Learn how to create the perfect party playlist for any occasion and get a peek at the exact list I created for this year’s Friendsgiving celebration.
Today I’m sharing the playlist I’m using for my upcoming Friendsgiving gathering as well as giving you some of my best tips on creating your own party playlist. I’ve always loved music, but I really got interested in it during high school. At the time,I worked part-time in my town’s library (I know, #nerd). The library happened to have a large selection of CDs. This was in the early 2000s and I fell in love with bands like Interpol and The Strokes. By the way, I still have a soft spot for Interpol’s Turn on the Bright Lights album and saw them last year at Forest Hills Stadium (it was the first time I didn’t feel super old at a concert lately!). Later, in college, I did a stint on my college’s radio station, hosting a show that focused on indie rock music. Throughout this time, I always liked creating playlists that suited a certain vibe, mood, or occasion.
While my taste has evolved and broadened over time – I still love creating playlists. I think music sets and enhances the mood for an event, a film, a TV show – the list goes on. Similarly, music goes a long way in creating the right vibe for your next party. I put a lot of thought into each of my playlists when I host and nothing is more pleasing than when someone asks me “what was that song?” So without further ado, here are my top tips.
5 TIPS FOR CREATING THE PERFECT PARTY PLAYLIST
- Set the mood: The first thing I do is to think about the mood and vibe that I’m aiming to create. For example, for my Friendsgiving dinner party (and usually dinner parties in general), I want upbeat music that at the same time is not going to compete with conversation. By contrast, a casual “come and go as you please” birthday party may feature some bolder choices (think LCD Soundsystem’s Daft Punk Is Playing At My House rather than their song All My Friends).
- Have something for everyone: While you certainly can’t please everyone, I do generally think about what my guests may enjoy (even if they’ve never heard it before). I like to mix old and new; mainstream and obscure. I also don’t necessarily stick to one genre. For example, my Friendsgiving playlist this year features David Bowie, Fiona Apple, Amy Winehouse, Future Islands, and The Weeknd (before they were popular), to name a few.
- Think about “flow:” It’s difficult to get this perfect, but try to think about how songs flow together and whether they make sense next to each other on the list. Again, using my playlist for an example. This year, my Friendsgiving playlist starts off with soulful older songs – Erykah Badu’s On & On and Fiona Apple’s Shadowboxer and moves on to newer music with similar vibes such as Ariana Grande’s God Is A Woman and Blood Orange’s Best to You. I figure I will be putting on last-minute touches and guests will just be arriving. As the party comes into full swing, the playlist moves to some upbeat songs from Future Islands and St. Vincent and then onto my favorite 70s songs and finally onto a melange of indie and mainstream artists such as Spoon, the Black Keys, Lana Del Ray, and Beach House, among others.
- Give it a test drive: I usually take time to get to my final version. Initially, I use the first 3 steps to add everything I think fits the mood. Then, I listen to it a few times. Usually while doing party prep – it helps pass the time of chopping vegetables. I delete and move around what doesn’t exactly fit – this is super easy to do on the Spotify app (and no – this post isn’t sponsored by them, I just really love the app).
- Err on the side of lengthier playlists: That way you can put it on and forget about it and no one really notices if you just put it on loop either.
Follow these tips and you’ll have the perfect playlist every time – no matter what type of event you’re hosting. One last thing I’ll share. I used to play my music from my computer – it’s decent, but last year I finally got a Sonos speaker and it’s one of my favorite things. The sound quality is great for such a small speaker. I have a small living room so one of their Play 1 speakers suits me perfectly, but you can also customize several to suit your needs. I absolutely love it and it can be found right on Amazon.
JENNA’S 2018 FRIENDSGIVING DINNER PARTY PLAYLIST
So I gave you guys a bunch of tips, but I’m also sharing my Friendsgiving playlist. I hope it provides some inspiration for your own. Further, I love hearing from you all, so feel free to drop me a line with your favorite party playlist songs in the comments!
For even more inspiration, check out my older post on how to host a wine party – where I also featured one of my own playlists.
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