shared playlist intimacy

while contemplating the ways we experience human interaction in pandemic spacetime, i found myself thinking about the relationships i've sparked and deepened with one thing: the shared playlist.

before Spotify became the de facto music sharing platform, this experience took a much more permanent form: the burned CD-ROM. we would spend hours ordering and reordering the songs to create meaning for each other before the track list was burned onto the disc, an irreversible snapshot of all the things we wanted to say; the unspoken things which we let the music say for us.

we spent a summer trading playlists. spent writer's craft classes with earbuds split across our desks, the same song humming through both of our consciousnesses. gifting someone a playlist is the equivalent of saying, i spent time creating this world for you, i hope you like it.

shared playlists are modern day time capsules; a collection of culture and emotions at a specific point in time, capturing a state of mind. there is something so intimate and lovely about the way that playlists give us so much insight about where people are, what they choose to share about themselves, their current state of existence, the thoughts running through their head. the tracks we share are one of the closest things we have to time travel—a song on the radio instantly transports me back to being seventeen, all of us sleeping outside while watching the Perseids meteor shower; to touching down in San Francisco for the very first time; to sitting in the Muskoka room with you at half-past midnight, whispering secrets over the expanse of dark blue lakewater.

so it was an intentional idea to create a new team tradition which asks each of us to secretly contribute one song to a weekly shared playlist. it has immediately become one of the highlights of my week to hear what is going through everyone else's heads. we did not expect that we would be spending the first few months of this adventure apart, but until we can exist together in the same spaces again, this is one way that we are transported to be just a little bit closer.

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