At the end of the year Spotify compiles a personalized Top Songs playlist. We are regular Spotify users, but we don’t use Spotify’s family plan. All of our annual listening is mashed together in one giant jukebox and it’s a wonderful mess. Neutered KidzBop pop songs sit knee to elbow with (so many) Broadway showtunes and they in turn jostle for space with The National and Lorde.
This music milkshake did annoy me for a while, but I’ve come to like it. Getting older means increasingly getting caught in your own tastes and feeding a constant echo chamber. Seeking out, finding, and giving yourself the time and space to experience new things is hard. Escaping the algorithms and getting a cold recommendation takes effort.
Or, you could just let a bunch of kids freeload on your music subscription. I would have never learned the strangely hypnotic power of Tobu’s Candyland after 567th playing without them.
Can a band’s greatest strength also be their greatest weakness? I’m beginning to suspect that the genre-hopping Lake Street Dive might have this problem. Even with all the streaming options today, if a band doesn’t fit neatly into a pre-set sound or algorithm, how are people going to find you? How do you categorize or explain a band that hop scotches between jazz, power pop, classic rock, soul, R&B and British Invasion.
I call it awesome. I think other people call it confusing. How else to explain how with their lead singer’s voice and their musicianship they are not bigger stars.