Paarth Madan

A medium to iterate on my own thoughts.

Spotify Wrapped: 2020

Posted at — Dec 11, 2020

Spotify wrapped is a fun aggregation of data that tells me a lot about my year.

Here’s what I learned this year:

1. Stuck in the past

This year I spent many of my listening hours in the past. Songs from 2017 and 2018 topped my playlist, taking sole dominion of the top 5 spots.

Many of my favourite songs made reappearances. I think a part of me used music to travel to a past setting, and escape. Escaping from what, exactly, is hard to identify.

Certainly the pandemic played a factor but perhaps some other events as well.

The irony is – using the past as a means to escape the present is not effective. It’s circular and unproductive.

I decided to make the conscious effort to stay present, to explore new and fresh ideas, and naturally, new and fresh music.

2. Exploring the past

Now, I know I made the conscious effort to listen to newer music. The implication is that this should be new music – new to me, that is.

My exploration into the 1990’s began. My top genre this year was from an era two decades prior.

I recently turned twenty, so much of this music predates my time on Earth.

I’ve grown to like rappers like Biggie, Nas and particularly 2Pac.

What entices me about 2Pac is his ability to share insight on his mindset. He describes changes he implemented that allowed him to grow outside the imaginary box we tend to place on ourselves. As someone who is on a similar path to better understand my own mind, I resonate with what he says.

My departure from most social media propelled my ability to detach from current trends in music, and instead listen to music I find interesting.

3. Opening up to new things

In the latter half of the year, I opened up to a lot of new music. I started listening to Desi music: Punjabi sad songs, Punjabi rap and the likes. My exploration into 90’s rap was paired with my ever-growing love for classical music, jazz music, and lo-fi instrumentals.

In particular, I’ve really enjoyed listening to the PropheC, whose songs are characteristically sad.

I think given the events of the last year, the ears are naturally attracted to certain types of music – at least for me.

4. Consistency

I listened to a lot of new music, but let’s remember that recency bias plays a large part. I still listened to NAV the most – in fact I made it in his top 0.005% listeners.

I listened to one of his older songs, “Up”, close to 300 times. Mind you, Spotify’s data aggregation ends a few months before the year end, so I’m sure I would’ve hit closer to 365, making it one of the songs I play everyday.

The song, while up-beat at its core, has an interesting underlying message.

The chorus goes:

They ‘gon leave you when you down, not when you up.

I think, in many cases, this is true. A true test of a relationship with someone is at their lowest points, not their highest. NAV talks about his experience with people and the tendency for relationships to falter when he is at his lowest.

Music has always been a big part of my life – so much so that I had learn to stop using music as an escape from life. I wrote more about this in a post titled, “An Addiction to Music”.

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