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Review: The sound of ASU is cleverly curated in Spotify playlist

In a playlist comprising 100 songs, it brings up memories of the University's most iconic and universal experiences


 "In order to really appreciate this five hour and 43 minute long playlist, I took a trip across the four campuses in Metro Phoenix to listen the way it was intended."

It’s hard not to feel the essence of ASU while walking across campus, cheering at games or even just chilling in the comfort of our dorms.

With a student population of over 100,000 across all campuses and online, it could be challenging to find a hyper-specific playlist that satiates the music taste of that many different people and personalities.

But it didn’t stop a Spotify account known for curating playlists for schools, institutions and universities across the world from trying.

The Sounds of Spotify Schools account has dedicated its page to curating playlists for universities, academies and institutions across the globe like Baylor University in Texas all the way to the Ara Institute of Canterbury in New Zealand, to our very own ASU. According to BU Today, the account, managed by Spotify data alchemist Glenn McDonald, uses listening data from Spotify accounts linked to university email addresses and an algorithm to create the playlists. 

With over 3,000 playlists on its account, I went into this listening experience with complete trust in these curators. As not only a student at ASU, but a self-identified Spotify aficionado with over 110,000 minutes of listening last year, I decided see how accurate the vibes of the playlist were for myself.

In order to really appreciate this 5 hour and 42 minute long playlist, I took a trip across the four campuses in metro Phoenix to listen to it the way it was intended.

After hitting the Shuffle button, "The Spins" by Mac Miller played, and I immediately knew this curated playlist was off to a great — and pretty accurate — start.

It was easy to see within the first few songs that there was a little bit of everything for everyone sprinkled in. Artists ranged from Kanye West to Dominic Fike to Tame Impala, and it was everything you would and wouldn’t expect from the sounds of ASU.

While taking a stroll down Palm Walk in Tempe, I rediscovered my love for the Marías and acquainted myself with how comforting campus life could be after a long day of classes. With a healthy infusion of upbeat rap and chilled lo-fi, this playlist was created to capture moments of every hour throughout the day.

From the early-morning wait in line for a latte at the Memorial Union Starbucks to the view of the sunset over South Mountain that can be seen from the downtown Phoenix campus SDFC rooftop, memories created here are completed with songs like "I Don't Exist" by Olivia O'Brien and "Earthquake" by Knuckle Puck playing in the background like ASU’s very own soundtrack. 

The long drive down to the Polytechnic campus while the Arizona sun beats down from above is accurately captured in "Doses & Mimosas" by Cherub (also a staple at your favorite frat parties). The music was a little hard to hear over the sounds of overhead planes, but it’s the thought that counts.

And would a playlist capturing the drama and theatrics of the West campus really be complete without Orville Peck? Of course not.

While listening to this creatively curated playlist, I went through several stages of appreciation while traveling through ASU's four main campuses.

An appreciation for the culture, both known and unspoken is shown in our notorious reputation as a party school from the inclusion of "HeadBand" by B.o.B. Meanwhile, the playlist does well to include the under-appreciated beauty and bliss of ASU by including "Witch Love" by Nico Yaryan. 

Whether this playlist was made up of contributions from ASU students or created completely by the Spotify account, the Sound of Arizona State University couldn’t be anymore of a complex and well-rounded musical portrayal of our school. 

By clicking the link in the description of each playlist, the site also shows the broken-down comparisons to the other 3,000-some schools included. Currently, the ASU playlist ranks No. 8 in playlists with the most activity among all the campus playlists.

The playlist, for listening enjoyment of other students curious to know what the musical vibe is for our school, is available for streaming on Spotify and has already amounted to just a little fewer than 200 likes and exactly 100 songs.

Reach the columnist at and follow @anxieteandbread on Twitter.

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Analisa ValdezEcho Reporter

Analisa has been a State Press reporter since her freshman year at ASU. She's a journalism major that has written pieces for several desks including Community & Culture, Opinion, and now Echo. Lisa is not involved in any professional program because she'd prefer to keep her sanity intact by the time graduation rolls around. 

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