All of My Spotify Playlists
I maintain 14 Spotify playlists. As I’ve mentioned before, I spend a lot of time crawling through Spotify’s long-tail, looking for forgotten or hidden gems that may not be new music but are new to me. I hope you benefit from my thousands of hours of music prospecting and suffering through terrible songs to find the good stuff.
I divide music into decades, rather than genre or mood. Thus, I’ve built decade-specific playlists:
- Pre-1960s (135 songs). Little-known fact: in my first couple of years of high school, I listened primarily to the local radio station catering to listeners from the Greatest Generation and Silent Generation (and older Boomers), featuring big band and old-school pre-rock pop songs. Many of the songs in this playlist are culturally significant but unknown to millennials and younger. I’m not sure how well these songs resonate with those generations.
- 1960s (1,143 song). This playlist is heavy on psychedelia, garage, and proto-punk, with a good dollop of old-school R&B/Motown.
- 1970s (1,283 songs). The 70s were a sprawling mess (musically and otherwise), and this playlist reflects the chaos. I’ve included many different genres in this playlist: from psychedelia/prog rock to punk; sunshine pop to old-school soul; early new wave to disco. You may get genre whiplash in this playlist.
- 1980s (1,535 songs). The playlist emphasizes new wave, synthpop, post-pop, and alternative, but I’ve been open to great songs from other genres. The 1980s were such an amazing period for music.
- 1990s (845 songs). I graduated grad school in 1994, so my musical tastes started ossifying after that. That’s part of why the 1990s playlist is half the size of the 1980s playlist.
- 2000s and beyond (262 songs). I’m sharing this playlist for comprehensiveness, not because it appropriately celebrates music from the last two decades. The reality is that I’m just not excited about most of the post-2000 music, in part because I’m not in in the target audience. Beyond the mass-market pop songs that appeal to everyone, the post-2000 music I like best pays homage to old-school genres like neo-psychedelia; but most modern implementations don’t sound quite right because of improved production values and changes in social norms. Usually, when I listen to modern invocations of old-school genres, it makes me nostalgic for the originals and pushes me back into Spotify’s long-tail to prospect for more forgotten gems from the past.
I also have a top 100ish playlist of the songs I enjoy listening to the most across all decades.
I have also built playlists based on topical themes. My typical approach to building these playlists: I do keyword searches related to the theme, toss out any song that doesn’t have lyrics at least tangentially related to the theme, and then supplement the search results with a few other relevant songs that I can find other ways. This approach to playlist building means that the playlist is dominated by long-tail songs; and because I don’t make any quality judgments, it means that many of the songs in the playlist are terrible (at least to me). I wouldn’t say these long-tail-heavy playlists are “fun” to listen to, but I think they are an interesting way to capture the zeitgeist.
- Songs about vegans and vegetarians (454 songs; primarily created in 2019). I’m amazed at how many hip-hop songs have celebrated veganism, and I learned about a new subniche called “vegan straight edge” (which I don’t really like musically, but I respect the sentiments).
- Songs about lawyers (57 songs; primarily created in 2018). There are too many songs about lawyers, so I never finished this playlist.
- Songs about intellectual property (63 songs; primarily created in 2018). Some real gems in here for IP nerds.
- Songs about emojis and emoticons (136 songs; primarily created in 2019). I love emojis, but this is a problematic playlist. There are many songs in this playlist that celebrate misogyny and drop the N-word relentlessly. NSFW, and caveat listener.
- Songs about computers and the Internet (40 songs). This is an under-developed playlist that I’ve never tried to complete. There’s a little overlap with the emoji playlist.
- Songs about privacy (28 songs). Also under-developed.
- Songs about impeachment (53 songs; primarily built in 2020). I built this to commemorate Trump’s first impeachment, but there are more songs about impeaching George W. Bush than about impeaching Trump.
I’d welcome song suggestions for the topical playlists!
Hope you enjoy the playlists. For those of you who take the Internet for granted, note that this project would never have been possible without a “celestial jukebox” like Spotify. Which I can listen to for free. I ❤❤❤ the Internet.