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What Are You Listening To?

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.

If your TikTok page looks anything like mine, you’ve probably seen countless videos of people going up to college students asking what they’re listening to. Admittedly, sometimes when I step on campus, I prepare my playlist to be perfectly curated so that if anyone asks me, my answer isn’t embarrassing. I’ve seen the comments on those videos and they typically go something along the lines of “second girl’s music taste is elite” or “first dude valid.” The comments are usually pretty uplifting but always seem to focus on the niche, unique answers. Or whatever artist is deemed “cool” or “alt”. This means if I got caught in the middle of the Diag listening to Addison Rae or Dua Lipa, people would probably question my music taste. 

I have become tired of seeing people making fun of others Spotify Wrapped because Camila Cabello is their top artist or Little Mix’s Black Magic is their #1 song (Admittedly, I have judged people for all of the above). I acknowledge that there are songs that are considered internet memes and artists who have done crazy things, but the definition of a good music taste is so distorted that people will listen to an artist until they become popular and then find a new, smaller artist just because they don’t want to listen to mainstream music. But mainstream music is mainstream for a reason. And songs that are popular are enjoyed by a large number of people for a reason. So don’t judge me if I love Don’t Start Now or whatever TikTok song happens to be trending. 

But what even counts as good music taste? It seems to be whatever is considered “underground” but not unknown enough that someone can’t recognize it and distinguish it as something “good.” But then, if I get the aux, I am expected to play something that everyone else knows. But after years of stalking the Friend Activity panel in Spotify and filtering through other people’s playlists, I’ve realized that no music taste is like another, so there really is no metric that qualifies it as “good.” Whatever music you listen to, someone will hate it and someone else will love it. So play whatever guilty pleasure playlist you have when you are strolling across campus because if you make it on that TikTok video, at least one person will appreciate it.

Theresa Liu

U Mich '24

Sophomore at the University of Michigan studying Financial Mathematics
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