THE BLOG
06/27/2013 09:56 am ET Updated Aug 27, 2013

Creating the Perfect Playlist For Any and Every Occasion

If you're like me, then you probably have such a necessity for music that you're probably listening to it right now. In which case, you might also have about a dozen or so playlists saved for the most random occasions. Some of us, however, are not as "in tune" (see what I did there?) to the art of creating playlists as we would like to be. And that's where I come in. Not to toot my own horn, but I think I'm pretty good at creating a mix of songs to create the right mood for a specific occasion, and I would like to pass this knowledge on to you.

First, after you've determined that one: there is going to be some sort of occasion and two: you want to make a playlist for it, you must then determine what kind of mood you want to create for said occasion. For example, if you are creating a playlist for your friend's surprise birthday party, keep in mind who is attending the party, who the guest of honor is, and what music they typically listen to and like. But don't forget, while Ed Sheeran's "A-Team" may be one of your friend's favorite songs, can you really party and dance to it? The key to a good playlist is keeping in mind what type of occasion it is. Dinner parties don't usually call for Ke$ha and The Black-Eyed Peas, but Sweet Sixteens usually do.

A second thing to consider more closely relates to the actual music chosen. For dance parties, you want to focus more on the instrumental music more so than the lyrics. Of course, if a song contains blatantly offensive language, you might want to avoid that one, but in most cases, people aren't paying so much attention to the lyrics as they are to the beat and the rhythm. I suggest remixes of popular songs, like Taylor Swift's "I Knew You Were Trouble," because nearly everyone will know it, but it's more dance-able than the original. On the other hand, though, there are occasions such as, say, graduation mix tapes, in which you probably should pay attention to the lyrics, because, if executed correctly, could create an incredibly memorable and meaningful experience for the listener. The songs you choose for these types of occasions should have lyrics that, even if metaphorically, express what you can't put into words yourself. For example, I am currently compiling an actual graduation playlist, and so far a few of the songs I've included are "Ain't It Fun?" "Grow Up," "Future," and "Interlude: Holiday," all by Paramore, "Long Live" by Taylor Swift, "Come So Far, Got So Far to Go" by the cast of Hairspray, "Legendary" by The Summer Set, and "Are You Satisfied?" by Marina & the Diamonds.

I chose these songs because, more or less, they contain a message about either growing up and moving on to the next stage in your life, or accepting and appreciating all that you've been through to get you to this point and how it will shape you into the person you're destined to be. My goal in making this playlist was to create an audible experience for the listener, and connect them to the moments they're reminiscing. A good playlist, for whatever occasion, should evoke emotion, whether it be of joy, romance, remembrance, empowerment, or just simply bliss. And with that last piece of advice, I leave you to scamper off and create the best playlist-for-nothing the world has ever seen. :)