March 27, 2017


Will Hagle invented climate change to halt American innovation.

Spotify makes a lot of gimmicky, one-off websites. If their marketing department is doing its job right, you may have come across one or two of them. One of the most recent Spotify sites was this, a collaborative effort with Accuweather, intended to demonstrate what people in various cities listen to depending on what the weather is like outside. When I logged onto the site today, it showed me “what Los Angeles listens to when it’s sunny,” allowing me to stream a playlist featuring Alessia Cara, Coldplay, and Eric Church, among others.

It’s an interesting idea, and both companies are well-equipped to provide the data that could lead to a deeper psychological study about what people listen to depending on what the weather is like outside. The problem with presenting the results in the form of a playlist, of course, is that I don’t really want to listen to the songs they suggested to me even if the majority of people are listening to them in LA, regardless of what the weather might be at any given moment. I don’t know if I relate “Scars to Your Beautiful” to the sunshine, or whether Alessia Cara even wanted me to hear it that way.

From the innocuous lyrical misinterpretation of someone thinking Jimi Hendrix might be saying “’scuse me while I kiss this guy” to the blatant ignorance of barely hidden meaning of someone who likes “Homecoming” but thinks Kanye and Chris Martin are really talking about a girl, an artist’s intent rarely matches perfectly with audience perception. That’s probably why a song like “Alameda,” to my ear, sounds best on a cloudy day—even though until a week ago, I’d always assumed Elliott Smith was singing about walking through sunny LA. (it actually was written about a street in perma-cloudy Portland)

The reason I think Elliot Smith sounds better when it’s cloudy may simply be because I’m associating a particular emotion with the weather. In this case, melancholy is associated with cloudiness, whereas Elliot Smith associated melancholy with the everyday absurdity of human existence, no matter what the weather was like. Everyone associates mood or emotions with weather in a different manner. Some people are miserable when it rains; some people are Garbage.

Speaking of Garbage, in 2014 I had a garbage-ass job that involved attending television industry conferences and reporting on them for a B2B cable industry publication. One of the guest speakers at one of the conferences was a VP of some sort from Accuweather. He bragged about the company’s weather predictability technology, arguing it was better than The Weather Channel’s because they could tell what the temperature would be on a minute-by-minute basis. They seemed like a smart, edgy company, poised to #disrupt the weather space. Or at least that’s what I probably wrote in my review of the conference.

It makes sense that they teamed up with Spotify, the always-marketing cool kid of streaming services. And thus, it makes sense that I would steal both companies’ ideas in order to make these two short mixes, so that I too can be considered cool. From what I’ve heard, it’s been snowing on the East Coast. It’s bright and hot out my window—or, as the Spotify site tells me, it’s 78 degrees with “hazy sunshine.”

There are two mixes here for those two extremes. One for the sunshine; one for the snow. Each is only about five minutes, because that’s about how long the weather lasts before changing completely (or, if you’re Accuweather, it’s five times longer). Throw one of the two mixes on depending on what the weather looks like outside, and see if your association of mood, song, weather, etc. vibes with whatever I put on there.

This article wasn’t the thought-provoking study about the effect of weather on music listening habits that it could have been, because that would have just been all about how I’ve been listening to nothing but the Sirius/XM reggae station The Joint while cruising around the LA heat lately. But this should give you a short playlist to match up with the weather outside and make you think about what songs you like to listen to in different temperatures and weather conditions. If I’m better than Spotify, you can thank me later for not including Drake and whatever references he may have made about snow/sunshine.

Snow Mix 

Garbage — “Only Happy When It Rains”

M.O.P. — “Cold As Ice”

RHCP “Snow” vs. Young Jeezy & R Kelly “Go Getta”

Young Jeezy — “Jeezy The Snowman”

Oprah falls in snow

G Herbo — “Red Snow”

Summer Mix

Garbage — “Only Happy When It Rains”

Johnny Nash — “I Can See Clearly Now”

Gang Starr — “Take It Personal”

Knxwledge — “MySunshine”

Lil Flip ft. Lea — “Sunshine”

Johnny Cash — “You Are My Sunshine”

John Murphy — “Adagio in D minor” (Sunshine Soundtrack)

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