Wrap Up the Year With Spotify’s Tastebreakers

Last week, Spotify released their annual Wrapped feature, which highlights interesting stats of each listener, ranging from the first song you played in 2018 to how many hours you spent listening to your top artist. Wrapped also includes a compilation of the top 100 songs unique to each individual. My social media platforms were all flooded with screenshots of Spotify’s clean aesthetic as everyone compared their songs and minutes.

What attracted my attention, however, was the Tastebreakers playlist, a curation of 50 songs from artists and genres you don’t normally listen to. After playing aggressive trap music for a straight week to get in the zone for finals, I was ready to expand my musical palette and explore new genres. Expecting sounds from the opposite end of my usual spectrum, I was pleasantly surprised to hear fresh melodies interweaved with styles I’m drawn to, rather than clashed completely.

Not usually a big country listener (see: aggressive trap music), I found my foot tapping along to a R3HAB remix that blended southern drawls with a bouncy upbeat. I was then transported from the back of a pickup truck into the magical world of Suwannee Hulaween. The striking guitar and warbling accordion of the String Cheese Incident enveloped me in a head-nodding bluegrass haze. From there, I discovered a Panic! At the Disco and Sweater Beats remix that I didn’t know I needed, or had realized how incomplete my life had been without it.

The spotlight of my Tastebreakers playlist was hands down Riz La Vie, whose raw emotion and lyrical vulnerability instantly struck and stuck to me. “Old Young” had an intensity and soulfulness that twisted my heart as I played it on repeat. “Pisces” solidified a special place in my heart for Riz La Vie, who poured his heartbreak into a soft beat with a powerful voice. His music taught me to take the time to sit and face emotions I tend to avoid and push to the back of my head (what can I say, I’m a Pisces! He gets it). I felt like I was going through a spiritual cleansing while growing more in tune with myself and rediscovering some important things in my life.

Initially setting out with the intention of listening to the Tastebreakers playlist as a whole, I found myself interrupting the flow by going off to new artists’ pages, listening to more of their songs, and uncovering a love for new genres and artists, which had been precisely Spotify’s goal. I still haven’t gotten through the playlist as a whole, simply because I keep wandering off to new artist pages and going where the music takes me.

It can be easy to get stuck in the same old routine, and that’s especially applicable to music. You have a playlist of all your favorite songs on repeat, and while it can be comforting, music is all about encouraging growth and pushing boundaries. Tastebreakers helped me recognize this  significance, as well as my new year’s resolution – avoid musical stagnancy by continuing to broaden my horizons through a multitude of new genres, mediums, and experiences. I encourage everyone to explore their unique Tastebreakers playlist with an open mind and uncover new music to bring in the holidays!  

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