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The Weird World of Oddly Specific Playlists

There’s a playlist for when you can’t pick a font for your essay, a playlist for when you’re the villain and a playlist for when you encounter an extraterrestrial.

Two oddly specific Spotify Playlists
Credit: meltingneptune / Spotify

Traditionally, a playlist was most probably devised for a common need: a party soundtrack, to sing along with on a long drive, or to make studying less boring. But what about a playlist for some oddly specific, imaginary scenario? Or a playlist where every title of a song spells out an entertaining dialogue? Turns out there’s a Spotify or YouTube playlist for every (yes, every) conceivable mood.

It seems with the freedom to pull together whatever songs we want, people are building increasingly obscure and bizarre playlists. At present, Spotify hosts 4 billion playlists. The vast majority are created by users for the expected, ‘normal’ reasons. But slowly and surely, the weirder side is growing. The oddly specific playlists are either dedicated to an imaginary scenario or use the titles of songs to construct a script. Take this playlist curated for if Gordon Ramsay decided to walk into your restaurant.

Credit: meltingneptune / Spotify

These meme-like Spotify playlists are groups of songs arranged, not according to a theme, but for the effect achieved by the list itself. Users can easily make one by searching for any given word or phrase in Spotify’s archive of 70 million tracks.

Credit: Aaron Connor / Spotify

To actually listen to any of them is sure to be a jarring experience. The majority are a randomized mishmash of styles and vibes. Weird playlists are not really for listening to but more for sharing as memes. A Twitter account, @weirdspotify, has been scouring Spotify for the best of the strange playlists and posting screenshots of their finds.

Another variation is the ‘Russian roulette’ format. The same song is added five times, with a sixth being an unexpected novelty. Put the playlist on shuffle and see if you get the ‘bullet’. These practically beg to be turned into a new drinking game.

Credit: joulia / Spotify

Want to feel like a 19th-century villain? There’s a playlist on YouTube for that

Over on YouTube, there are playlists intended to prompt the listener to imagine themselves in a fantasy storyline. Run-on titles detail an elaborate scenario, such as ‘you’re studying in a haunted library with ghosts’, which the songs featured establish and develop.

Credit: oliviaalee / YouTube

Prompt-like titles invite listeners to build up their own story in their heads whilst listening to the playlist. Comment sections are full of writers who find the playlists helpful for creating plotlines or characters. People come for the music but stay for the stories that they come up with whilst listening.

Other playlists are meant to make the listener ‘feel’ like a certain character. You could be the ‘rich kid in an early 2000’s movie’ or a ‘19th-century villain’. There’s a whole realm of playlists based on the idea that ‘you’re the main character’ in a variety of scenarios or film genres. In Internet-speak, being the main character means being the star of the show, a feeling many of us understandably crave. It’s no wonder this is one of the most popular niches of aesthetic YouTube playlists.

The boundless creativity and variety in these playlists is something to be admired. Whether they are carefully curated soundscapes to get your imagination running or laughable collections of titles spelling out a dumb sentence, the weird world of oddly specific playlists is well worth a listen to.

Written By

Postgraduate student studying journalism at Edinburgh Napier University. Fandom enthusiast and ex-Wattpad writer.

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