Halftime Leisure

Spotify Cosmic Playlist Takes

Spotify always seems to have a playlist for everything. Recently, they partnered with astrologist Chani Nicholas to make personalized playlists for all 12 star signs. Halftime writers set out to see if they found their energies captured, their vibes felt, and their auras enhanced through music. 

Panna (Capricorn): You probably think the Capricorn playlist is all serious study music, and you’re wrong. I do admit that most songs are on the mellow side and I have used them in the background for studying, but that is beside the point. This is a great playlist. Some might believe that because Capricorns are serious and down-to-earth, they are boring. This is just blatantly false. The presence of “Wild Girl” by Young Baby Tate proves just how fun we can be after a hard day of work. Work hard, play hard, as they say. Kanye West’s “Champions” and Kid Cudi’s “Pursuit of Happiness” both serve the ambitious Capricorn lifestyle. There’s a clear thread of international music throughout that demonstrates the Capri’s curious nature. At first, I thought this was a mostly obscure playlist, but then I realized I’m a true Capricorn by just not knowing who the new hip artists are. I am altogether happy with this playlist and will definitely be using it. That said, I do want to acknowledge that this playlist is acting on what all horoscopes do: the fact that one can read themselves into anything, and all of these playlists are mostly just random, current music from basically the same popular genre.

Leah (Leo): On a scale of Leo’s from O’Donovan Dining Hall to DiCaprio, I’d say this playlist falls somewhere in the middle. It reminded me of that tweet about economics being astrology for men because it was all about money (according to the stars, “September pays, so send your invoices on time”).  Any playlist that includes “Bills, Bills, Bills” by Destiny’s Child is automatically a winner, but I started getting worried after three songs with the same repetitive beats. I’m a Leo, dammit. I need something to dramatically sing along to. Thank god for Lil’ Kim, though, because “The Jump Off” made me want to go ask for a raise at a job that I don’t even have.

Sam (Taurus): I feel like I got exactly what I was expecting from a playlist made for an astrological sign typically described as “stubborn”: lots of powerful songs with intense beats and some strong female artists, including Beyoncé, Lizzo, and Cher. I didn’t particularly dislike any of the songs, though some pushed the extent of my music tolerance. However, that’s just a matter of personal preference, so I can’t fault the playlist. On the other hand, I didn’t discover any new favorites. As someone who strongly identifies as a Taurus, stubborn and loyal till the end of time, I expected to jam along to a playlist specifically made with these qualities in mind. Instead, my mind wandered a lot, enough that I honestly can’t remember my thoughts on half the songs in the playlist. “Sorry – Original Demo” by Beyoncé, “Bang” by Andrea Di Giovanni, and “Deal With It” by GIRLI were some of the songs that grabbed my attention (note they all appear in the first half of the playlist where the repetition hadn’t really hit me yet). In my opinion, the biggest flaw with this playlist was its uniformity. In trying to create a playlist centered around a very specific theme, Spotify ended up with thirty songs that all sound extremely similar. Astrological signs are characterized by more than just one trait. Therefore, I feel that the songs chosen should have reflected a range of personality traits within the sign, not just the most stereotypical attribute. I also wonder how Spotify plans to continue updating these playlists every month. Each playlist includes a horoscope for the month, yet I didn’t find that the songs really connected to the horoscope, itself. If there’s no connection between the monthly horoscope and the monthly songs, why continuously update the playlist? The concept of cosmic playlists is extremely unique and fun, but the execution is redundant and boring. 

Brynn (Sagittarius): According to the universe, as dictated by Chani Nicholas and my Spotify account, September is meant to help me thoroughly achieve my goals. Maybe it was written in the stars that I was doing homework when I started this playlist, or maybe it’s just obvious that this month is when most people hunker back down at work or school as summertime comes to a close. Either way, I guess you could say this Spotify algorithm was guided by psychic magic, and I would be remiss to deny that it put me in exactly the mood I needed to be in. It’s the kind of “motivation while you’re sitting down” music that any good study playlist is imbued with. The chill pop melodies and soft funky beats helped me focus on my economics reading, but every now and then I’d get hit with a pump up classic like Beyoncé’s “Diva” or Rihanna and Drake’s “Work” at the exact moment that I started to zone off. My favorite song on the playlist is Channel Tres’ “Raw Power” which, for the most part, is just him repeating “raw power” over and over in this spacey, robotic voice that makes it feel like subliminal messaging. The playlist certainly made me feel productive, but as far as Sagittarius energy goes, I felt like it was sort of lacking. The whole thing about being a Sag is that you want to travel and go places. The only song that I felt captured this sentiment was “Strangers” by Tia Gostelow and LANKS, one of the more indie songs on the tracklist. “Strangers” adds a spiritual, wandering tone to an otherwise average and quite bland study soundtrack. 

