Bearing News

Spotify playlists foster personal expression

Art by Devin Hall

On the playlist tab of a Spotify profile, one can see a person’s playlists laid out in tiles, each displaying the title and a cover picture which can be changed. Users such as senior Ellie Barnett can upload personal or other images for their covers and fully customize their profile. 

“The names of playlists are mostly in all caps because I like the way that looks,” Barnett said. “I also add my own pictures to the playlists, add a preset to them so they all match [and] match the picture I choose to the vibe of the playlist.”

Sophomore Saloni Chaurasia’s Spotify, however, is filled with 37 cover images of Pingu, a penguin from a children’s claymation television series, for each of her playlists. 

“A common theme I have throughout my playlists is that all the cover pictures are of Pingu doing different activities,” Charurasia said. “So, if someone was to go through them, they could get a rough idea of what the playlist was about by looking at the Pingu picture.”

For example, one is titled “missed calls” and shows the penguin on an angry phone call. All the songs are similar in that they have a voicemail or phone conversation in them, such as Dayglow’s “Can I Call You Tonight?” and Drake’s “Can’t Have Everything.”

Barnett said she isn’t very picky with the songs she listens to, so many of her playlists are made up of what she is currently listening to, labeled a letter from the alphabet. She creates a new one whenever she finds more songs, and right now, she is on letter “e.”

“If I like the beat to something I’ll add it to a playlist,” Barnett said. “I tend to pay more attention to the sound of the song rather than the lyrics. Sometimes I’ll play a song with someone in the car and they’ll be like, ‘what even is this about?’ and I have no clue because I just liked the beat.”

Barnett has other playlists dedicated to different scenarios and moods, such as one titled “ONISM,” full of songs she thinks “would be great in a movie.” This includes Tame Impala’s psychedelic “Borderline” and Bright Eyes’ dreamy-sounding “First Day of My Life.” 

Listen to Barnett's playlist "ONISM" here.

“My friends and I bond a lot through music, and I think it genuinely is an essential part of many of my friendships.”

Saloni Chaurasia

Like Barnett, Chaurasia also arranges her playlists by the moods or feelings evoked from their songs. She said some are made up of songs that are grouped together because of their similar “vibe,” such as her playlist “emotionally detached,” which she describes as “chill songs I would play while hanging out with friends.” This one displays a picture of Pingu with his headphones plugged in, perhaps listening to songs such as Conan Gray’s “Grow” and Khalid’s “Alive.”

“A lot of them are named after certain inside jokes I have with my friends,” Chaurasia said, “so they kind of remind me of that time we had.”

Mike Pierson, RBHS show and concert choir teacher, said music has the ability to affect one’s emotions. For example, listening to soothing music when one is irritated or upset can bring about calm and listening to uplifting music can make someone feel happier, uplifted and inspired. He also said it can bring back memories⁠—for him, songs from his youth evoke more memories than those he’s encountered in his adulthood, such as Bonnie Tyler’s “Total Eclipse of the Heart.” 

Listen to Chaurasia's playlist "emotionally detached" here.

“I remember a friend playing [and] singing that on the piano during choir my freshman year of high school,” Pierson said. “I can still see all of those friends gathered around the piano and belting it out.”

In addition, Pierson said people, such as some of his students, can bond through music. For example, one of his students and her sister performed a duet called “The Next Time I Fall” by Peter Cetera and Amy Grant that Pierson said he “hadn’t heard in years, but still knew every word.”

“I have several students who really like music from the 80’s, which is the music of my teenage years,” Pierson said. “We certainly have a bond through certain songs from that time period that we both like to listen to.”

Chaurasia said she and her friends often recommend music to each other, and she listens to their playlists with their permission. She said this not only helps her in finding new music, but also in getting to know her friends better.

“I have several collaborative playlists with some of my friends where we share songs that we think each other would enjoy,” Chaurasia said. “My friends and I bond a lot through music, and I think it genuinely is an essential part of many of my friendships.”

Do you share music with your friends? Let us know in the comments below.

Related posts

Leave a Comment