By Ashley Fetters
September 02, 2011 at 05:26 PM EDT
Imagezoo/Getty Images

There are many, many good reasons to fall in love with Spotify. It’s user-friendly; it lets me share music on Facebook; it’s got that sleek, sexy lime-green-and-black getup that looks like iTunes in a little black dress.

But here’s the number-one reason I’ve become obsessed with this European social-media-meets-digital-music phenomenon ever since it landed in the US: It gives me access to the published Spotify playlists of my Facebook friends. All my friends’ music collections and listening habits are just waiting there, nakedly exposed in the public domain—and that can only mean one thing.

Yep. Bam: Spotify stalking. It’s like Facebook stalking—except more revealing, more voyeuristic, and so much more addictive. For the first time in internet history, we can check out pics of our childhood best friend’s beach honeymoon and nose around on her iTunes catalog for the other nine finalists that didn’t make the cut as her first-dance song. What’s not to love?!

My first foray into Spotify stalking was something of a pop-music epiphany. It turns out all those playlists we thought were so original and personalized are surprisingly universal—which led me to wonder, As a human race, how can we go to bed angry with one another when we’re all falling asleep to Bon Iver?

How can I wish misfortune on the robotic workout Barbie next to me at the gym when she, too, is pumping herself up with “Lose Yourself” from 8 Mile? And most importantly, what is it about Rihanna’s “Skin” that makes it such a must-have for everyone’s satin-sheets-and-candlelight playlist? (Yep. I looked, so you don’t have to. You’re welcome.)

As with all things trendy and Swedish, addiction soon ensued. Suddenly, Spotify stalking was revealing depths and unexpected quirks I wouldn’t have uncovered just by perusing Facebook. All those routine Facebook stalkees—friends, ex-boyfriends, impossibly beautiful people I just want to find double-chin pictures of—got even more interesting once they were on Spotify.

For instance, my friend Natalie is a tireless crusader for gender equality, and she often laments the exploitation of female sexuality in pop music. Still, her sense of humor is on dazzling display on Spotify: She has a knockout party playlist called “Are You Drunk Enough For The Pussycat Dolls?” Meanwhile, that cool, effortlessly stylish blonde I envy from afar became altogether more accessible once I’d looked through her Spotify library—turns out Cool Stylish Blonde has a formidable soft spot for They Might Be Giants.

And Spotify ex stalkage? Infinitely more satisfying than Facebook. Turns out that one guy from my past routinely jams to the breathy, ego-stroking whimper of Britney Spears’ “Womanizer” while he runs on the treadmill; I probably could have predicted that. Another guy I dated has a full playlist of his favorites from Kidz Bop—I’m sort of glad I didn’t predict that.

And it was a pleasantly sweet surprise to discover that my ex-boyfriend from high school still has all the mixtapes I lovingly compiled for him while we were dating (Jack Johnson and all), all neatly folded into a charming “high school memories” playlist.

Tell us, Music Mix—what’s the best, worst, or strangest thing you’ve unearthed while snooping through your friends’ music libraries?

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