Sharing a drink is a powerful way to bring people together. But it’s often music that keeps us there, setting the mood and enhancing these shared moments with friends. With that in mind, here’s how to craft your perfect playlist for your upcoming summer soirees:
1. Identify the intent.
Is this an intimate dinner party, or a full blown block party? The distinction is important, and will dictate the kind of playlist you put together. For smaller gatherings, curating a collection of songs that don’t distract from your conversation while also setting the right tone is key (are you going for a chill hang or a fancy dinner, for instance?). A big party, meanwhile, requires danceable tracks that keep the energy up.
2. Know your audience.
As the party-appointed DJ, it’s not your job to appeal to everyone’s music sensibilities, but curating a playlist around your friends’ tastes will help ensure everyone is having a good time. Don’t be afraid to span genres within one playlist, so long as you're mindful of how the songs flow into the next. Country, hip hop, sad girl indie – it can all coexist when done right.
3. Make it longer than you think.
Making your playlist a little longer than you think it needs to be gives you the flexibility to skip over songs that miss the mark while ensuring you’re not repeating the same songs over and over in a loop. Parties rarely run shorter than you think they will, so building a bigger playlist means you can go into the wee hours of the night.
4. Find your flow.
Most parties ebb and flow in a similar fashion; there’s the quiet catching up at the beginning as you intercept bottles of wine and find your footing. Then, once the food and drinks get going and stories are passed back and forth, the energy picks up, requiring a collection of upbeat tracks to keep the party going. And then, as the night peters out, there’s the deeper moments, the “how are you really?” conversations that require a soundtrack that can fade into the background. Of course, it’s not an exact science, but following this framework can help keep the music matching the mood.