An Ode to the iPod Shuffle

Meredith Abdelnour, Arcade Editor

There are a lot of things I miss about 2007. Second grade, for starters. I miss peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, when Netflix came in envelopes in the mail and Harry Potter before J.K. Rowling started tweeting. But what I miss the most is the iPod Shuffle.

picture of an ipod shuffle with earbuds coming out of it
The iPod Shuffle is a relic of a simpler time. (Meredith Abdelnour)

There are many versions of the iPod, so let me explain the appeal of the Shuffle specifically. The device was a small rectangle with only a few buttons. The Shuffle came with a clip, so you could always attach it to yourself and ensure you wouldn’t lose it. You could turn the device on and off, turn the music up or down, go to the next track or the last track, and play and pause the music. And that was it. There was no weather app, no games, not even any playlists. The device did exactly what it set out to do: shuffle all of your music.

This was back when every song was $0.99 in the iTunes store, so you had to be picky with what you downloaded. Instead of spending hours perfectly lining up a Spotify queue for your evening with friends, you just downloaded every song you liked from a variety of genres and artists and put them all on shuffle. 

The mystery of it! The surprise! Music would quickly change from Taylor Swift to OneRepublic to the “High School Musical 2” soundtrack, and I didn’t even care. The iPod Shuffle marked a time when music was for ourselves, before we were worried about knowing the coolest bands and impressing everyone else in the car when we had the aux cord. There was no shame in what was on your iPod Shuffle — no one else could even see what you were listening to, and nobody cared.

Yes, technology is growing and changing. We’ve come quite far from the days of the old iPod Shuffle. Our phones are capable of playing any song you can think of with just a few taps. They can connect us to people around the world, give us access to any information available on the web and recognize our faces and fingerprints.

But I miss sitting in my backyard in 2007, my iPod shuffle clipped to my T-shirt, “Hey There Delilah” by the Plain White T’s playing in my ears, with no idea what song would come next.