Let Our Formulas Find Your Soul

Every Monday, Spotify creates a playlist for you with music they think you’ll like. It’s called “Discover Weekly.” It can be hit or miss – but I usually give it a shot at least once during the week. This week it did not disappoint.

Leading off the playlist was Vienna Teng’s “Hymn of Acxiom.”

I recognized the song, but not immediately. I was used to it not with words and digital harmonies but with a brassline. It was the Bluecoats’ ballad in their 2014 show, Tilt.

I had no idea this was originally a song with lyrics. And as I heard the true meaning of the song for the first time I was pulled in.

Let our formulas find your soul.
We’ll divine your artesian source (in your mind),
Marshal feed and force (our machines will)
To design you a perfect love—
Or (better still) a perfect lust.
O how glorious, glorious: a brand new need is born

Acxiom is a provider of marketing software. They do a lot of stuff, and having experience in the industry I don’t want to over-generalize the pros and cons of them or their competitors. But let’s say they have a lot more to gain from your lack of privacy than they do defending it. “Hymn of Acxiom” presents a dystopian farce; a religious rite of a company tracking and manipulating people.

Imagine if 1984 was written from the perspective that Big Brother really was just the best.

Vienna Teng performs the song live and explains its origins in this video.

The song has been my work soundtrack for the week. I’ve been known to listen to songs on a loop before and this one really fit my mood. In past jobs I basically sold people’s information to companies, a part of the internet I really hate. My day to day now lets me fight on the right team: advancing an open web, advocating for both transparency and privacy where both are needed.

Saturday Tunes

(Edit: Today is Saturday, not Sunday.)

Making waffles this morning, I decided to catch up on some podcasts. Among them was yesterday’s Planet Money episode, This Ad’s For You.

The episode features Tom Burrell, the first black man in Chicago advertising. It’s a great story and if you should listen to it. The stories and background music of the episode do a great job of setting the listener into 1960’s Chicago.

To accompany that, host Sonari Rhodes Glinton created a Spotify playlist to enjoy the music long after the episode is done:

Working tunes for Caturday

Normally Saturday is a day off for me, but this week has been weird and I feel the need to catch up on work with a half-day. While doing so, I thought I could use a change of pace with music. I pulled up Spotify and thought I’d look to see if Wil Wheaton had any public playlists. I saw none, but then I remembered that my boss, Matt Mullenweg, does.

So today, I hope you’ll join me in listening to some Jimmy Smith:

[spotify spotify:user:1211384122:playlist:0UyeHgR2wU5KVj5nts7zrJ]

Or check out the rest of Matt’s playlists here. Maybe I should share some of my own too. 🙂