Music and the End of the Year

I always love looking back on my music-listening at the end of the year. I use Spotify frequently, and for the last two years, it has provided me with a list of my most-listened-to songs. They also added a few other features by letting me see my top artists, amount of listening minutes, and so on.

While I wasn’t completely surprised by my list of top artists, there were a few things that caught me off guard. The primary one? Yo-Yo Ma was my top played artist of the year. He beat out Kendrick Lamar, Chris Thile, Lorde, and Mutemath. I couldn’t help but wonder how that could possibly be — I don’t remember listening to Yo-Yo Ma quite as much as I listened to the other artists. And then I realized that a large portion of my listening in the spring and summer revolved around non-lyrical music. I was doing a ton of reading and writing for a couple of my classes, and needed music in the background that wouldn’t distract me. Thus the Bach: Cello Suites album by Yo-Yo Ma took up a bunch of my listening time. This little bit of data analysis helped me to remember a significant part of my year (listening to Bach coupled with research) that was buried in memory.

Another thing I love about the end of the year lists is listening to those top 100 songs on shuffle. It’s a little jarring as it jumps from “DUCKWORTH” by Kendrick Lamar to “Still Feel Like Your Man” by John Mayer. But something about it feels right. I have always loved the eclecticism of my music tastes — on any given day I’ll listen to a bluegrass album, a hip-hop album, and a pop album. The shock of jumps between these genres in the space of a few minutes reminds me of the diversity of music I enjoy.

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