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Can The Music You Listen To Reveal Something About You?

Ever wondered what it is about that groovy beat that makes your head bop, or your feet tap continuously, or even why you start listening to sad music when you already are sad? That is because music has been scientifically proven to have beneficial effects on your overall well-being just as much as it can influence your mood and emotions. Music is something that also connects us through culture and similar tastes. And recently Spotify Wrapped 2020 stats came in and has had us sharing our music tastes with our friends. 

We listen to music for a variety of reasons, sometimes it reminds us of something or someone, to fill in the silence, to accompany our journey or chore, to make us feel something, to reflect, or to regulate our emotions. Whichever the reason, what connects the music we listen to our emotion is because of how our brain interprets it. Ultimately if you break down the complexities of music you’ve got tunes that are different notes that will change depending on the increase or decrease in pitch, which is formed into a rhythm, which then together makes a composition of taps and moments of silences. And if you break it down even further we don’t listen to music but we feel it and interpret it with our brain. The music you hear is actually a series of wavelengths that turn into vibrations when they are captured by your sense organs. Funny how our body does all of this and we get to sit back and enjoy it at the same time. 

A study at The University of Central Florida analyzed how different parts of the brain became activated when a person listened to music. For example, the cerebellum which is what coordinates our movement and physical memory become engaged, hence why we want to dance when we hear a song with a great beat. How we interpret lyrics in a song is through the temporal lobe which processes hearing. Why we feel happy or satisfied when we hear a song is because of the nucleus accumbens which is the part responsible for releasing dopamine and seeking pleasure. Furthermore, the amygdala is what controls our emotions and it directly becomes engaged as it controls what we feel. And you know that it's working when you feel your spine-tingling. 

So how can you now use your personalized rankings that Spotify Wrapped has created for you to see how you’ve been feeling or like to feel? An average adult’s heart works between 60 and 100 beats per minute (bpm) so you can imagine that each music genre will have a different effect on your heart based on the composition’s bpm. Jazz will make you feel awake but relaxed as its 60 bpm will synch up with your natural state. Pop music will probably increase your positive mood with an average of 100-130 bpm. Classical music on the other hand can help you reduce stress because of the music’s structure and its range of beats per minute from 60 to 80. Rap and Hip Hop can range from 60 to 140 depending on the artist and beat but it can be helpful to reflect and interpret different situations especially through the lyrics. 

Music is a very personal thing and what or why you listen to it is based on your preferences and journey. So we’ve rounded some of our favorite songs from 2020 with the help of Spotify’s editor's picks and have categorized them by genre. These are suggestions if you feel like exploring a new way to feel something or simply if you’re looking for a new favorite tune to play on repeat. 

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  1. Don’t Start Now by Dua Lipa 

  2. The Other by Lauv

  3. Who’s laughing now Ava Max 



  1. Overnight Celebrity by Twista

  2. TKN by Rosalia ft Travis Scott

  3. Gelato by Tyler, the Creator



  1. Blinding Lights by The Weeknd

  2. Change Your Life by Kehlani ft. Jhené Aiko

  3. Go Crazy by Chris Brown ft Young Thug


Hip Hop

  1. Shoop Salt-N-Pepa

  2. The Box by Roddy Rich 

  3. Savage (Remix) by Megan Thee Stallion ft Beyoncé



  1. Efemera by Tulipa Ruiz

  2. Un Dia by J Balvin, Tainy, Dua Lipa, Bad Bunny 

  3. Tusa by KAROL G ft Nicki Minaj


Tropical House

  1.  Lose Somebody by one republic ft Kygo

  2. You Can Have Me (if you want me) by Twelve

  3. Like It Is by Kygo, Zara Larsson, Tyga



  1. Dance Monkey by Tone & I 

  2. Chicago by Sufjan Stevens

  3. Can’t Stop by Red Hot Chili Peppers



  1. Dynamite by BTS

  2. How you like that by BLACKPINK

  3. I Can’t Stop Me by TWICE



  1. Donne-Moi Ton Coeur by Louane 

  2. Dja Dja by Aya Nakamura 

  3. L’ours by Christophe Mae ft Youssou N’Dour



  1. Roses Imanbek Remix by SAINt JHN 

  2. Head & Hart by Joel Corry 

  3. Take You Dancing by Jason Derulo

Alina Ali Rawji

New School '22

Alina is studying Strategic Design and Management at Parsons, she loves to travel, keeping up with the news, and anything fashion. Where there's music you'll find her dancing and smiling (almost always).
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