Shuffle Shame

It was sophomore year, and I was driving a friend home from a party. Well, not really a friend, at the time we were more of acquaintances—but this was someone I had always respected and admired from afar, but had been too cowardly to approach. So I was secretly thrilled when he asked me for a ride home. As we approached the car and chatted about the party, I pondered a thought of utmost importance—what song I would play when we got into the car. It was the first time we had ever really been alone together, and I way dying to make a good impression. And for me (in 10th grade especially), music taste was paramount.

Though my music taste was still much developing in 10th grade, I felt I had finally reached a point where I was on level with my many music-savvy friends, and was extremely proud of my extensive music library. I would spend multiple hours every weekend researching new and obscure bands, downloading dozens of albums, and painstakingly categorizing them into carefully selected playlists. I felt like I had found identity through my music, and comparing bands and genres was one of my favorite topics of conversation. I felt like I had finally been ushered into the exclusive secret society of people with “good taste in music”, and though I now realize good taste is totally subjective, it then felt like one of the biggest achievements of my young life.

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I was proud of my music, but also had some insecurities about it at the same time. Though the majority of my library (13,000+ songs) was what I felt to be beyond criticism, there were still some skeletons in my musical closet that I absolutely never wanted anyone to see (or hear, for that matter). These were the songs that I secretly loved, sung to in the shower and blasted in my room when I was home alone, but would never publicly admit to liking.

So when we got into the car, the first thing I reached for was my iPod. I was scrolling through playlists, quickly determining which would make the best.