Love me, Love my playlist: Music Sharing as Courtship

by Sophia Madana

He invites you in after a date, and you take a seat on the couch. He beelines to the kitchen and yells for your drink request based on what he’s got left in the fridge and cabinets. Your initial scan of the apartment assesses there are no other roommates on location. He hands you the beverage in his right hand, holding his own with his left, and walks up to his record player.

***

He opens the car door for you and you give him a quick, sultry glance before you slide in. The car has been heated for you already on a winter’s night. You hear the driver’s door open as you finish checking your makeup in the side-view mirror. He adjusts his rearview and reaches for the stereo dial.

***
Your earbuds are carefully inserted, and he walks over to your cubicle on the way back from grabbing his second — no, third — cup of coffee this morning. The corner of your eye catches his smirk, and you fluster because he stops to converse.

“I just picked up this vinyl last week,” he says.

“You have to hear what I just downloaded on the way here,” he demands.

“So, whatcha listening to?” he inquires.

***

After enduring many first-stage dating experiences, it’s safe to assume that an unspeakable bond forms between people once they share their music with one another; a bond that sprouts an intimacy that plain old words can’t quite reach. You both listen to that same song together, and you give each other a look, and all of a sudden… you obtain a surreal level of telepathy. For one fleeting moment, you, and the world around you are all on the same page.

This brilliant and uncanny synergy is what makes Spotify so incredibly ingenious.

While at times I can write about my feelings until I’m blue in the face, I’m almost always pretty terrible at talking about them with others in-person or even via e-mail/chat. I’m not alone in that, and I’m sure it’s why many people choose to express their emotions through music. It speaks the underlying truths that we’re too overwhelmed to tell.

You could ask me on chat, “Hey … what’s up?” and I’ll respond, “Oh, you know. Same old,” which is what I’m supposed to say, and what everyone expects me to say.

But, check my Spotify playlist and if I’ve listened to Telepopmusik’s “Breathe” eight times in a row, most people who know me well will get the idea that I’m having a stressful day and am trying to imagine myself at a spa getting a massage while I’m creating an editorial schedule at work.

The same goes for others. Of course, there are the usual suspects. But, if I see a friend reach for his/her Emo playlist for two hours straight on Spotify, I can express concern and use the line, “Don’t give me that, I know you’ve been listening to Coldplay nonstop!”

But what’s really fun is when you’re in a moment, listening to your fucking jam, when unbeknownst to you, your love interest is listening to the same band. Obviously, I’m not naïve enough to think this happens completely by accident anymore. That’s what social networks are for. Stalk the shit out of your crush and catch their attention with the info they’ve inadvertently handed over to you. This is nothing new. One of you is putting in the extra effort; sometimes it’s them, sometimes it’s you. The end goal? Striking up a conversation with the hope that it leads to something more.

It’s the virtual equivalent to standing in line at a coffee shop and catching someone reading a book by your favorite author. You have to say something, right?

When it comes to dating, I have a really hard time with those websites. Taking way too much time writing profiles, posting rather ambiguous photos, telling me the three things you can’t live without are your “family, friends… and water” aren’t going to tell me shit about who you are. But your daily status updates, and most definitely, the music you listen to on the regular, those are clear ways to determine an authentic personality.

I understand being on a dating site is much easier when it comes to stating objectives. Obviously, everyone on OKCupid is on there because they are looking for intimacy of some sort. But what about the people like me, who hate the idea of seeking it out, and rather it stumble upon me during my everyday activities? I realize that becomes rather arduous while I’m spending 80 percent of my life looking at a screen. But while I’m on Facebook, Twitter, and now especially Spotify, I don’t know if it’s necessarily as hard as I make it out to be. I talk to strangers on Twitter at least twice a day on average. I can’t say the same for the amount of people I initiate conversation with at Starbucks.

As of right now, in a virtual world whose occupants are vigorously trying to pull you to the direction of their cause, I find Spotify a place where there are no real rules and everyone has a true shot to be authentic and say, “Yeah, I’m listening to LaToya Jackson. What are you gonna do about it, huh?”

Out of all the things you can lie about: your interest in politics, sports, animals, charities… it’s particularly agonizing to pretend you enjoy a certain genre of music when you don’t. Music, in my opinion, is the truest form of expression, which is what makes it so hard to deny. It’s also why we feel like we form true relationships when we share our music with each other.

Leading trends on the Internet are suggesting we’re all on it for a cheap thrill. But those of us who are trying to make real connections online still have hope, and it all starts with our favorite song.

Comments

  1. Michelle Scott says:

    I can tell more about many people’s true core beliefs by finding out what they listen to on the regular than by what they spout of their mouth. Diverse genres–chances are they’re more liberal and accepting of people’s differences. A bevy of Nickelback & Theory of a Deadman–probably fairly sexist and narrow-minded…and seriously lacking in taste!

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