In Earshot: Rating song recommendations from men on dating apps

Grace Pearson-Thompson, Arcade Editor

This winter, I made some very bold moves: I asked my dating app matches to send me their Spotify Wrapped. I knew my audience going in: half Tulane students who listen to sad boy rap in place of therapy, half military guys who listen to music older than my legal right to an abortion. My hopes weren’t high. 

At first, I noticed a direct correlation between listening to “male manipulator music” — like Weezer or Radiohead, but it’s cool and interesting when I do it — and the likelihood of experiencing Snapchat misconduct. If your top Spotify artists at the bottom of your Bumble page include Travis Scott or Morgan Wallen, I already know I’m going to end up seeing something I don’t want to see. 

Occasionally, I’ll come across a gem, like a man recommending me a Beach House song that’s been on my cry playlist since 2015, or what I initially think is a deep cut but is actually on the Euphoria soundtrack. Even more rare is a playlist titled something along the lines of “GOAT” but it’s just Drake. Here are the most notable recommendations I’ve received — rated, of course. 

“Kyoto” by Phoebe Bridgers 

I wear sweater vests on a regular basis; I’m wearing one as I write this. Why would you think I don’t already know this banger? I was recommended this song by a Bumble match who saw that I listen to Lucy Dacus — he said, verbatim, “have you ever heard of Phoebe Bridgers? Their music is pretty similar.” Yes. Kyoto was my second top song on my Spotify Wrapped that I already sent you. The song itself is a 10/10. I am rating this interaction a -2/10. What do you take me for? A fool? I own a skeleton onesie for a reason. 

“Before He Cheats” by Carrie Underwood

Half of the photos on my profile feature a cowboy hat. I write songs for a living. Of course I’ve heard the breakup song to end all breakup songs. Listening to angry country women is an integral part of my identity. Last thing: why do you think I’m on this app? 0/10. Know your audience. 

“Dealer” by Lana Del Rey 

I was impressed by this recommendation, which just goes to show how low the bar is. I haven’t been a huge follower of Lana since her 2014 album, “Ultraviolence.” I needed almost-over stimulating songs that scratched my brain, and Lana’s slower discography just wasn’t hitting for me. I was pointed towards her most recent full-length release, “Blue Banisters.” “Dealer” opens with cymbals and smooth synth, so naturally I was hooked. It feels like desolation, like rain on the beach, and like a questionable song for a man to be listening to. I’ll give “Dealer” a solid 9/10 but the interaction a healthy 6. 

“Teenagers” by My Chemical Romance

The bottle of SSRIs on my bedside table laugh at this suggestion. I just wanted to talk about how unreasonably impacted I was by my Sleeping With Sirens’ 2012 acoustic EP, “If you were a movie, this would be your soundtrack.” Pop punk and emo bands were both the reason I survived seventh grade and the reason why it was so terrible. I’m a fan of My Chemical Romance as much as the next ex-Hot Topic shopper, but I would’ve preferred a deeper cut. This gets a 5/10. 

“hornylovesickmess” by girl in red  

I love and adore girl in red and probably every song she’s made, but never have I ever received a suggestion from a man to listen to one of her songs. I’d already heard “hornylovesickmess” when it was sent to me, but it came with good reasoning: more people should adopt girl in red’s mentality and not just text when they’re lonely. Forward, direct and relatable. I like it. Both the song and the interaction get a 10/10. 

“River” by Joni Mitchell

I have bangs. I obviously listen to Joni Mitchell. Try again. -100/10. 

“The A Team” by Ed Sheeran 

Everything about me screams “religiously used Tumblr in middle school.” That app — and every single Arctic Monkeys and The Neighbourhood song — had me in a death grip. When I was 12 and sad about something not even remotely significant, like getting made fun of for my knee-high converse that I absolutely should have been bullied for, I needed a way to cope. So I became a “The Fault in Our Stars”-reading, Ed Sheeran-listening, Justice-wearing monster. Of course I’ve heard “The A Team.” Anyone who was depressed in 2013 has heard “The A Team.” This interaction was a solid 5/10; I think we’re glossing over just how devastatingly hideous I was in middle school.