Culture Columnist


Suspicious lack of Mr. Brightside found in The Glasgow Guardian’s investigation of student Spotify habits.

Have you ever wondered what university has the best music taste? Have you ever thought that perhaps it was our own, University of Glasgow? Judging from the Hive playlists, I never would have thought so, but now you can judge this for yourself because the website Every Noise at Once has sorted through university students’ Spotify playlists to show us each school’s most played tracks. 

Every Noise at Once uses student emails to figure out which university each user belongs to; then, they create playlists with the overall most listened to songs from each school. I’m not sure about the reliability of this website, as I found some huge surprises when listening, but the playlist is still intriguing, and well worth the listen.

At first glance, this playlist does seem to be a bit dismal, filled with edgy songs from students going through their indie "the world doesn’t get me" phase. The top three genres for the playlist include modern rock, modern alternative rock, and rock - very diverse, I must say. Songs such as I Don’t Care by Spyres, Cupid by The Big Moon and No Fun by Declan Welsh and The Decadent West turned me away at first. I personally cringed in confusion at this rather teenage-esque, moody playlist.

However, after a deeper dive, I found that it was rich in Scottish culture, including songs such as Glasgow by The Snuts, Glasgow by Catfish and the Bottlemen, Caledonia by Dougie Maclean, and Paolo Nutini’s subsequent spin on the classic. There was also a decent amount of Irish songs as well, such as Get Your Brits Out by Kneecap, a classic Belfast hip-hop trio. When looking deeper on the genre list, you can see that the genres of Scottish folk, Scottish indie rock, Glasgow indie and Scottish rock are all listed, which was surprising to me as I did not realize how much Scottish music was enjoyed by the majority of Glasgow students. 

The playlist is also full of hidden gems. Some of my favourite discoveries include Madderam’s Above a Cafe, and Thinking of You by Joesef; both of which made me crack a smile at the upbeat flavour the songs brought to the listening experience. This playlist seems ideal for studying or as background music for when friends are over as it is filled with a variety of songs but overall has an upbeat, cheery, Scottish vibe. 

I did find the lack of American music to be quite astounding, although this may just be due to my personal bias that American media is top tier. There are no current American artists that I thought were popular amongst most university students, such as Taylor Swift, Frank Ocean, or Ariana Grande. What I found even more surprising was the lack of older popular British bands such as Queen, Gorillaz, or even the relatively retro Arctic Monkeys. Not even a little Girl In Red? Where is the queer women representation?! In all seriousness, I found this lack of popular music surprising, as most students I know listen to these artists. While it might just be because of the group I roll with, the lack of seemingly popular songs on the list seems hard to believe. 

I was also very surprised to find songs that seem unheard of, such as Restored by Bethany Barrie, an artist who lacks any internet presence and has less than a thousand followers on Instagram and less than a thousand listens on most of her songs on Spotify. In fact, the presence of Restored on the playlist but the absence of Mr. Brightside makes me question the credibility of this playlist altogether, because if I’m honest, I don’t think I’ve ever attended a Glasgow Uni party where this song wasn’t played at least once. Other songs such as Dimitri by The Dunts and Shattered Faith by VLURE are also less popular songs, written by local Glasgow bands.

Unsurprisingly, the schools that had the most similar music taste to our school were the University of Strathclyde, University of Edinburgh and University of Aberdeen. The following seven most similar schools after Aberdeen were also all Scottish, therefore disproving my previous conceptions that Scottish music is not popular wrong amongst younger people. If you think this type of music sounds like something you’d be interested in, I encourage you to check out these other university playlists as well. If this playlist accurately reflects the music taste of our university, the students show a lot of support for local artists and a passion for Scottish music. While this has not been my perception of the music taste at the University of Glasgow, the more I listened to the playlist the more I found myself enjoying the indie, upbeat, and local tunes. This isn’t my preferred type of music, but I can see myself using this playlist in the future, and recommend that you give it a listen, even if it doesn’t seem like your cup of tea.


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