Why Spotify Wrapped is a day of mourning for parents everywhere

The launch of Spotify wrapped is a day of great joy and celebration for millions of music fans. Around the world, they’re coming together online — smiles wide, arms open — to share pieces of themselves with friends and family. “Look,” they say, with pride, embarrassment or a mixture of both, “this is what I’ve been listening to this year.

“Here is the soundtrack of my life.”

Unfortunately, I cannot share this moment. I can’t be part of this parade. I have to go into goblin mode. I have to retire, to my cavern shame, shoulders slumped, head down. Over the past five years, maybe longer, my Spotify Wrapped has become an abomination – an obscenity unfit for human eyes and ears.

The problem: I am a parent of two young children under the age of 10. I am a leper. Spotify Wrapped is dead to me. Send me your thoughts and prayers.

For me – and for parents everywhere – Spotify Wrapped is a day of mourning.

It’s hard for non-parents to understand the loss, but I’ll try to explain. Back when Spotify Wrapped first launched in 2016, I would open the app with anticipation and excitement. What was my favorite song? Who was my most listened to artist? Back then, when I happily created carefully moderated playlists of the cutting edge pop music I listened to, it could have been Maggie Rogers, Carly Rae Jensen, Låpsley, Tegan and Sara.

No more. Now it’s a wasteland

In 2022, my Spotify Wrapped testifies to a life torn apart by the sticky hands of chaos gremlins bent on tearing my algorithms member by member. There’s no Wet Leg, there’s the Moana soundtrack. There is no Rosalia, there is this song from the end of the Sonic the Hedgehog movie. There are no Alvvays, there are… [checks notes] Bad lip reading?

Yes, it’s true. For some reason, my 9-year-old son, obsessed with memes and internet culture consumed secondhand via the playgroundbecame obsessed with a Star Wars parody song, My stick is better than baconreleased in 2020.

It was my most streamed song of 2022.

I consider myself lucky. A few years ago, one of my best tracks of the year was a song called Poop Poop Poop Poop Song by The Toilet Bowl Cleaners. A song with insightful lyrics like “Poop, poop, poop, poop, it’s falling off my butt, it doesn’t sound good to me, but the flies say yum, yum, yum.”

In a house like mine, with Alexa speakers in multiple rooms, it’s all too easy for my kids to say the name of a song and have it playing in seconds. This is the source of all my troubles.

Case in point: this year my 6 year old became obsessed with something called Poppy Playtime, a weird horror survival game for kids that I absolutely never allow him to play. Armed with the third-hand knowledge of older kids at school, he discovered a suite of bizarre metal songs about the game’s characters – called Huggy Wuggy and Missy Kissy. He tortured my smart speakers endlessly with these terrible tracks.

Every day I’m in hell.

I recognize that there are solutions to this problem. A second Spotify account, attached to smart speakers? Of course that would work. The Spotify family plan, which allows multiple different accounts on the same plan would probably be the most effective band-aid. But the reality is… I’m a parent. I’m tired. My day begins with a frantic race for the door to get to school and ends with me slumped on the couch, watching half an episode of 1899 before falling asleep. The last thing that comes to mind at this point is to “repair Spotify”. I survive. That’s enough.

Which reminds me of my favorite Spotify story. A friend of mine, a sleep-starved new mother who couldn’t afford to nap her newborn baby. His most listened song on Spotify:

Strong hair dryer (calming).

A classic of the white noise genre, I’m sure we can all agree.

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