Creating a playlist can feel daunting. Maybe you're stumped at where to start, or you have a great concept, but something's off. These are the ways I make all of my playlists, for myself as well as for others. Hopefully, these steps help or inspire you!
1. Have a specific mood or event for the playlist
This isn't always necessary, but it's helpful to have a general idea of where the playlist is going, just for cohesion's sake. Here are some examples:
- Lazy Sunday
- Decades (50's, 80's, early 2000's)
- Sad songs or happy songs
- Songs from my childhood
- Songs to scream at the top of my lungs
2. Or, start with a favorite song to set the vibe
Usually, for me, I don’t have any intention of starting a playlist until a certain song catches my eye. Sometimes a song is a whole mood and it can be the starting point for the entire playlist.
3. Stick to similar genres
It doesn’t exactly sound right going from Black Sabbath to Princess Nokia... but if you can make it work please contact me... I'm interested.
4. Move the songs around to make sure the flow is right
This is just a matter of paying attention to the beginnings and endings of each song as well as the feelings they portray. You want slower songs next to other slow/ moderately paced songs. It’s also a good idea to either start with fast songs and gradually end with the slowest song or vice versa.
A typical playlist of mine is between 8 and 16 songs. Longer is better, and feel free to exceed 16 songs. However, short playlists can simply leave you unsatisfied. Cultivate the precise mood you're looking for with plenty of songs.
Follow all the steps above, these are just a few more points to think about!
1. Keep their music taste in mind
This one’s obvious. The most important thing is that they enjoy it. Unless they asked you to broaden their musical horizons, keep it confined to what you know they’ll like. Be careful not to make a playlist of songs they’re already obsessed with, just keep it familiar.
2. Include risky songs you think they’d love
This step is to ensure that the playlist will still be interesting. Of course, keep the flow of the playlist and stick to the same few genres, but they’d probably appreciate being introduced to a new artist or potential favorite song. I try not to stray from their music taste but venture slightly outside of their box. You're knowingly making a risky decision, so you have to make sure they’re *bops*.
3. Add one or two songs that are your own favorites
Sometimes I just want someone else to scream the words along with me.
4. Pay attention to lyrics
Often, I’ll have a perfect song for the overall sound of a playlist, but the meaning wouldn’t be right for the person I’m making the list for.
It’s really special if you happen to find a song about something your dedicatee is interested in. It shows you put a lot of thought into making their playlist.
If you’re making a playlist for a significant other, listen to the lyrics in the same way you would for anyone else, but feel free to add in all the cushy love songs you want. Another plus in a playlist for a partner is to include songs that remind you both of a specific moment together.