Graphic by Elisha Friti, @leeshlovesyou
The life of a music junkie is not an easy one… ok, maybe it is, but it’s like anything, too much of something ain’t good for you, and too much music there can be. For me, I’ve always used music as my way to help lighten the load of whatever’s ailing me that week, music is and has always been my escape. But what do you do when those same old tunes start doing more harm than good?
It’s like any other episode- ugh, I’m tired, I’m bored, I don’t want to do any of this work, I’m sore, ugh- all the good stuff, y’know how that is. I’m a Spotify user, I queue up “gmfb” (that’s my one giant playlist, I’ll link it for anyone who has eight and a half straight days with nothing to do. Yes, it’s really that long) and I shuffle it over and over and over again, looking for that one song to hopefully kickstart the mental battery, but sometimes it just never comes. I need that new something, a new song or album to beat to death until I find the next one, and sometimes the big playlist just doesn’t cut it. So I move to the mixes, I try to find something in the “Made for you” section, maybe my Discover Weekly’s got something. Still nothing. But then something catches my eye- Daily Wellness, “a mix of music and wellness to guide you through your entire day.” I’m curious, I’ll bite, and I’ll tell you, I’m glad I did.
Spotify’s Daily Wellness has been a part of the Made For You section since late August 2020, peak COVID hours. It’s a collection of songs, podcast episodes, and of course, some ad breaks sectioned and curated to the listeners listening habits, designed to help with mental health and growing pandemic concerns. The program usually lasts about two hours or so, and includes topics ranging from mental health to five-step ramen. When it was initially released, the playlist was met with similar reactions across the board. Similar complaints about ad run times, inconsistent updates to the playlist, a relatively stagnant music selection, and some pretty cringey “inspirational” material. Since then, Spotify has largely listened to these complaints about the program, and have made a few steps towards making the playlist more listener-centered than message centered.
But who cares? It’s just another dumb algorithmic playlist, it can’t be all that special. Truthfully, it’s not, the playlist leaves a lot to be desired still, and there are still some very blatant issues with content switching, but all in all, it’s made significant progress. As of now, the playlists are mostly made up of jazz and slow tracks, lots of easy palette cleansers that even the most casual of Bee Movie meme enjoyers could enjoy. The podcasts on the bill still leave a whole lot to be desired, I could truthfully barely make it through one of the episodes, but you can see where the thought process was. But even if the content’s not so great everyday, Daily Wellness is a free ticket to shut your brain off for a fleeting moment and enjoy some of the smoothest jazz I’ve heard this year. No thoughts, no worries, just me, myself, and the Vince Guaraldi Trio for two hours of wiping the slate clean.
Adding Daily Wellness to the rotation is not a big change for me, at least it didn’t feel like it. I’m going to have my headphones with me wherever I go anyways, and having a little ginger to balance out the wasabi does wonders for the gray matter. If the same old same new isn’t treating you right, try out the Daily Wellness, or if you're not a first-timer, pick it back up. Because as corny as it has the potential to be, you might be pleasantly surprised to find that it could be just what you needed to hear.
And for those with almost nine days with no plans, here's the infamous "gmfb" playlist.