By Cady Inabinett, Editor in chief
It’s the most wonderful time of the year.
No, I am not referring to Christmas or any of the other major holidays that occur around this time of year. I am referring to Spotify Wrapped season, naturally.
Getting my Spotify Wrapped is like opening a highly anticipated gift on Christmas morning. I’ll start making predictions about what’s going to be on it weeks in advance. When it finally drops, I’ll talk about it with everyone I know.
But, I have to stop and ask myself, why do I like getting my Spotify Wrapped so much? Sure, it’s because I love music and I listen to a lot of it. And, yes, of course it’s just fun as well. But, at risk of trying to make Spotify Wrapped deeper than it is and, perhaps, trying to psychoanalyze myself more than is called for, I think it goes further than that. I think, at its core, my love of looking at my Spotify Wrapped is connected to a deep, innate desire to know myself.
See, it would be one thing if I was just obsessed with my Spotify Wrapped, but it goes beyond that. I get really into looking at any year-in-review I can get my hands on. I love looking at my carefully maintained lists of all the movies and books I’ve watched and read throughout the year. I’ll revisit the albums I listened to for the first time that year and decide which ones were my favorite.
On one hand, year-in-reviews, like Spotify Wrapped, are my memories from the year. Often, I mark time by what music I was listening to, what director I was obsessed with or what book I was reading. It’s interesting to look back and see how these pieces of media may have shaped my perception or experience of my life throughout the year or vice versa.
But on the other hand, I can’t help but feel as though media consumption plays an outsized role in creating my sense of self, and my obsession with things like Spotify Wrapped speaks to a desire to understand myself through what media I’m consuming. What does the fact that Samia will be my top artist on Spotify Wrapped this year say about me? Or that my most watched directors were the Coen brothers? Or that I spent most of the past year reading poetry and short stories?
Some people might say that the music, movies and books I like don’t really say anything about me. I am inclined to disagree. I think the media and art we attach ourselves to does say things about us simply because art is the lens through which we view and interact with the world around us. However, I think I have put too much weight in interpreting what the art I like says about me. Maybe, that’s not for me to fully know.
Socrates’s first step to true wisdom is “Know thyself,” but I’m starting to think that knowing thyself is overrated. Not that I think a little bit of introspection is bad, but I think too much can be detrimental. The thing is, I’m always growing and changing. Knowing thyself, to me, seems to imply a static sense of self. If I focus too hard on knowing who I am, finding a definitive answer to the question of me, then I close myself off to the possibility that who I am as persons evolves with time.
I’m writing this prior to Spotify Wrapped’s release, and, ultimately, I know I’m still going to get excited about it this year. There’s nothing wrong with that. But, at the same time, it doesn’t have to be that deep. I don’t have to uncover the secret essence that makes me, me in my top 100 songs playlist. Instead, I can just enjoy the journey—and the music too, of course.
Cady Inabinett is the editor in chief of The Alabamian. She’s majoring in English and double-minoring in political science and peace and justice studies. She enjoys reading, watching movies, caring for houseplants and generally just being pretentious in her free time.