Embarrassed by your Spotify Wrapped 2021? Time to join the club. We love to brag about our taste in music, but Spotify is here to expose you and your listening habits. Spotify’s annual Wrapped feature began in 2015, then known as the Year in Music. 2016 gave us Wrapped, and 2017 started adding the format we now see toward the end of each year.
Packaged in an aesthetically-pleasing slideshow to the tune of your favorite artists, Wrapped provides users with an analysis of their listening trends. With the release of Spotify Wrapped 2021, the most advanced version yet, users can even get roasted by their musical retrospective.
Spotify Wrapped 2021 curates a hypothetical soundtrack to your pretend biopic, all taken from your top songs. So which song works for your central theme, your action scene, your dance battle and other key cinematic moments?
It challenges you to a game of “two truths and a lie” based on your listening habits (spoiler alert: you will lose). It even gives you a multidimensional representation of your taste in music, referred to as your “audio aura.” Did you stream over 40,000 minutes of music while almost exclusively listening to dance-pop? Well, Spotify knows.
I’ve been dragged
Maybe your friend streamed Taylor Swift for a total of 5,038 minutes. Plenty of people had a last-minute Swiftie moment with her 10-minute version of “All Too Well” (she ranked as the second most-streamed artist in the world and the United States). Or maybe your sister’s second most-listened-to song is “True Colors” from the “Trolls” soundtrack. Perhaps your dad had his favorite “Yacht Rock” playlist on a loop for most of September. But nothing could compare to your own Spotify stats, right?
Wrong. Many people consider their Spotify Wrapped to be an exercise in vulnerability. Scroll through social media, and you’ll find an astonishing number of self-deprecating posts from people about their top artists and songs. Memes with twists on Wrapped flood Twitter around this time of year.
Upon scrolling through my own Spotify Wrapped 2021, my ego plummeted to its untimely demise. Last year exposed me as a depressed lesbian that often indulges in melodramatic movie soundtracks and Disney power ballads, with Phoebe Bridgers, Julien Baker and the “Frozen 2” cast among my top artists. Raise your hand if 2020 also had you making questionable decisions.
It turns out, not much has changed for me this year, other than a newfound love of Cigarettes After Sex (the band, not the act) and a period of nostalgia for my teenage emo phase. Much to my chagrin, I lost my “two truths and a lie,” thinking the artist I streamed on repeat was Phoebe Bridgers. It was actually Christian rock band Flyleaf. My listening habits demoted “The Pirates of the Caribbean” soundtrack and promoted “The Chronicles of Narnia” soundtrack. Who can resist the wistful Narnian lullaby played by Mr. Tumnus, the faun?
Can you read Audio Auras?
Ever heard of an aura? Spotify spoke with the host of the “Know Your Aura with Mystic Michaela” to find out. Basically, it’s your vibe represented in colors.
Our taste in music reflects our most vulnerable selves. Songs we belt in the shower, artists that make us weep in our cars, playlists that force us to dance no matter where we are. Arguably, that vulnerability amalgamated into our vibe. So what does your aura look like based on your streaming stats?
In partnership with Mystic Michaela, Spotify Wrapped 2021 presented us with Audio Aura. They assigned a color to mood descriptor categories and then matched them with tracks. The personal result for users is two audio moods that mix in an abstract color gradient.
Here are some of Spotify’s music moods and corresponding colors that you might find on your Wrapped: wistful and blue, cozy and green, bold and orange, healing and green, confident and purple.
And, in case you don’t know what wistful means, Google’s Dictionary defines it as “having or showing a feeling of vague or regretful longing,” while Merriam-Webster defines it as “full of yearning or desire tinged with melancholy” or “inspiring such yearning.”
My phone language setting is French, making my music mood that much more dramatic: mélancolie for blue, and désir for pink. Pretty direct translations, I’d say. And predictable for a listener of indie-pop and musical theater.
Global streaming trends
Now that you know the definition of “wistful,” let’s define “basic.” All you need to understand the meaning of “basic” is to scroll through the global streaming trends of 2021.
Most Streamed Artists Globally
Most Streamed Albums Globally
SOUR by Olivia Rodrigo
Future Nostalgia by Dua Lipa
Justice by Justin Bieber
= by Ed Sheeran
Planet Her by Doja Cat
Most Streamed Songs Globally
“drivers license” by Olivia Rodrigo
“MONTERO (Call Me By Your Name) by Lil Nas X
“STAY (with Justin Bieber)” by The Kid LAROI
“good 4 u” by Olivia Rodrigo
“Levitating (feat. DaBaby)” by Dua Lipa
Sorry, Swifties, Beliebers and Olivia Rodrigo stans – you’re, apparently, a bit basic. Nevertheless, they’re trends for a reason. So don’t be too hard on yourself.
Podcast nerds – assemble!
Sometimes music just doesn’t cut it, but you still need auditory stimulation. Maybe you’re a slave to our culture of toxic productivity, and you need to cram your brain with information while cooking dinner or commuting. Podcast nerds (aka the royalty of multitasking) – assemble. Spotify is here to affront your eyes with your favorite podcasts.
What could be more humiliating than admitting you listened to hours of a podcast about the Shakespeare authorship controversy? Not much. After burrowing into Shakespearean history and criticism, I stumbled upon the idea that the historical William Shakespeare may not have written the famous body of work attributed to him.
Then comes my obsession with Dragon Wagon Rado’s “Don’t Quill the Messenger,” which I streamed while training for a half marathon. Don’t come for me, Stratfordians. I don’t think Edward deVere was Shakespeare, but I don’t think the historical Shakespeare was the author, either.
Let’s look at the most popular podcasts globally and in the US.
Most Popular Podcasts Globally
The Joe Rogan Experience
Call Her Daddy
TED Talks Daily
Most Popular Podcasts in the US
The Joe Rogan Experience
Call Her Daddy
NPR News Now
So what? People have quirks when it comes to their listening habits. Many users like a bit of macabre content or indulge in a guilty pleasure artist. But you can’t lie to yourself about it. Spotify has come for us all.
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