, I’ve just had boring tastes in music. I also haven’t turn to music as much as this past year. But in the practice of being more vulnerable and open, I decided this year to share some of my own findings. It helps that, according to my Spotify Wrapped, I found 386 new artists out of the 899 that I listened to this past year. Maybe this will help make up for my past tastes in music. Maybe.

As it goes, my top artists were Hozier, Taylor Swift (primarily because of “folklore”), Alec Benjamin, Lana del Rey (but why? I don’t even like her music that much), and Halsey. Apparently, I was in Hozier’s top 0.5% of listeners this year. Whewokay, at least that is over. 

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  • Helena Ong

    Helena Ong is a freelance writer and journalist from San Francisco, California. In the past, she's worked at San Francisco Public Press, World Policy Journal, and NBC4 Los Angeles. She graduated from Pomona College, where she served as Production Editor for her college newspaper, The Student Life.