My Spotify Premium subscription unlocked a new personal hobby the past two years: making playlists.
The time I spend listening to music has spiked this year. With everything I do — walking to class, switching laundry, picking up mail, working out, writing — I like to have a bit of background music in my ear. The music feels like my second heartbeat, a constant in my life. It helps that I blindly believe I have excellent taste in music.
Since around June of last year, I began compiling my current favorite songs into monthly playlists. It helps me find new songs and artists as well as remember certain feelings and memories from specific points in my life. Now, I get a little bit too much joy when I realize the month is ending because I get to carefully curate next month’s soundtrack.
The monthly playlists I curate are usually very long, about 50 to 60 songs each. I can’t listen to the same 10 songs for weeks on end — although, I have those immediate favorites that I stream as much as I can for about two days.
One emerging pattern is that a few songs from the end of the previous month’s playlist will become the starting point for the next month’s playlist. This is especially true when I don’t get to listen to certain songs as much as I would like to, or the shuffle algorithm has not been in their favor. There is no room for “filler” songs in my playlists, either — I am not afraid to delete songs that just do not match the vibe.
Going through my older playlists, I can see myself walking my dog in the middle of August listening to Chloe x Halle’s album “Ungodly Hour” and Rina Sawayama’s “SAWAYAMA” on repeat. These songs provide an intimate look into my past. Any one of these playlists contains songs I cried to, ran to, screamed in my car to. Anytime I felt a certain type of way, my feelings can be represented by these songs.
I have a strong belief that monthly playlists are the best way to organize songs, but I’ve heard many alternatives. One of the craziest in my opinion is creating one long list of every song you ever liked. That sounds insane to me because I like keeping all my months of music separate to keep track of the memories. I could never just have a running list of every song I ever listened to and hit shuffle.
Each playlist has a general mood that I like to set. Everything revolves around my life and where I am at in terms of school, emotions, relationships — or lack thereof — and the weather. Currently, my April playlist is reminiscent of end-of-the-semester burnout, but it also has dreamy pop hits that sound great when I’m walking up Commonwealth Avenue with the sun shining on my face.
I am quite proud of my playlists and how I have curated my listening. It is something so small and seemingly inane, but music brings me so much joy.
I do not know how common it is to make monthly playlists. Is it a unique and fun idea? Is it something everyone does and has just eluded my knowledge? If you are not already making playlists every month, I highly recommend it. You never know when you will want to relive the memories of your summer self through the songs that followed you everywhere for those 30 or so days.