How to: Make a perfect party playlist

Published On:
Wednesday, October 22, 2008
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Everyone knows the process of making that perfect mixtape for a crush. The subtle messages through titles, the perfect song order, the balance between cheesy and cool — it’s a science. But while millions are trying to decide between closing with “Banana Pancakes” or “Crash into Me,” another form of music mixology is being ignored: The Party Playlist.

Greg Fitzgerald, a marketing and supply chain junior, lists the offenses: the cookie-cutter playlists supplied by iTunes’ “Genius,” the same 15 songs repeating throughout the night and the disturbing amount of Miley Cyrus pumping through the house. One thing’s for sure, these crappy playlists are killing our buzz. So here, from the mouth of a go-to playlist guy, is a fail-safe guide for the perplexed.

Materials:
- music
- friends
- a dream

1. Decide to have a party. If you’re reading this, chances are you’re done with this step already. Well done, but don’t get cocky.

2. Choose a theme. Certain party themes will give you clearance to play otherwise lame songs. (Everyone would get funky to Jungle Boogie at a loincloth bash, but it might tank at the next Golf Pros and Tennis Hoes Open.)

3. Make a new playlist and start with the surefire crowd pleasers. Songs that were playing during the last MTV club scene, anything featuring T-Pain and any song with “party” in the title are all pretty safe bets. Avoid adding weird stuff to try and prove how indie you are. (Oh, The Shins have totally changed your life? Well, maybe you should have invited Zach Braff).

4. Add a bunch of nostalgic party boosters. These are usually old songs that, when played after a string of recent hits, make every girl scream and every guy fist pump his heart out. Nostalgic party boosters include anything classified as “pop-punk” that you listened to in middle school, most songs from Guitar Hero and Journey.

5. Keep adding songs until the playlist has four to five hours worth of quality music. Any more, and you’ll never get to hear those few musical gems. Any less, and people seem to get tired of commiserating over “All the Small Things” again and again.

6. Give it a test run. Have a few friends over, casually put on the new playlist and gauge their reactions. Which songs got them singing along or laughing? Which songs produced reactions of visual disgust? Alter the playlist accordingly.

7. Throw an epic party, backed by the new killer playlist of songs. During the party, look out for that guy who’s constantly skipping ahead to find one specific song or that annoying girl who brought her own iPod and insists on hooking it up because “me and my girls totally know the whole Spice Girls dance!” These people are the serial killers of awesome playlists.

8. Have a great time and enjoy the fruits of your labor. Every “I LOVE THIS SONG!” and drunken sing-along is a testament to your awesomeness. You’ve earned it, kid.

Sample Playlist:

1. Shop Boyz - Party Like a Rockstar
“Party” in the title, simple chorus, some mild cursing... a perfect party jam.

2. T.I. - Live Your Life (feat. Rihanna)
Newer songs let your guests know that you are a trendy person who knows how to buy music off the top 100 on iTunes.

3. Pitbull - Krazy (feat. Lil Jon)
Repetitive songs get better and better as you get drunker and drunker.

4. Warrant - Cherry Pie
It’s not just for strip clubs anymore.

5. M.I.A. - Paper Planes
No one knows all the words, but the chorus is half sound effects anyway, plus there are cool dance moves to go along with it.

6. Sum 41 - Fat Lip
Even the toughest guys will partake in some immature rap-pop-punk-rocking with this classic gem.

7. Journey - Don’t Stop Believing
Someone needs to sing this song from atop a piece of furniture to get the full effect.

8. Neil Diamond - Sweet Caroline
Good times never seemed so good. So good. So good.

9. Katy Perry - Hot N Cold
Girls love this one because it like perfectly describes their current sitch.

10. Buckcherry - Crazy Bitch
Guys love this one because it like perfectly describes their current sitch.

Reach the reporter at claire.lawton@asu.edu.