To my Spotify account,
We’ve known each other for five years now, and in the most cliche way possible, I’m thankful you’ve been there for me through it all.
In 2016, Sam Smith’s songs would constantly stream from the speakers of my phone. At the end of the year, you showed me how tracks from their In The Lonely Hour and Halsey’s BADLANDS albums were my most listened to songs as I entered and navigated my way through freshman year of high school. The records you provide show how “i hate u, i love u” by gnash was my sixth most played song, probably because of the crush I had on the boy in my math class. Somehow, there’s a mix of classical music in my top 100 songs of 2016 like Ballade No.1 in G minor, Op.23 by Frederic Chopin and Claudio Arrau at number 49 and Vitamin String Quartet’s rendition of Thrift Shop at number 30 because I thought listening to classical music while I studied could help me be more efficient.
In 2017, you introduced me to Khalid’s music. He became the “it” artist for my grade after I showed my friends his song “Location” at an end-of-the-school-year party while he was still a smaller artist. While it’s hard to listen to it without being plagued with the thought of that math-class crush, you also introduced me to Ed Sheeran’s album DIVIDE. I still remember listening to “Perfect” and “Supermarket Flowers” with my plug-in headphones during study block and singing “Eraser” as I did homework at home, wondering when I’d be the subject of someone’s Ed Sheeran love.
2018 included the end of sophomore year and the start of junior year. In the summer between, I went to a Buddhist retreat in Louisiana where 88Rising music was our anthem. I made you run for hours as we played “Midsummer Madness” and Rich Brian’s “History” anytime we got to relax. Entering my third year of high school, I remember going through a crisis of who my friends were, if my only-talk-in-school friendships were worthwhile. During this time, Joji’s “SLOW DANCING IN THE DARK” stayed on replay. I would loop the song just to hear him ask if we can see that he doesn’t want to slow dance in the dark because I didn’t want to be in the dark at all — I wanted to be in the light and shining with friends. Scrolling through you, I get reminded of when I made a “catching feelings” playlist to resonate with my sadness. Crying to Kina’s “Get You The Moon” and looking blankly off into nothing to Shiloh Dynasty tracks. In times where I was questioning my friendships and non-existent love life, you sat there waiting patiently until I realized there was happiness in other places of life.
The beginning of 2019 was my real Post Malone era. After you suggested Hollywood’s Bleeding when it first came out, it reminded me of tennis season the year before when Beerbongs and Bentleys seemed to be the only album I had queued. Circles became my song of the summer during the nights when the sunset’s hues of pink and orange blended together perfectly and the car windows were down because the seasons were changing and I was happy. I was entering my senior year with my summer car tunes playlist, making me feel alive. I started becoming so optimistic for the future, with the memory of talking to my sister in the car about the excitement I had for college while Bryce Vine’s “Drew Barrymore” played softly in the background. You showed me NIKI and Bazzi and Russ and Pink Sweat$ and, somehow, you always suggested the perfect songs for me to add to whatever playlists I made.
In 2020, my music started changing. Before school moved to an online format, my friend introduced me to UMI, who we would eventually talk about every day in biology class. You streamed “River” and “Butterfly” while I was in the shower for months and I still don’t get tired of her songs to this day. During quarantine, scrolling on TikTok led me to see Giveon’s songs rotating in some different videos suggesting new music. It felt like a match made in heaven. I ran to you right away to find “Heartbreak Anniversary” — it felt like angels singing in my ears as I listened, eventually getting my friends hooked on his soulful R&B. And because of my dorm neighbor at the start of freshman year in college, I started drifting away from the pop I usually played to more R&B and Alternative R&B, wondering where this music had been all my life. Frank Ocean, Daniel Caesar, Brent Faiyaz and more. I then found myself falling back into my 2017 Kpop loophole with BTS, GOT7 and NCT making their way to my top 100 songs of the year.
As I sit here waiting for my 2021 Spotify Wrapped to come out, I want to thank you. You made it apparent to me that music could be a way of connecting with other people. Like in 2018 when 88Rising became the rubber band that kept us retreat-goers connected or in 2020 when music became the conversation starter for making new friends freshman year. Thank you for being a record of my experiences. Thank you for always providing what I need no matter that mood I am in. You’ve been through it all, so let’s keep it going.
A Dedicated Spotify User.
MiC Columnist Hannah Nguyen can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.