My Spotify Wrapped Proves My Kid Has Better Taste In Music Than I Do
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Since 2019, parents everywhere have feared the moment when “Spotify Wrapped” pops up. While people without children might cringe at their guilty pleasures over the past year, parents generally are presented with a mishmash of what they tried to listen to, punctuated by “Baby Shark,” or some other kids’ music, including songs that have detailed instructions for how little kids can learn how to use the toilet. As a result, I have never taken this algorithm-driven publicity stunt from Spotify seriously. My wife and I both know that our favorite recording artists are not Raffi or the Kiboomers — no disrespect intended. But this year, 2023, was different. This was the year I learned my 6-year-old daughter is 100 percent cooler than I am, and Spotify Wrapped proves it.
Although Spotify Wrapped is the end-of-year music retrospective most people talk about, Apple Music (iTunes) also has its own version called Replay, which is the exact same thing as Spotify Wrapped, but for your iTunes. This is relevant for me for one crucial reason: I use my iTunes when I’m by myself, driving around, walking, working, or whatever. For a variety of reasons, I use my Spotify almost exclusively with my 6-year-old daughter. So, what I didn’t know until Replay and Wrapped dropped was that iTunes was my music and Spotify is what my daughter listened to when she had my phone. The conclusion?
My daughter — who is still learning to tie her own shoes and read on her own — is a cool indie rock person who also loves some of the most beautiful film music ever created. Meanwhile, her father, me, is a grumpy dorky dad.
According to Replay, my four albums include both 2023 albums from The National, the soundtrack to the Star Trek musical — “Subspace Rhapsody,” and the newest Noel Gallagher album. This is so predictable that my daughter could probably have guessed it. The National and Noel Gallagher are dad rock to the core, which is part of why I write about those records here at Fatherly all the time. (Thank you, by the way, fellow dad rock readers for reading everything we publish in The Fatherly Turntable!)
My top four artists on Replay are The National, Noel Gallagher, Murray Gold (a prominent Doctor Who composer), and Stephen Barton, who was one of the co-composers for Star Trek: Picard Season 3. Apparently, when I’m driving or working, I’m just constantly pretending like I’m going warp speed, or time traveling in the TARDIS.
While my daughter is familiar with all of this music because she lives with me, her control over Spotify reveals that she has way cooler taste. Her number one artist of the year, according to Spotify Wrapped? That would be Joe Hisaishi, the famous composer who has scored various Miyazaki movies over the years. Yes, she was Kiki from Kiki’s Delivery Service this year for Halloween, so it makes sense her top song was also from that score. But, she could have also selected other songs from other movie scores she likes. But she didn’t. She picked the good stuff.
Our kids are not clones of us, but sometimes they are mirror images, at least, it seems that way in specific microcosms generated by capitalistic algorithms. Like me, my daughter likes movie/TV scores, which is reflected in her love of Joe Hisaishi’s music.
But, her number two artist was the band Metric, a pop-rock band fronted by Emily Haines, which is probably most famous for a song they did for the Scott Pilgrim soundtrack back in 2010. (Haines also sings in the new Netflix anime Scott Pilgrim Takes Off.) Metric toured with Noel Gallagher this past summer, and I did see them live and I did think, hey, I bet my daughter would like this band.
Is this a totally accurate picture of what my daughter listened to this year? Not at all, but it does represent a fairly accurate picture of what she selected from the phone with me when we weren’t listening to music on the record player or CDs. (When she was smaller, we tried to get rid of digital music altogether. Clearly, we failed.)
The larger point is, that yes, your kids will like things that you introduce them to, at least when they’re really, really young and not getting a ton of music recommendations from friends. But kids aren’t necessarily going to like everything you like, and they may surprise you with what they do end up loving. This year, my daughter really got why a cool female-fronted rock band is, in fact, excellent. She also clearly sees that the sublime beauty of Joe Hisaishi extends beyond the screen. As a dad, I’m both proud of how cool she is right now and terrified about how irrelevant I’m about to become.