Lucy (Gemini): For all the talk about Geminis being indecisive and “two-faced,” this playlist has less variety than Leo’s vegetarian options. If you don’t enjoy chill electro-pop by the likes of Toro y Moi and SBTRKT, then this is probably not the playlist for you. Songs like Anderson.Paak’s “Twilight” had more of an R&B sound, but they still fit into the more mellow category. While the curator was clearly attempting to emulate Geminis’ more laid-back nature, they forgot that we like to try new things and generally hate repetition. It would have been cool to hear some different genres like punk/rock, jazz, or Latin. That being said, there were a couple of tracks that broke the mold which I enjoyed, like “Moments” by Brasstracks and the upbeat “BMO” by Ari Lennox. Maybe not the best playlist for Geminis, but if you like this style of music, Spotify chose well!

John (Libra): With “Libra” being all about balance and whatnot, I went into the playlist expecting a good range of genres to talk about. Now that I’m on the other side of it, I can definitively say that balance was not achieved—not even close. Every track on the list is some indie-pop or hip-hop record that sounds more fit for a five-second unskippable YouTube advertisement than it does anybody’s music library. Now, to be fair I do understand what the curator was going for. Each track was either very lively and bouncy, or it was incredibly mellow and almost lo-fi in its production. That could be called “balanced” as a whole, but personally, this just created a tonal whiplash that hindered my enjoyment of each track whenever the mood shifted. Overall, Libras out there should skip this one, but if I had to pick a few redeeming tracks I’d recommend “Verdigris” by Gus Dapperton and “Softly” by Clario. (Oh, and a random Beyoncé track was thrown in as well for some reason. Still trying to figure out why.)

Jaden (Virgo): For being a playlist made for “The Virgin,” this playlist was sexyyy. It brought all the bad bitch energy that Virgos need to embrace starting with “Juicy” by Doja Cat. I don’t buy that Virgos are “shy, worrisome, and all work, no play.” Hardworking—I get that. Beyoncé’s “Superpower” captures this “subtle power” that Virgos possess. Tierra Whack’s “Fruit Salad” is spot on for Virgos’ supposed love of healthy food. “Worry ’bout yourself and don’t worry about nobody. Drinking’ water, eatin’ fruits takin’ care of my body” is my mantra for Virgo season. Featuring artists like SZA, Kali Uchis, BROCKHAMPTON, Amine to Diana Ross, Chaka Khan, Earth, Wind & Fire (“September,” of course) and Stevie Wonder (“Happy Birthday”). “Wake Me Up When September Ends” by Green Day was not featured, and for that Virgos are thankful. 

Sky (Virgo): Upon getting halfway through this playlist, I told my friend Neha (a Capricorn) that it was basically “chill but also anxious” to which she responded, “so you mean like all Virgos?” Truly though, many of these songs seem to serve smooth, sultry vibes (especially through some bangin’ vocals) but then use instrumentation to add driving speed and dissonance like “Superpower” by Beyoncé and Frank Ocean. I have always worried that I am not a real Virgo. Every horoscope I’ve ever read tells me that I am “meticulous, organized, and a perfectionist,” which almost anyone who has briefly looked inside my disaster-zone of a dorm room can tell you is absolutely not the case. The beginning of this playlist only exacerbated these fears. “Wake TF Up” by Don DiestrO and Jelani the Babe samples the ring from the “radar” alarm tone. This only increased my level of anxiety while giving me flashbacks to sleeping through my 9 a.m. calculus lecture last semester. However, this playlist ultimately *got* me when it allowed some of the more chaotic Virgo energy to shine through. “Carry On” features Tkay Maidza’s fast-paced rap about impatiently waiting to break through and take over. “Virgo (feat. Pell)” by Rejjie Snow is an unabashedly proud track about being on the up and coming, and it’s impossible not to dance to. From “The Boss” by Diana Ross to “Tyrant (feat. Jorja Smith)” by Kali Uchis, this playlist perfectly encapsulates ambitious Virgo energy. Add “Still Sane” by Lorde, and I would literally have the soundtrack to my fall semester. 

Panna Gattyan
is the Voice's podcast editor. She is from Budapest, Hungary, but moved to Los Angeles. She writes everything from grocery lists and postcard poems to scientific manifestos and theatre criticism.

Samantha Tritt
Samantha Tritt is a junior in the college studying linguistics and psychology and is a Contributing Editor. She loves reading, writing, traveling, and all types of dogs.

Brynn Furey
Brynn is a Contributing Editor for the Voice. She's a huge proponent of pop punk, capybaras, and world peace.

Lucy Cook
Lucy is a senior majoring in American Studies and minoring in Creative Writing. She was cursed by an evil amulet and hence is bound to write for this paper. Lucy is the Executive Leisure Editor.

John Woolley
is a college senior and Multimedia Executive Editor. Has "Big Ruth Energy," some say.

Skyler Coffey
Skyler Coffey is the Voice's Copy Chief and former Leisure Editor. She primarily expresses affection by sending people TikToks.

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