They prided themselves on their music tastes — then they had kids. What parents are saying about their Spotify Wrappeds.

From white noise to CocoMelon, these parents are finding out their kids' music tastes are taking over. (Photo: Getty/iStockphoto)
From white noise to CocoMelon, these parents are finding out their kids' music tastes are taking over. (Photo: Getty/iStockphoto)

Lindsay Eldon couldn’t wait to see her Spotify Wrapped, the music streaming service's annual end-of-year breakdown of each listener's most-played tracks. As a self-professed “music aficionado,” she had skin in this game, and the joy of sharing her carefully crafted music taste with others was always a highlight of the end of the year,

“My hubby and I are big music listeners [and] we always look forward to sharing our lists with each other,” explains the Colorado native. But Spotify's neon-colored cheeky message cued that something about her list was different this year. “This year you ventured into the genre-verse," it told Eldon. It faded to black and then revealed her 2022 top listens.

Encanto was my album of the year and every one of my top five songs," she says. "'We Don’t Talk About Bruno' was my most-played song.” Her actual favorite bands, Ween and My Morning Jacket, had always topped her lists, but this year they were swiped from the top by her family’s most persuasive DJ — her 16-month-old daughter, Willow.

“My daughter hated the car when she was a younger. I’d whip out the Encanto playlist and she’d immediately stop crying. This lasted for about four months so there was a lot of Encanto being played," Eldon explains. Her daughter had never seen the Disney movie, but for whatever reason it became the glue holding her family’s sanity together. “I’m not too mad about it. I am forever grateful to Encanto for many peaceful car rides,” says Eldon before admitting, “And honestly, it was fun to sing along to.”

Eldon's experience is reflective of what countless millennial parents are discovering as their year-in-review results skew much, much younger; their music is no longer their music. This Spotify, Apple, Instafest, etc. social trend that continues to grow each year by tens of millions has become a foundational tool for signaling one’s identity, particularly for millennials, the first generation to spend their entire adulthood with these social mediums. The question, “who am I?” can be answered through a screenshot posted to Instagram, Twitter or TikTok: "I’m a plucky Swiftie"/"I’m a melancholic Brandi Carlile listener"/"I’m a 'coastal grandma'" (a Spotify playlist with a 660% spike this year). These wrap-ups are introspective tools that have punctuated our adulthood, helping us codify and communicate what otherwise can’t be — a value orientation, a personality trait, an identity. But no longer. As young children infiltrate our music-listening, previously enshrined music round-ups are corrupted by a whole new set of artists.

“My top 10 song list consisted of nine [Little] Baby Bum songs. Grizzly Bear was the 10th,” says Ohio father of two David Reckler. “Obviously this is not something I’m going to blast on social media,” he adds with a laugh.

Reckler, who formerly played in an indie band in college and prides himself on having a record collection “in the hundreds,” had dreams of selecting all the music he was going to introduce to his 4- and 2-year-old. He even put together a Spotify playlist filled with dozens of artists that would begin their musical education. “I felt pretty strongly that I was not going to be the guy listening to a bunch of nursery rhymes. But I finally met my match in stubbornness," he says.

Jamie Duda, a Maryland mother of two whose top five included "Elmo’s Song" and the Bluey theme song had a similar experience, “For the last five years I can expect the top five of anything to be for my little guys,” she says. “While it reminds me of our fun dance parties or nights they needed help to get to sleep, I’m jealous that other people get to express themselves through their music tastes, which is a point of pride for myself." Duda says her real top 10 probably would have included Lily Konigsberg, Donna Missal and Cafuné.

In a drastic turn from her typical folk and Indie rock-dominated list, Michigan mother of two Colleen Long was surprised by two of her top genres — Spooky Nostalgia Zen, and Old Hollywood Flapper Appreciation. “Presumably this is the Halloween music my kids now listen to year-round, and ‘Flapper Appreciation,’ for 'Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious,' I’m guessing?” she says.

Some parents’ wrap-ups surprised them for other reasons. “All of my top five were from my 3-year-old son, but none of it was kid music,” shares Michigan mother, Heather Chestnutt, “He has an amazing ear for music so our top list was really fun. Dolly Parton was my number-one artist this year because my son loves listening to 'Jolene.' He will sing it to his stuffed animals at night. Seriously, nothing is more hilarious than hearing a 3-year-old say ‘don’t take my man!’” Queen and David Bowie were a couple of his other favorites.

One of Katie Thomas’s top artists was one that both she and her 3-year-old son love. “I was playing a lot of Father John Misty around the house and my son got really obsessed with ‘I Love You, Honeybear,’ which is really beautiful but has the most inappropriate lyrics ever,” laughs Thomas, who is now working on teaching family-friendly songs.

If there is one thing that the year-in-review lists can teach us, it’s that time moves on. That year the break-up ballad was our number one song has passed, and so have the wounds from that relationship. That 2018 emo phase turned out to be just that, a phase. And one day, the Elmo and Little Baby Bum lovers in our homes will be infiltrating our music with new, probably unbearable tunes, and these lists will be sweet reminders of a time passed. Someday we’ll have our Wrappeds back. In the meantime take wisdom from the song that put Detroit mother Mary Lancina in the top 1% of Idina Menzel listeners: “Let It Go.”

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