May 27, 2024


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Why Spotify Wrapped Is a Day of Mourning for Parents

Spotify Wrapped‘s launch is a day of joy and celebration for music fans. Across the globe, they congregate online — smiles wide, arms open —  to share pieces of themselves with friends and family. “Look,” they say, with pride, embarrassment or a mixture of both, “here’s what I listened to this year. 

“Here is the soundtrack to my life.”

Sadly, I can’t share this moment. I can’t be part of this parade. I must enter Goblin Mode. I must withdraw, to my shame cave, shoulders slumped, head hung low. For the last five years, perhaps longer, my Spotify Wrapped has become an abomination — an obscenity unfit for human eyes and ears.

The problem: I am a parent of two young children under the age of 10. I am a leper. Spotify Wrapped is dead to me. Send me your thoughts and prayers.

For me — and parents all over the globe — Spotify Wrapped is a day of mourning. 

It’s hard for nonparents to comprehend the loss, but I’ll try to explain. Back when Spotify Wrapped first launched in 2016, I’d open the app eager and excited. What was my top song? Who was my most listened to artist? Back then, when I gleefully created tightly moderated playlists of the cutting-edge pop music I was listening to, it might have been Maggie Rogers, Carly Rae Jensen, Låpsley, Tegan and Sara. 

No more. Now, it is a wasteland

In 2022, my Spotify Wrapped is a testament to a life torn asunder by the sticky hands of chaos gremlins intent on ripping my algorithms limb from limb. There is no Wet Leg, there is the Moana soundtrack. There is no Rosalia, there’s that song that from the end of the Sonic the Hedgehog movie. There is no Alvvays, there’s… [checks notes] Bad Lip Reading?

Yes, that’s right. For some reason my 9-year-old son, obsessed with memes and internet culture consumed secondhand via the playground, became obsessed with a Star Wars parody song, My Stick Is Better Than Bacon, released back in 2020.

It was my most listened to song of 2022.  

I consider myself lucky. A few years, back one of my top tracks of the year was a song called Poop Poop Poop Poop Song by The Toilet Bowl Cleaners. A song with insightful lyrics like, “Poop, poop, poop, poop, it falls out of my bum, it don’t look tasty to me, but flies say yum, yum, yum.”

In a house like mine, with Alexa speakers set up in multiple rooms, it’s all too easy for my kids to just blurt out a song name and have it play in seconds. This is the source of all my troubles.

Case in point: This year, my 6-year-old son became obsessed with something called Poppy Playtime, a bizarre horror survival game for kids that I absolutely never would allow him to play. Armed with third-hand knowledge from older kids at school, he discovered a suite of bizarre metal songs about the characters from the game — called Huggy Wuggy and Kissy Missy. He tortured my smart speakers endlessly with these terrible tracks. 

Every day I am in hell.

I recognize there are solutions to this problem. A second Spotify account, attached to the smart speakers? Sure, that would work. Spotify’s family plan, which allows for multiple different accounts on the same plan would probably be the most effective Band-Aid. But the reality is… I’m a parent. I am tired. My day begins with a frantic rush out the door for school runs and ends with me slumped on the couch, watching half an episode of 1899 before falling asleep. The last thing on my mind at that point is “fixing Spotify.” I am surviving. That is enough.

Which reminds me of my favorite ever Spotify story. A friend of mine, a new mother, starved of sleep, running out of ways to get her new born baby to nap. Her most played song on Spotify:

Strong Hair Dryer (Calming).

A classic of the white noise genre, I’m sure we can all agree.