Something our algorithmic overlords have yet to master is the art of an excellent themed playlist. It is easy to just throw together a bunch of songs you like, but it’s another to make something with some soul and life that represents your feelings on a topic, person, or place. A genuinely awesome playlist needs a theme, a dramatic arc, and above all, some heart! In the immortal words of Rob Gordon in High Fidelity:
Making a great compilation tape, like breaking up, is hard to do and takes ages longer than it might seem. You gotta kick off with a killer to grab attention. Then you have to take it up a notch, but you don’t want to blow your wad, so you have to cool it off a notch. There are a lot of rules.
While this might be “just” a playlist, it isn’t just any playlist — this is the official Windscribe playlist! If I’m going to build something worthy of bearing the noble shining aegis that is the Windscribe shield, then privacy has to be at the heart.
Setting the Tone
If we’re talking about hearts, then mine immediately jumps to one of my all-time favorite songs and a perfect one to set the tone for the playlist: ‘Private Eyes,’ by Hall and Oates. Undoubtedly, this is the happiest, most danceable song about being stalked, online or otherwise, you’ll ever hear. Is it about your ISP or your ex-boyfriend? Who’s to say? Either way, it is super fun to double-clap along and agree that the private eyes are indeed watching you, and they see your every move. This isn’t a good thing.
As I dug deeper into songs about privacy, I realized that most of them had a darkness, a pervading fear of a surveillance state to come — the 1980s sure seem like a weird time! The bubbly joy of my favorite stalkers, Hall & Oates, might not be sustainable across 15 tracks; we’ll need our next track to be more vibe-appropriate to guide us in the right direction.
An obvious choice would be the weirdly-reserved-for-Halloween track, ‘Somebody’s Watching Me,' by one-hit wonder Rockwell. Has a song aged better for our dystopian future present than this one? Not only did Rockwell have the foresight to get Michael Jackson on backup vocals, but they also asked the question each and every one of us has since had answered online: No, you’re not just paranoid; somebody IS watching you! Cuz we got no privacy (from the hundreds of trackers following your every click online). That is, unless you put on an IP mask, courtesy of your Windscribe app, giving you the same browsing anonymity you’d get while trick-or-treating.
The Tin-Foil Hat Pick
Naturally, it is only fair that I flip perspectives and hear the other side of the story. Maybe there is a good reason to be watched and tracked? Perhaps those nice targeted ads for that boutique kitchen pan you like aren’t so bad? Our next track comes from none other than Sting and, wouldn’t you know it, The Police, who vow to watch every move you make/every word you say/every game you play/every single day/(they’ll) be watching you. Get your tinfoil hat on because, yes, a song about unrelenting surveillance by a band called The Police did win the Grammy Award for Best Song in the year 1984. Ok, maybe the ads are bad.
Marrying the Music to Windscribe
Now that the tone has been set, we need to take it up a notch! We must let our listeners know that we’re not just about privacy but also protection from these intrusive ads.
Enter ‘Mind Your Business’ by Delta 5, a rollicking post-punk funk jam about privacy so good Apple un-ironically used it in an ad last year (at least they’re trying, right?). Our internet experience is already so clouded with fake news and malicious links that the last thing you need is 4 targeted pop-ups for leather dog masks, thanks to that exotic kink website you visited once by “accident.” Leave it to Windscribe’s browser extension (with a built-in ad blocker) to tell those mischievous ads to mind their own business!
If we could all browse anonymously, there would be no reason (except maybe some CanCon rules) to include our next featured track, ‘Cover Your Tracks,’ by Canadian duo Young Galaxy. Blocking ads is one thing, but preventing them from getting the information is another. If you visit a website while connected to a VPN and then visit the same site without a VPN (or already have in the past), your activity can be linked! Windscribe’s Cookie Monster clears those information-bleeding cookies from your browser each time you close a tab. As Young Galaxy sings so wistfully: “Throw away your letters and numbers/And make sure to cover your tracks.”
Bringing It All Together
At this point, we’ve built a solid storyline of the fight for privacy online, and we’ve come upon the climax of our mix: ‘How To Disappear Completely,' by Radiohead. Hide your IP, hide your location, hide your browsing history, hide yourself? Radiohead makes a fitting and dramatic crescendo with one of their most beautiful tracks. “That there/It’s not me/I go/Where I please” sounds like Thom Yorke has enabled all of Windscribe’s features, unblocking content and browsing free (which is the goal).
As the denouement sets in, we’re treated to a brief and solemn instrumental break by Ela Minus, titled ‘Let Them Have The Internet.' Everyone should be allowed to browse the internet free of government control, shouldn’t they? Access to information is vital to our growth as a civilization! Windscribe works diligently day in and day out to provide options to those in war-torn or oppressed countries. Suddenly this whole thing got a lot less funny, eh? Our playlist needed an emotional arc, c’mon! This is the magic of a good mix!
Going Out on a High Note
I know better than to send you out on a sombre note, though, so our mix resolves on a couple of fun, modern, upbeat tracks, notably ‘Fences,’ by Phoenix. This is an ode to my favorite and most used protocol, Wireguard (“Fences/In a Row/Wired and protected”), to get you back into a groove.
Finally, there was only one way to end this mix: with the bombast of a thousand suns, courtesy of one of the greatest wrestling entrance themes of all time, John Cena’s ‘The Time Is Now.’
Because after all we’ve been through and learned, the time is NOW to start using Windscribe! If you can’t see John Cena, you better make sure he can’t see you.
You can check out the entire playlist on Spotify here.
As I was researching songs to thoughtfully craft the greatest of all-time Windscribe playlist, I reached out to each member of our Windscribe team to ask them for a song. Lots of them came back with fun tracks about privacy, but a bunch of others returned with some of their favorite songs to work or just listen to.
I figured it was too good an opportunity to pass up creating a second Windscribe playlist, showing off the international diversity, humor, and general coolness that makes up our team. These tracks stretch from instrumental jazz to synth wave, rap, Hindustani traditional, and back through ambient drone rock. There is a little something for (and from) everyone; you can check it out here!