By Tiara Allen
Are you in a music lull? Are all of your playlists boring and predictable no matter how many times you shuffle them? Is the beat drop in your old favorite song not getting you going anymore? Is everything just…blah?
Well, you’re not alone. As someone currently experiencing a bit of a music lull, here are my five favorite tricks that I’m using to escape it and make my playlists feel fresh again. Feel free to use as many or as few as you like, depending on the severity of the lull.
- The “fans also like” section of your favorite artists on Spotify. When you scroll down an artist’s profile on Spotify, there’s a “fans also like” section where Spotify shows a number of different artists that listeners of the original artists also seem to like. I like this feature because the recommendations here aren’t always super similar to the first artists you clicked on, but are often sonically related enough to make sense as a recommendation. I find that you get the best results with this search with smaller artists, largely because the “fans also like” sections for very well-known artists, such as Billie Eilish, tend to be populated with artists that I already know and/or like, so it’s less effective.
- A recommendation from your music-loving friend. Maybe it’s because I work for a college radio station, but I have a lot of friends with playlists of hundreds of artists I’ve never heard of and stacks of vinyls that go up to my knee, and they’re great resources to reach out to whenever I need a playlist refresh. Even if your friends aren’t music hobbyists, your friends surely have their own unique listening style that’s been curated through years of family listening, personal taste and interests, and life experiences. There’s also the added bonus of your friends knowing your tastes, which will allow them to pick out the artists that they think will be best for you. However, if you’re friends with them on Spotify or Apple Music, you often don’t need even need to reach out in person; you can mine their public playlists to find some of the best tunes they’re spinning at the moment.
- Music Reviewer Blogs/YouTube. This seems obvious; after all, that’s the whole reason why music reviewers and music magazines like Pitchfork exist, correct? However, sometimes, it doesn’t occur to me to visit a critical site to find music, only to read reviews of music that I’m already listening to. While that can be fun on its own, these websites are treasure troves of great tunes. You can also make it fun; one of my favorite things to do last semester was to visit Pitchfork, select a random album from the “Best New Music” page, and listen to it while studying. It’s a great way to add some novelty to your music-listening routine and find some new tunes at the same time. I would also recommend trying a new website or reviewer if you’re a regular to a reviewer already; this will allow for someone else’s taste to offer your playlist a refresh.
- Reddit. Reddit can be a divisive place for those both on and off of the website, but I must admit that many of my favorite musical discoveries within the past few years have been through Reddit. Just visit the subreddit for your favorite subgenre, hit “sort by new” or look for a “New Music Friday” or similar thread, and try all the new tracks you can find until you discover something you like. Because smaller artists and their fans will share their music on the subreddits, it’s a great place to find up-and-coming stars. Of course, it’s also a great place to listen to artists that are big, but you haven’t had a chance to explore yet. In fact, some dedicated fans of such artists will post detailed write-ups about suggested listening orders for new fans of the artist.
- Your local college radio station. Listen, I couldn’t write a blog post about music discovery without adding in a KTSW plug. But in all seriousness, college radio is a great place to discover new music. Many college stations have a focus on alternative and indie music (there was even a 1980s and 90s rock subgenre coined “college rock”), but many stations have branched out to different styles of music. In addition to our regular rotation here at KTSW, we’ve also featured specialty shows ranging from folk to metal to pop music, which is a great place to get a jump start on a new genre that you haven’t considered. You can also visit our blog for album and track reviews, playlists, and music recommendations. Many other college stations are doing similar things around the country, so I would recommend checking out your local college to see if they also have a station. But, of course, we highly recommend coming back to KTSW. <3
Hopefully, we won’t be in this music lull for long! And just remember—there are always new songs coming out, so perhaps your next favorite song hasn’t been released yet! Just keep your ears peeled and stay optimistic; you never know where you’ll hear your new favorite artist!
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