If you listen closely, you can hear it: the sound of everyone you know typing out some gentle self-deprecation at the same time. The Spotify Wrapped summaries have arrived, and, hot on their heels, the flurry of tweets showing screenshots of everyone’s listening breakdown under some version of the caption “Sounds about right.”
Around this time last year, Allegra Hobbs offered a compelling explanation for why we love these year-end summaries: “These lists are the purest personality test the internet has to offer — data-backed, strangely intimate, revealing (and sometimes embarrassing) tallies of exactly how we spent the hours that added up to a year,” she wrote. “They are pure data, unfiltered reflections of who we are when no one is looking — which can be surprising even to ourselves.”
Or, to put it in 2020 terms: If a public, curated playlist is the version of you that brushes your hair and puts on a bra before a Zoom call, your Wrapped summary is the version of you that’s been wearing the same stained sweatpants since… Sunday, maybe? It’s your most private self, the one that’s not put together for anyone else’s consumption.
We’ve all spent more time than usual inhabiting those selves this year. Which means that your Spotify Wrapped isn’t just a personality test—it’s also a time capsule of a very strange and difficult year. It’s a pandemic soundtrack: The things you played when you were feeling scared or sad or stressed, and the things you played when you wanted to drown out all of those feelings. It’s a testament to the fact that you’ve made it this far.
And at the tail end of this Very Bad Year, it’s a very welcome chance to laugh a little bit by poking fun at ourselves. Was my Spotify-assembled “2020 top songs” list, almost without exception, a mix of Taylor Swift and the Hamilton soundtrack? Yes. Was one of those few exceptions the novelty song “A Little Bit Alexis” from season five of Schitt’s Creek? Also yes. Sounds about right.