HOW TO CURATE A PLAYLIST

Wednesday, May 25, 2016


Not to be braggy or anything (yes, I know "braggy" isn't a word), but I'm the queen of making playlists. Not because I'm necessarily good at it (and, in case you're wondering, yes, there is an art to making playlists), but because I make so many of them and then delete them. I've made a "Bad Music" playlist (so I could listen to the music and revel in its bad-ness...yup, that one got deleted), two summer playlists, a favorites playlist, my Brick-a-Brack playlist, a pump-up playlist, a collaborative playlist...and a bunch of others. 

So yeah. I am the queen of making playlists.

So, even though half the people I know would probably advise you not to read this post, I'm being a rebel and writing it anyway. 

Here's How To Curate A Playlist, from the QUEEN (just in case you didn't understand the first three times I said it) of making playlists herself.

1. FIGURE OUT A THEME.

Your theme can be anything. You can have a Summer theme (with a bunch of summer sub-themes, like Summer EDM, Summer Party Times, Summer Nights, Summer Netflix & Hot--get that one? Instead of Netflix & Chill, you do Netflix & Hot, because summer's hot--okay, fine. I'm not funny. And yes, I'm including too many parentheses in this blog post. Carry on. But wait...this Olaf gif first.)


My Brick-a-Brack playlist was on Chicago and how it made me feel. You can have a simple Favorites playlist. You could do a workout one. A motivational one. You honestly could do anything. Here are some of my personal favorite themes that I'm coming up with off the top of my head right here:

1. TORI KELLY
a playlist that involves tori kelly everything

2. WHEN YOU'RE TRYING TO KEEP YOUR MIND OFF EATING FOOD
when you're hungry but you're trying to lose weight or some other teenage mumbo-jumbo and so you want to listen to tunes that fulfill you as a human bean and can sorta convince you that you're not hungry

3. CHOCOLATE CAKE
when you fail at trying to lose weight so you need some tunes to keep your mind off the fact that you're indulging in the chocolate cake that your grandma just brought over from her house...decadent, stomach-sickening, ganache-frosted, chocolate-sprinkled chocolate cake, with an frosty ice-cold glass of milk fresh from the cow in your refrigerator. 

4. TORI KELLY 
a playlist that involves tori kelly everything

5. REBEL WITHOUT A CAUSE
a playlist for when you feel like being a rebel but you literally have nothing to rebel against 

If one of those inspires you, go for it, man.

2. FIGURE OUT THE SONGS

Chances are, you like to listen to a certain kind of music: your music. When people ask you what you listen to, you probably get all growly and say, "I listen to whatever sounds good to me, and whatever genres I like, and I'm not defined by the genres society pins on me!"


(at least, that's what it's like for me. i've had people insult my music taste so...)

I firmly believe that, like everyone's personalities are different, everyone's music tastes are different.
So I'm not going to tell you what to listen to, but I'm going to tell you that in order to make a playlist, you gotta figure out the songs you're gonna include that correspond with your theme. Maybe your Rebel Without a Cause playlist evokes strong feelings of Taylor Swift, twenty one pilots, and tobyMac! Or maybe you include Meghan Trainor because you like that bass (I always thought it was ironic that her songs literally have no actual bass)! Or maybe you go really grunge indie or something or other and...I don't know any grunge indie bands, so I can't really help you there. 

But choose what sounds best for you and your theme. You, after all, are going to be the one to listen to the music.

3. FIGURE OUT THE ORDER OF THE SONGS

This only matters if you're a Listen-All-The-Way-Through kind of person. If you're a Shuffle kind of person, it actually doesn't matter.

But because I'm a very strong Listen-All-The-Way-Through kind of person (it irritates me when the song orders in people's albums are all jacked up and not flowy at all), I'm including this step because it is essential. See, I have a short attention span. If something isn't interesting me, I usually switch songs or playlists. In order to make your playlist enticing, you have to make yourself to actually want to listen to it. That's why Order Matters. Order Is Essential. Order Is Of Utmost Importance.

(Now I just sound like a message from one of those Mysterious Benedict Society messages...s/o to all the homies who have read that series, lol. One of my favorites, actually, come to think of it.)

But seriously. Order Matters.

It's best to start off with a punchy first song, the kind of song that always gets you and makes you want to listen to it. Then, with the second song, maintain the momentum, but shift it downward a little. The third song should be significantly more toned down than the first song, but still good enough to keep you going.

Like this:




See? "Beat of My Drum" has that really vibey, poppy feel that hooks you right from the beginning. "Outta State" has a great intro that turns it down a little bit, and even though "The Saints" is still pretty upbeat, it's different from the other songs and represents a more methodic, lengthy shift in the playlist.

 I got this. I got you. You have learned much, young one.

(p.s. if you don't have a summer playlist, i have TWO. this is my summer edm pop rap playlist, and--i like this one better--my summer vibes playlist. it makes me feel like

)


4. LISTEN TO IT

I mean, it's a playlist. You're going to have to listen to it sometime.

what are your favorite kinds of music to listen to? anyone i should check out? i firmly recommend Phoebe Ryan, B├śRNS, and Jon Bellion. and yes, for anyone who's known me for any amount of time, my music taste has changed a bit.

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