I like to look at the “Top 50” Spotify playlists from time to time as a temperature gauge. To see what resonates with people these days, what messages people are being inundated with.
As of today, November 13, 2019 at 6:27pm, the number one song is “ROXANNE” by Arizona Zervas in the USA. I have never before heard this song in my life – is it from TiK ToK or a meme?
Whatever the case, I see the next lineup of songs – rap songs, “Lose You To Love Me,” “Circles,” “hot girl bummer,” “Memories,” it goes on and on.
What I see is a strange mix of hedonism with songs that praise a woman for “tak[ing a] pic when her ass out” (sic) and at the same time laud women for moving on from love. We have lots of songs about being “Good As Hell” after being jilted by a lover, but there seems to be considerably fewer songs that address the notion of love in its annoying, idealized form like we knew of even just two years ago.
It seems eerie that “hot girl bummer” should come out at a time that was particularly aligned with my current mood. But is it as really as eerie as that?
Maybe it’s a sign of things that are dying out. Long gone are the days of simple pleasure in song. Now it’s all about drugs, Instagram photos, and condoning hookups. We’re all suffering from disillusionment about the meaning of success – in finance, in love, in our very identities – and we are stuck in an endless feedback loop where we’re told it’s always going to be this way by the music we listen to.
On the other hand, to take this with a bit of fauvist positivity – perhaps it’s a sign that my generation is still capable of having a collective, empathetic, shared experience. Perhaps it’s indicative that others my age are having the same existential struggles, and we’re all turning to the same popular songs for a temporary bandaid until it heals and we move on to the next wound to lick.
(A few clarifications: I am aware that artists, industries, and political entities are gatekeepers to collective consciousness, and they could be the ones controlling our thoughts, in a way. However, I’d like to think we have a little bit of volition in our tastes, so I’m assuming that these charts are reflective of what people are feeling. Additionally, by “people,” I mean people of my generation who use Spotify heavily – perhaps aged 16 to late 30s.)