In Honor of This American Life's 20th anniversary, BuzzFeed's team of highly skilled hackers hacked into the top secret Spotify playlists of Mr. Ira Glass. These are those playlists. Stay with us.
  1. Melancholic Introductory Jams
    Note to self: Use these jams when introducing a particularly concerning topic, i.e. murder, corruption, veganism.
  2. Plunky Jingles Reminiscent of the 1960s
    Note to self: Use these jingles to evoke nostalgia. Be extra breathy and wistful when speaking over these tunes.
  3. Music To Be Used When Listener Should Be Confused
    Note to self: Is there an unexpected character? An unexpected death? A food that is actually bad for you? Use these tunes to amp up that confusion.
  4. Single Notes for Transitions
    Note to self: Sometimes we need just one note to signal a transition in the story. These songs are made up of one long, bellowing note.
  5. Music to Make the Listener Reevaluate Their Morals
    Note to self: Use these as much as possible. We are really trying to affect some change here at This American Life.
  6. Ironic Punk Rock
    Note to self: Use sparingly. This really impacts the listener and can take away from a story, but when used correctly, this music can invigorate even the most mundane 3rd act.
  7. Me Breathing Heavily, and Occasionally Sighing
    Note to self: These are just tracks of me (Ira Glass) breathing heavily, and sometimes sighing poignantly. Sometimes it's hard to breathe heavily take after take after take. Use this heavy breathing when something very intense, somber or upsetting happens.
  8. Tonal Harmonies to Stir Up Discomfort
    Note to self: These tones really make the listener uncomfortable and should be used sparingly. But mostly we use them all of the time, so what the hell.
  9. Fun Songs for the Rare Happy Episode
    Note to self: These are the fun songs that we use when we are making a fun episode that people will love. Don't make those episodes very often, though. They need to feel like a treat.
  10. DEATH
    Note to self: Use when death happens.
  11. Closing Songs that Don't End in Harmony
    Note to self: Use these songs right at the end, right before we do closing credits. We want the listeners to be craving a well-rounded ending, which we can't give them because we are story tellers and not every story comes to a neat ending.
  12. Mariah Carey's The Emancipation of Mimi
    Note to self: God, I love Mariah Carey. Don't use these in any episodes, we don't have legal clearance.