Music has long been used as a currency for nostalgia. Spotify changed the game by making it infinitely easier to create and share playlists. Gone are the days of making mix-tapes to send to your friends. On Friday and Saturday nights the world over, a good Spotify playlist is probably as valuable as a decent DJ but I digress. The playlist has a lot of potential as an tool for nostalgia.
I’m willing to bet that every single adult has at least one song that will pull them back to very specific moments in time. For me, it is not a single song but an album: Kanye West’s Graduation. That album pulls me back to a long weekend I had with my family in Paihia. It was memorable because I had recently gotten a phone. Naturally, I was texting like a maniac. I found out that one of my best friends was also spending the long weekend near Paihia. I remember spending a lot of the weekend in the sun, but also texting and scheming with them of potentially sneaking out at night and meeting up. It never eventuated but the thrill of it all left a last impression. If one album can have that effect, so can a playlist.
Starting in November 2018, I made monthly playlists for all the songs that I had been listening to for that month. It is currently April 2020, and this month mark’s the 18th monthly playlist I’ve made. After 18 playlists, I regret not starting this habit sooner. The only other time-specific playlist I’ve ever made was one that spanned the summer of 2016 and 2017. December 2016 to February 2017 was when I was in Jakarta for an internship. That is hands-down my favourite playlist. There is nothing special about it in terms of the collection of songs, but it has been three years and the nostalgia is immense whenever I chuck it on.
I can’t say I’ve had the same impact the playlists from the 18 I’ve made so far. I accept this is a long-term game. I’m unlikely to reap the returns for a few years. But as time passes, the value of these playlists only grow. I make them now as a gift to my future-self.