As we look across social media’s glossy bright colors and photos, we remember that it’s that time of the year again…when everyone shares their Spotify Wrapped. Did you think I was going to talk about the holidays? Ho, ho, ho—no. Far more important than the naughty and nice list, is the rollout of songs and musicians you listened to in the past year.
Our music choices say something about us. It tells us if we stan the Top 40 or downloaded TikTok. It reveals if we still haven’t gotten over that last relationship, mourning to Lana del Rey, or if we did get over it, bopping to Little Mix. It can hint that we learned a new language this year through 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 still on the top of their Spotify artists lists, many will proudly show it—albeit with faux surprise and a good dose of self-deprecating humor.
For those of us who love music, the tunes we listen to not only expose who we are, but also what we turn to for comfort. The willingness to share that information is 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 when we think about music as a reflection of ourselves, sharing our music choices feels like we’re also divulging some of our most vulnerable parts. It opens us up to judgment and, by sharing it on our social media, we are welcoming others to judge us.
And still, most of us take it in good humor and even a bit of pride. We share it with jokes and eye-rolls. We make tease each other over our music tastes. It’s an openness that we take with some humility and laughter.
For myself, I’ll admit I don’t have the most expansive or refined taste in music. It helps that, according to my Spotify Wrapped, I found 386 new artists out of the 899 that I listened to this past year. Perhaps this will make up for my past tastes in music. As it goes, my top artists were Hozier, Taylor Swift (primarily because of “folklore”), Alec Benjamin, Lana del Rey (I don’t know why, I don’t like her music that much), and Halsey. Apparently, I was in Hozier’s top 0.5% of listeners this year—but no one is suprised.
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