Rebooting is a biweekly newsletter about how we can use technology to take better care of ourselves.
Usually when you hear people talk about their time at a Catholic school, you hear about cruel teachers who would keep you late because the Yacker Tracker hit red, or having the principal cut your hair into a bowl cut because it was too long. But it wasn’t all bad! What you don’t hear is that those hardships bring you closer with your friends and push you to get crafty.
In 6th grade, between classes, my friends and I found a way to swap binders full of CDs, out of sight of our teachers turned sentry. We’d tell each other which tracks they’d really like, what our favorite songs were, and make plans to gab about them later on AIM. Sure, our teachers gave us detention for having our uniform shirt untucked while at the mall after school hours, but when we got home we’d at least have some new tunes to jam to.
We don’t live in the world of Walkmans? (Walkmen? Walkpeople?) and scratched up CDs anymore, though. Most of us are on Spotify or Apple Music, and we get most of our music through algorithmic and company-curated playlists. Those tend to whittle your tastes into perfectly curated lookalikes of all your most played (not necessarily favorite) tracks. Sure, you’re bound to find some boppin’ tunes, but you’re not always finding new things to fall in love with. Even if you don’t think about how these playlists tend to underrepresent female performers, it’s evident they lack the personal connection of something made by someone who knows you.
It’s not heavily advertised, but Spotify actually has a nifty way to recreate that feeling of togetherness. You can make collaborative playlists that you and any friends you’ve shared the link with can add songs to with just a few taps. I know, it’s not the same as fumbling through your stack of CDs, feeling for the cracked case of your favorite album so you can take it to your best friend, but you get to give your loved ones a little nudge that you’re thinking about them, and they’ll have some new tunes to bump next time they pop in their headphones.
Whether you’re creating a new playlist or sharing one you’ve already started curating, the process is pretty simple. Once you’ve made a new playlist, tap the three dot menu button at the top of the playlist screen and hit “Make Collaborative.” Then just hit the share button and send someone the link, and you’ll be on your way. Pro tip, though: try not to add too many songs at a time, you’ll cherish the songs you do get more that way.
In the news
Always Waiting for the Other Shoe to Drop? Here’s How to Quit Worrying (The New York Times): An old friend recently told me that it seems like my anxiety is always looming, like I’m waiting for the other shoe to drop. It’s true! There are a lot of droppable shoes in my life! It’s not hopeless, though. The tips in this piece, including mapping out the things in your life that are most important to you, fostering warm relationships, and being confident in what you’ve earned can all help you stay off the path of self-deprecation.
Gallant, In the Room: Gallant’s Ology was one of my favorite albums from 2016. Had I not stumbled on his In the Room series, though, I wouldn’t have found Ology. Gallant’s cover of Sufjan Stevens’ “Blue Bucket of Gold” showcases the artist at his best, pulling every inch of tragedy from Stevens’ lyrics through softly sung verses and two haunting, fierce shrieks that still give me chills and bring back every heartbreak three years later. There’s also the cover of Amy Winehouse’s “Tears Dry on Their Own” alongside Dua Lipa, and it’s probably one of her best vocal performances.
As always, if you have any questions, feedback, or just want to say hello, feel free to drop me a line on Twitter.
My thanks to Daniel Varghese for editing this issue.