I Swapped Playlists With A (Kind Of) Stranger, Here’s What I Learned

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If you’ve been paying attention, the staff at UTIOM has been swapping playlists these past few months as sort of a get-to-know-you/exercise in listening to some good new things.

I was lucky enough to be paired with Bri Kirkham, the visionary behind the playlist swap project. Bri and I met maybe once before in grad school but our relationship before the swap would probably best be defined as:

*Controversial artist Kanye says something dumb*

Me (clinging to hope that my heroes can be redeemed): It’s not thaaaat bad 
Bri (a normal/sane person): Men are canceled in 2018

So I was a bit nervous. Did she already hate me? Will this playlist just be 26 noise metal songs to exact revenge on my bad takes? Would I be into that? I know she likes Kesha…will there be a lot of Kesha? I could dig some Kesha…

Spoiler: there was only one Kesha song. But there was also a lot of other very good music. Absolutely killer tracks I’d never heard before like, Lizzo‘s Truth Hurts, music I’d forgotten about like Tame Impala‘s The Less I Know The Better.

There was a moment where both Bri and I were listening to each other’s playlist at the same time, it was strange, it seemed really personal, sort of like Room Raiders but for my musical taste.

I chose to begin my playlist with a one-two punch of Yung Thug and Azealia Banks (I think I was trying to throw her off), Bri eased me into it with some gentle jams by Wet and Girlyboi. In retrospect, I appreciate the gentle intro, because 45 minutes later I was listening to “Defying Gravity” from Wicked on my commute and was not upset about it. So sure lots of these songs were individually good, but they ended up working together in a really impressive way.

My favorite moment from the playlist was probably when Bri sandwiched “Covergirl” by RuPaul in between Andrew Bird and Kacey Musgraves‘ gentle love songs. It was a really funny moment and a peek into her sense of humor through our shared musical tastes.

So here’s my pitch—if you really want to learn a lot about someone without having to grab drinks or coffee or deal with mindless small talk, swap a playlist.


Check out Bri’s playlist, check out my playlist. Read my stuff here and her stuff here.

1 comments on “I Swapped Playlists With A (Kind Of) Stranger, Here’s What I Learned”

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