Is the Second Spotify Wrapped of the Roaring 20s A Blessing or A Curse?


Photo by: Molly DeHaven

Roar staff writer and Feature Friday video editor, sophomore Mariam Tafwed shows off her spotify wrapped.

Spotify’s annual ‘Spotify Wrapped’ has recently come out and some of the Roar members have agreed to let readers take a sneak peek of their deepest, darkest, and cringiest music moments of 2021.

One of the most awaited traditions appeared on our doorsteps last week – no it is too early to be awaiting Christmas gifts and much too late to receive anything for Thanksgiving. Here’s a one-word hint: life-changing. The custom gift that arrives right in the middle of these two holidays is the one and only, Spotify Wrapped.

Spotify first released this cultural phenomenon in 2015, first calling it a ‘Year of Music’. It was only until 2017, where Spotify jazzed up the graphics on this algorithmic tool, it became popular. This tradition, according to Kelly Pau from Vox, “marks the change of season the same way beloved cultural staples like Starbucks holiday cups or Mariah Carey mark the holidays.”

Junior and junior editor-in-chief of the Roar, Molly DeHaven pulls up the receipts on her phone, “My minutes listened were 39,886 and my [song on repeat] was Treacherous by Taylor Swift. I listened to it eight times in one day.” She emphasizes the fact that it was not the original version; rather, she had listened to Swift’s re-recorded Red album. 

As one opens Spotify, they have the opportunity to press the play button on their 2021 in review. Music is drawn from personalized data that the listener gives Spotify access to. In order to create an annual wrap, Spotify tracks the music that the listener listens to and uses that information to measure songs against other listeners. This influences the type of content listeners see. 

“It is definitely a range,” says DeHaven when describing her top songs of the year, “My number one song was “5% Tint” by Travis Scott, number two was “Yes, I’m Changing” by Tame Impala, number three was “Amoeba” by Clairo, number four was “Stargazing” by the Neighbourhood, and my number five was “Ghosting” by Mother Mother.”

Sophomore and head of Panther Post Mariam Tafwed also has Travis Scott as one of her top artists, “My top artist was J. Cole, as it should be. My second was The Weeknd, third was Billie Eilish, fourth was Big Time Rush, and fifth was Travis Scott.”

Her top genre of the year was “Canadian pop, which is kind of funny because what does that even mean? I did not realize Canadian pop had its own subgenre, but I think it is because I listened to an absurd amount of Justin Bieber.”

After one presses the play button of the interactive, they are welcomed with one of their top 100 songs of the year blaring out. The next slide of the interactive introduces the listener to their movie soundtrack, and as the listener continues to press the screen to move forward to the next slide, Spotify shows them data on how many minutes they listened to music this year, their top 100 songs, their audio aura, how many varied genres and artists they explored, the game ‘two truths and a lie’ expanding on what the listener chose to hear, and their top genres and artists.  

Sophomore and staff writer Makayla Grimm listened to a total of 25,400 minutes on Spotify this year. “”New Divide” by Linkin Park, “Somebody Told Me” by The Killers, “Red Sun – Maniac Agenda Mix” by Jason Charles Miller, “Bury the Light” by Casey Edwards, and “Savage Love” by Jason Derulo,” says Grimm on her top five songs, “Do not judge me for listening to Savage Love.”

Songs were not the only part of this year’s Wrapped that had people excited. Podcasts have been growing in popularity; to be exact, it has “grown more than 40% in the past three years,” according to Nielsen Podcast Buying Power data. 

DeHaven is a fan of youtuber Emma Chamberlain, so it was a no-brainer for her when Chamberlain released her podcast in February 2020, she had to listen to it, “I listened to the podcast every single day in the car. Have you ever watched one of her Youtube videos? It is literally just one of [them], but she talks more about her life experience and just tells stories.” 

Senior and Roar staff writer  Meadow Swanson had the same top podcast as DeHaven, “I only listened to one podcast and that was Anything Goes by Emma Chamberlain.”

Sophomore and staff writer Emma Ryder’s top podcast of the year was not Emma Chamberlain’s, but one about food, “My top podcast was [called] A Hot Dog is a Sandwich. It is basically about controversial food opinions. There was one that [asked] if pop tarts were just ravioli. It is really funny and really good.”

Senior and Roar photo editor Sofia Szobacsi says that her top podcast was “some white noise sleep sound podcast.” She had listened to these hour-long podcasts to get her to fall asleep at night, and it turned out to top her podcast charts of the year. 

For some, their Spotify Wrapped was simply bizarre. Sophomore and staff writer Triss Smith admits that she “does not know why [Spotify] put Weezer as one of my top artists.” Junior and Roar video editor Christina Nguyen says one of her top artists was “Olivia Rodrigo. I was having a moment.”

Many are hoping for 2021 to come to an end and to leave the trends, especially musical ones, behind. After the numerous life-changing world events that have impacted the globe, the staff at the Roar wish every reader a pleasant and peaceful start into 2022.