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Eclecticism, ‘Everything She Wants’, and Alex Turner: Tom Lowe’s 2023 Spotify Wrapped, reviewed

The weather has gotten colder, assignments are stressing everyone out, and the Christmas lights are up. That means only one thing: Spotify has once again graced us with its annual assessment of our music taste, highlighting the songs, artists, and genres that defined our year. Personally, this has always been one of my favourite parts of the year, allowing me to reminisce upon the 73, 962 minutes of music that got me through the past eleven months of my life, and this year was no different.


Potentially the most consistently vague part of Spotify Wrapped is its revelation of one’s top genres for the year, with the 2023 edition seeing our Top Five sandwiched neatly into, well, a sandwich. This year, I listened to 120 genres, although my top one, as has been the case for the past four or five years, was Rock. In second place was Pop (with a sorrowful lack of Disco Dave), followed by whatever ‘pov: indie’ is, Soul, and Soft Rock. This often confuses me, as I find myself asking the question, why name Rock as an overarching genre if you are going to differentiate between it and Soft Rock? Soul was a welcome surprise, however, as my year has been marked by a newfound appreciation of artists such as Marvin Gaye, Sam Cooke, and the queen herself, Aretha Franklin. Overall, I’m fairly satisfied with my genres for this year.


I listened to 2,923 different songs in 2023, making for an average of 61 per week. One of the resolutions I set myself at the beginning of the year was to delve into a wider range of music, and I feel as though this statistic is the best one that Spotify provides in order to highlight the true diversity of one’s music taste. Your top songs are important, of course, but revealing how many different songs you listened to over the course of the year is an important benchmark for seeing how you can grow and change as a person.

That being said, my top song of the year was ‘That’s Where You’re Wrong’, the final track from Arctic Monkeys’ fourth album, Suck It and See. From the 8th of January onwards, I played this song 174 times (over 12 hours of listening!), and in the words of Spotify, “it still sounds perfect”. It’s a timeless, instant, introspective classic and in my opinion, remains the Monkeys’ best song, so I’m very pleased that it was my top song this year. ‘Everything She Wants’ by Wham! takes second place, followed by another Arctic Monkeys song, ‘Perfect Sense’, with ‘Million Dollar Man’ by Lana Del Rey and ‘I Know The End’ by Phoebe Bridgers in fourth and fifth.

These five songs certainly deserve their place here. ‘Everything She Wants’ dominated the second half of my summer, heightening my interest in Wham! and 80s music in general, and providing the soundtrack to many a party. I was lucky enough to see ‘Perfect Sense’ performed live at the Ageas Bowl in Southampton in June, a song I view as a particular highlight from the Monkeys’ latest album. ‘Million Dollar Man’ is a real surprise here, because although it was played essentially on repeat in the library in January and February, I haven’t really listened to it since then. I often play ‘I Know The End’ before going to bed, so it is unsurprising to see it here, although I would have expected it to be slightly higher on the list.


Here is my biggest ‘disappointment’ with my Wrapped this year, my top three artists are exactly the same as they were in 2022 – they are even in the same order! The number one spot is taken by Arctic Monkeys, the second by the music industry herself, Taylor Swift, and the third by Lana Del Rey. Whilst this is certainly not an upsetting turn of events, it has instilled what feels like a seed of doubt in my willingness to listen to a wider range of music. On the other hand, being in the top 0.05% of Arctic Monkeys listeners with 7,516 minutes is a statistic that can’t help but instil a sense of pride in me. Still though, I am disappointed that I didn’t get a personalised message from Alex Turner.

In fourth and fifth were Phoebe Bridgers and a small band from Liverpool called The Beatles. I was surprised to see Bridgers and not boygenius (her band with Lucy Dacus and Julien Baker) make the list, as their album the record was my pick for album of the year, and I had it on repeat for months. Nevertheless, Bridgers’ solo music will always hold a special place in my heart, and I’m sure boygenius will make it into my Wrapped next year. The Beatles are the biggest surprise here though, as my love for them was only rekindled with the release of their final song ‘Now and Then’ in November.

Overall, I feel as though it is impossible to be truly upset about one’s Spotify Wrapped because all it is a collation of your listening history. Of course, we can all feel disappointed that an artist we truly like didn’t make the top five, or that we didn’t get enough minutes of listening in, but on the whole, music is meant to be a personal experience. If you enjoyed listening to a certain song, why shouldn’t you be happy that it’s made your top songs? Wrapped is an annual reminder that it’s your music taste, and nobody should be able to take that away from you.


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