There are two kinds of people in this world: people who look forward to their Spotify Wrapped and parents. Kids absolutely destroy any chance you have of a moderately respectable end of year wrap up. Exhibit A:
Let’s start with the first night of this Fyre Festival level disaster:
- Headliner Taylor Swift – you know what? No shame in this game. Or at least, significantly less shame than most of the rest of the line up. Midnights came out and we, like the rest of the world, listened to Anti Hero a million times, to the extent that anytime I hear, “It’s me,” I immediately say, “Hi, I’m the problem, it’s me.”
- Milo Manheim – I had to look up who this person is. And I’m sorry to say he’s the star of a movie trilogy called, “Zombies,” which is like High School Musical meets Kidz Bop meets Night of the Living Dead and it is as terrible as it sounds. We don’t even get a young Zac Efron.
- Ed Sheeran – I find Ed Sheeran unforgivably unattractive but I have to admit he is a talented songwriter and singer. I like “Castle on the Hill,” really like “Bad Habits,” and love love love “Everything Has Changed,” his duet with headliner T. Swift. Bad Habits was George’s favorite song for a long time, which explains Ed’s position on the chart.
- Dove Cameron – if you *have* to listen to a tween/teen movie soundtrack, I would absolutely recommend the Descendants trilogy, which does include Dove Cameron (although everyone who’s anyone knows the best song is “What’s My Name” by Uuu-uu-Uma). And I kind of (totally) love “Boyfriend,” which makes me wish Dove Cameron was my boyfriend, despite her questionable acting skills and the plastic surgery which she appears to maybe have had at age 20-something.
- Meghan Trainor – Ugh, I do not like her music one bit. Her songs all feel like gimmicks, kind of like a less lovable Ke$ha, and she has a dollar sign in her name.
- Guns ‘n Roses – This is a weird one because while I did harbor a pretty severe crush on late ’90’s Axl and I do love me some Appetite for Destruction, I wouldn’t say I listen to GNR a ton and I didn’t think my kids did either. I did hear Hazy singing “Rocket Queen” the other day and I was kinda impressed.
- Iceboy Ben – for the love. Mr. Ben is known for hits like, “Farted in the Uber” and “Sussy Baka,” and my kids’/husband’s person favorite, “Joe Biden Stinky Butt.” We have listened to this many more times than I would like to admit.
- Dave Matthews – I will always have a soft spot in my heart for Dave. Two Step reminds me of playing beer pong in the Theta Delt basement and #41 reminds me of falling in love with stupid boys. No one in the family listens to DMB but me, so I have to own this one.
- Leslie Odom Jr. – Hamilton is a work of genius and I’m not ashamed to have the rap stylings of Aaron Burr on my Spotify.
- David Bowie – I’m sorry that I have besmirched your legacy by including you in a lineup with Meghan Trainor and Zed from “Zombies.” Please know that my repeat playings of “Modern Love,” “Space Odyssey,” and “Starman,” have hopefully had a small impact on my children’s musical education, which they are obviously so desperately in need of. (See Iceboy Ben.)
- All Time Low – This should be the title of my Spotify Wrapped, although 2021’s had even more Minecraft music, so maybe that’s not completely accurate. We have exactly one All Time Low song on all of our Spotify playlists, and it’s called “Monsters,” featuring Demi Lovato. It’s not terrible. George loves it and it’s much better than most stuff he loves.
Can it get worse? Does a bear shit in the woods and then do they take that bear shit and mold it into a movie called Zombies? Yes, yes they can and yes it does.
- Our Day 2 headliner is the cast of Zombies. In other words, it’s mofo Milo Manheim and his intolerable Disneyfied friends. The songs from this soundtrack which haunt my nightmares include, “I’m Winning,” where two high schoolers, the “cool” one and the zombie one, argue in song form about who will win the election for class president. It’s as soul crushing as you imagine.
- Next we have her majesty, Beyoncé. As my friend Ngina said, “Is Beyoncé going to be okay?” No, of course she isn’t. She’s Queen Bey and we have her playing second fiddle to Zed the trash-talking high school zombie. The woman has been nominated for 79 Grammys and she’s backstage doing her warm ups while Zed the undead teen is spitting rhymes like, “Ooh, zigna-doo, ding, badda-doo/Bidda-ba, didda-bo, deeda-za, ba-doo, a-doo-wop/You’re all weird and strange! We are here for change!”
- Madonna. I know you’re not perfect, Madge, but I still love you and I’m sorry we disrespected you like this. If this doesn’t push you over the Borderline, I don’t know what will.
