30 November 2023

The latest Spotify Wrapped feature just called you gay

This year your Spotify Wrapped told you which cities liked the same music as you, and people had a lot to say about it online. 

Yesterday was Spotify Wrapped day. If you’re lucky enough to not know what that means, it’s the annual event in which users of the music streaming service are given the chance to reminisce about what their ears bore witness to over the past eleven months. The deep depression you fell into in February where you only listened to Phoebe Bridgers? It’s time to revisit that. The day you listened to “I’m Just Ken” over forty times? Let’s unpack that. Finding out that your friends’ top five artists are (shocker) the musicians they listen to a lot? You’re literally not going to be able to escape it. But what really got people going this time round was the new “Sound Towns” feature, in which you got the pleasure of seeing what places had similar music taste to you. And judging from what’s making the rounds on X, nearly everyone got the US college towns Berkley, Burlington and Cambridge.

Though a handful of people got other cities – New York City and, according to my own Spotify Wrapped, the much less exciting York – it was Berkley, Burlington and Cambridge that seemed to dominate. While in actuality that’s because of the not-so-exciting fact that these are college towns filled with students of a similar age to those sparking the discourse, people online have drawn their own conclusions. Users of X have collectively agreed that all three towns are all kinda gay, but there’s also minutiae that makes them all subtly different. Berkeley is for those who are more dance music inclined (think Charli XCX and Caroline Polacheck), Burlington is for fans of Phoebe Bridgers and Ethel Caine (who are quite clearly a bit sad), and Cambridge is a kind of middle ground between the two. That will likely change depending on what tweet you take as scripture, but the main takeaway is that these three towns evoke a Spotify listener that’s definitely not straight, and might be on some form of antidepressant. 

What should we make of all this? First of all, there’s a lot of people that should probably seek therapy. The ones that got Burlington would be at the top of our list. More than that, though, the whole thing is yet another testament to just how quick the meme cycle is right now. As one user on X pointed out, they would have literally no idea what all of this meant a mere 18 hours prior. 

It’s so quick, in fact, that people are already bored of the Sound Towns discourse. As was the fate of the “this Barbie” memes and that time that “Angela Basset did the thing”, people have been just as quick to implore people to stop posting about it as they were to weigh in in the first place… And there’ll be another new feature of Spotify Wrapped next year so it can happen all over again. Yay!

  • Writer Amber Rawlings

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