On July 20, 2015, Spotify introduced a new feature called Discover Weekly. It works like this: every Monday, Spotify presents you with a 30-song playlist—approximately two hours’ worth of music—based on “both your own listening as well as what others are playlisting and listening to around the songs you love, making your playlist completely unique and full of deep cuts and new discoveries.” It’s a great idea: a smarter, better-looking cousin of the iTunes Genius playlists.
As someone who’s never been particularly adept at seeking out new music, I should love Discover Weekly. “It’s like having your best friend make you a [personalized] mixtape every single week,” Spotify’s press release states. I fondly remember trading mix CDs with my friends in high school, carefully crafting a 16-song playlist with the hope of giving someone you care about something new to listen to. But if this is true—if Discover Weekly is my friend, pouring over an infinite number of songs in a library to send me ones they think I’ll like every week—then Discover Weekly is the shittiest friend I’ve ever had.
For a long time, I thought this was a standard thing. I thought everyone had bad Discover Weeklys. It was a defunct service, a bad addition. It had no idea what anyone liked. It was a neglectful, haphazard friend who showed up to your birthday party three hours late with a half-drunk bottle of wine.
The other night I asked my roommate what her Discover Weekly playlists were like. She smiled softly, as if thinking of an old relationship, the kind that somehow ends with no one blocking each other on social media. “They’re really lovely. I got some Paul Simon this past week!”
I would never tell you I have exceptionally good taste in music. I would say my tastes lean more towards pop and the occasional electronic music, but that my tastes, like me, contain multitudes. When Discover Weekly hasn’t stabbed me in the back, it’s sent me songs like “Goodbye” by Who Is Fancy, or “Gold” by Kiiara, or “Circles,” by machineheart ft Vanic. Maybe you knew these songs, but I certainly didn’t. Deep cuts, no doubt, but the types I enjoy: upbeat, emotionally-driven, percussive songs. Perfect for a commute or the workday or just playing in the background when I’m at home. But getting tracks like this is a rare occasion indeed. More often than not, my Discover Weekly is essentially LMFAO radio.
So I am left with questions. Does Discover Weekly hate me? Am I bad and only Discover Weekly knows it? Does Discover Weekly look at my recent plays––my Bieber, my One Direction, my whatever––and send me the bottom of the barrel as a joke?
Discover Weekly: what’s the fucking deal?
Maybe you don’t believe me. Maybe you think I’m some kind of snob. I promise you this isn’t the case, and to prove it, I will share five of the worst songs my Discover Weekly has ever gifted me.
This entry is one of the least egregious ones to me, which is why I’m including it first. If this song showed up on your Discover Weekly, I imagine you’d be a little caught off-guard. It’s loud, it’s repetitive, it’s obnoxious. On any given week, I get like five or six songs like this. This might actually be the one I like most! Who among us can say they don’t want cash, bottles, kush, or to fuck models?
One time I DJed a house party in college. :(
This is one of the most truly baffling entries in my entire Discover Weekly history. I have no idea how this winded up on any playlist I’d ever listen to, let alone my Discover Weekly. The first possibility is that this is a real, legitimate song with the opening lyric “how you want your weiner?” that Spotify thought I would enjoy and listen to for a full week. The other possibility is that this is a novelty song. It’s a joke. It’s a Lonely Island/Turquoise Jeep knockoff, except I don’t listen to anything like that on Spotify. Or maybe Discover Weekly thought I’d like this because I live in Chicago and we eat hot dogs here, not, like, more than any other city, I guess, but it’s a thing nonetheless? None of this really matters because this song also has 20 straight seconds of a guy saying: “sauerkraut, jalapenos, what?” over and over again.
This is the song equivalent of inviting your friend over and making them watch a comedy sketch while sitting in your bed. I’ve done this a lot of times, and I’m sorry.
This is the song from the Entourage movie trailer. I saw the Entourage movie in theaters, but there’s no reason that Spotify should know that about me. Morally speaking, I absolutely deserve this song for having seen the Entourage movie, but I don’t deserve it for any of my Spotify-related actions. Whatever. The joke’s on me: I added this one to my workout playlist.
Watch all 100 fuckin’ minutes of the Entourage movie.
Pentatonix, if you’re not familiar, is a five-member a cappella group who rose to prominence after winning Season 3 of the NBC show The Sing-Off. About every other week, I get a Pentatonix song. I don’t elect to listen to a cappella. In fact, I have a long-rooted resentment towards a cappella, a college organization populated by girls who looked better in headbands than me and boys who wanted me to be impressed by their ability to beatbox. I have never been able to sing well, and thus I’ll never take part in an emotional yet spirited rendition of Mika’s “Happy Ending.”
Why the fuck would Pentatonix show up on my Discover Weekly? I think about this all the time. It haunts me. Is it because they cover pop songs? Is it because they pay Spotify to promote their music? My tiny, adult fists ball into rage the second I hear a man’s mouth make any kind of percussive sound, and unfortunately for all of us, this is a regular occurrence.
There were so many a cappella concerts I could have gone to in college, and I went to two, maybe, and then I spent the rest of college saying, “Once you’ve seen one a cappella concert, you’ve seen all of them forever” to anyone who would listen. Of the four years I was in college, I skipped approximately 10 a cappella concerts—approximately 20 hours worth of music—and now I am going to get 20 hours’ worth of Pentatonix as retribution. Forgive me, Spotify, for I have hated. Hell is an unsolicited a capella cover of “Cheerleader.”
I don’t know where to begin with this one. Imagine me exhaling for weeks on end. What the fuck is this, honestly? What is it? What’s that movie where a good-looking person turns to another person and sighs and goes, “How did we get here?” That’s how I feel about this song, Discover Weekly, everything, really.
What’s the worst part of this song? I don’t really know. It’s like a monster created this in a lab, designed for, I don’t know, boys who want to recreate Lollapalooza in their frat’s living room. If you’re not brave enough to listen, here’s a tasteful sample of a verse: “We’ve been doing squats / party on the dock / take off every top / time to pump it up / drink until we drop / then take another shot / we don’t give a fuck / now take it from the top.”
Having an algorithm decide that I would like this song is the most hurtful thing a computer has ever done to me.
This is where I convince you that Spotify hates me, because I’m left speechless trying to equate a music or life choice with this song. Nothing I listen to sounds like this, and I hope it never does again. Coming across this song was bad. It was a dark time in my life. It was like finding a body in the woods with your friends, except I was alone at my desk at work, silently screaming in horror with my hand over my mouth.
Spotify, I’m a good person. I’m patient and kind-hearted. I say hi to dogs. I love to stream all of your Teen Pop!, THROWBACK JAMS, and chill.out.brain., but I need you to pull your weight. I need you to give. All of this hurts. The worst cut is, well, the worst cut, Spotify. I need you to think carefully—a thing I feel somewhat confident you are capable of doing, if not now, then very soon—about the music you think I would enjoy and what it says about me. I don’t want you to be the friend I talk shit about, but right now, you’re the friend I talk shit about. So let’s take the weekend, figure it out, and come back on Monday with the intent of being good to each other. Let’s start over. You do it every week anyway.
Fran Hoepfner is a writer and comedian living and tweeting in Chicago. She is the editorial assistant at ClickHole.
Images via YouTube