- Lizzo – sweet Jesus, Lizzo, I promise to double down on About Damn Time in 2023 to insure you never have to open for a poor man’s undead Zac Efron again. I feel like this is one of those teen movies where the heroine gets horribly embarrassed in front of all her idols. Beyoncé, Madonna, Lizzo, could it get any worse?
- Veggietales – Apparently that was not a rhetorical question. I hope Lizzo and Veggietales at least do a collab.
- Beastie Boys – So what’cha what’cha want? I’m gonna guess it’s not playing after a set of animated vegetables, two of which are actually fruits. #doublefail
- Mariah Carey – Mariah has endured a lot of indignities: Nick Cannon, New Year’s 2016 “technical difficulties,” losing her bid for Queen of Christmas (you’ll always be my Christmas Queen, Mimi), but none greater than this.
- Lil Nas X – I appreciate Lil Nas X normalizing being out and gay in the rap world. That said, I dislike both his fashion (tacky) and his music (one note) and I really wish my kids didn’t love his music this much. He’s not even in the top 1/3 of most embarrassing music on this list though.
- LD Shadow Lady – Here’s all you need to know about this person: Lizzie is the British YouTuber popularly known as LDShadowLady online. She has an estimated net worth of $11 million. She combines my children’s love of YouTube, Minecraft, and horrible music in a perfect storm of destroying my Spotify.
- Queen – I feel like I’ve disrespected Queen the band, Queen the recently departed monarch, and possibly even the borough of New York by allowing Queen to have a place on this list of shame.
- Rihanna – You know, if we got rid of all the straight males and YouTubers on this ticket, this would actually be a pretty killer Divas Live line up. Bey, Madonna, Lizzo, Mimi, Bad Girl Riri…
- …And Billie Eilish!
- We’re happy to have you, Harry Styles. I bet you put on an amazing show.
- One Republic – I would love to pretend that I barely know who One Republic is, but the dirty truth is that I’ve had “Counting Stars” in my head for approximately one year and it’s been going on for so long I don’t even mind that much. It’s just a part of my life now. Maybe it’s because Matty has a sleep disorder and I feel empathy? “Lately I’ve been, I’ve been losing sleep…” Anyway, you know how sometimes people think if they just have sex with someone they have a crush on, they’ll get them out of their system? Well, I may have tried that with “Counting Stars” a couple hundred times, but no luck. Everything that kills me makes me feel alive.
- The Beatles – Confession: every once in a while, I have a pang where I realize my kids’ tragic taste in music is reaching a point of no return, so I make them listen to a marathon of the Beatles, the Stones, the Beastie Boys, et al. Also, we realized Rocky really likes when we pretend to play the horns in “All You Need is Love” so we play it for him a lot.
- Imagine Dragons – Are the Dragons ghost-writing for the cast of Zombies? Because you don’t find songwriting like this just anywhere these days.
- One Direction – is it awkward for Harry to have to share the stage with his old band? I mean, not as awkward as it is for the Beatles I suppose.
- Lady Gaga – Gaga should have played the day before with the Divas, but I’m just glad she’s here.
- P!nk – This is crazy, but this is the first time I realized it’s P!nk and not Pink. Has she always been P!nk? Ke$ha, did you know this? Anyway, I won’t blame this one on the kids. I probably listen to Just Give Me A Reason twice a week to keep my karaoke game strong. And if you haven’t heard P!nk sing “A Million Dreams” from the Greatest Showman soundtrack, you haven’t lived.
- Jonas Brothers – I don’t *hate* the Jo Bros, but I’d be okay with hearing “Sucker” fewer times per year than I do.
- Nicky Youre – If you’ve ever suspected schools of indoctrination, here’s some fuel for the fire. Nicky Youre’s “Sunroof” is George’s “transition song” at school, which means it’s what they play when they switch subjects. You’d think he’d be sick of it, but we still listen to it ALL THE TIME. A nice thing I can say about it is it’s not Zombies.
- Selena Gomez – Hazy and I love ourselves some Selena Gomez and don’t you dare judge us. I challenge you to find fault with “Hands to Myself.”
- Camila Cabello – I could take or leave Camila tbh, but George only has 15 songs on his “George the Cool” playlist and “Liar” is one of them. Who am I to stop my son from admiring female singer-songwriters? He recently went to a sleepover party with a bunch of 11-year old boys and you know what movie they watched? Hidden Figures. We are raising a generation of feminists, friendos, and I couldn’t be prouder.
I’m currently brainstorming techniques to save my Spotify Wrapped for next year. Step 1: deleting all Zombies songs from all playlists and replacing them with The Cranberries’ “Zombies.”