I love my personalized year-end playlist of Spotify favorites because it combines three of my favorite things: music, lists, and bespoke results. Also I love the word bespoke and will use it at any opportunity, even when it’s not necessarily correct.

Should I be worried about the amount of information Spotify has about me, and all the implications on data privacy and security? Sure. Am I worried about the amount of information Spotify has about me, and all the implications on data privacy and security? No. Because I love my music!

I’m such a dork because I was excitedly thinking when I first checked out the wrap-up, “Ooh, who’s my top artist? What are my top songs?,” treating it like some big reveal.

So who is my top artist for the year?


No, the pleasure was all mine.


Her Majesty

I love that Queen is my top artist, because this is the year of Bohemian Rhapsody. I think I lost my mind when the first trailer was released, and I literally counted down the days until the movie came out. This is the year I fell in love with Queen all over again.


Love Is Bigger


I regret choosing another trip over going to see U2 again this year. (I really must learn to do what I want deep down in my heart and not do something just because it’s the sensible thing to do or because it’s what’s expected.) I stayed away from concert news as best as I could, but I could not stay away from the music. “Love Is Bigger Than Anything In Its Way” quickly became one of my all-time favorite U2 songs, right up there with “Bad” and “Shine Like Stars”. As with their best songs, I feel that Bono is talking directly to me in this one. When he sings the chorus at the top of his voice then drops a key into the bridge, it fills my heart to bursting and I feel safe and comforted.



Only 90s Kids Will Understand



Oh look! Amy Grant, Mariah Carey, Lonnie Gordon and all the 90s songs! That’s definitely my jam. I made me some awesome 90s playlists, because for some reason I totally leaned into my childhood this year. Youtube really is a rabbit hole, and when you start with one song you haven’t heard in years, you find another song you only ever heard on the radio while on the schoolbus with friends, and then you find another video you saw on MTV back when they still played music videos and then you’re caught in a full-on 90s nostalgia storm. Which is not a bad thing at all.


Local Flavor

I’m glad the Eraserheads are on the list. The Eraserheads are a Filipino band, and some (like me) would say that they are THE Filipino band. I know well why they’re here too – a jukebox musical featuring their songs was staged this year, and I wrote a feature article about them. So of course I had to go back and listen to their discography. No complaints here.


The Goal is Soul

I listened to Otis Redding for the first time this year. And boy was I blown away. I can’t believe I never listened to him before. His versions of “Hard to Handle” and “My Girl” are absolutely brilliant. And it makes me so thankful that great music like this exists.


The Greatest Show



Spotify reminded me that the first album I listened to this year was The Greatest Showman. And I remember it well – the excitement of hearing the soundtrack for the first time, the anticipation at the cinema, and alas, the disappointment after. But the music is still damn good. The mediocrity of the movie just makes you forget it. If I could, I would make an edit of the movie with just the musical numbers.


January seems like forever ago and the past year has seemed like a giant haze to me. But revisiting it through these musical moments has been helpful. I didn’t realize it would be an important and therapeutic experience. I don’t remember a lot, but the songs are always there, penetrating through the fog, and for that I am grateful.