I have always wanted a theme song. Would have Dark Vader been as menacing without his doom-n-gloom theme? Mary Tyler Moore would have just been another loon tossing her beret into the air without her theme song. And Shaft….well he would still be the cool private dick who got all the chicks, but his theme song, just made him that much cooler. I believe music sets the tone to life. A good tune can life your spirits, brighten your day and give you that edge to overcome any obstacle. I also believe that music can make or break a party. Yummy food and good friends are only 2/3 of a winning party formula. The last is great music, but every party doesn’t need a soundtrack of deep base, wall-shaking tracks.
I asked my friend Jared Stearns, blogger and editor of music blog, The Pop Sucker, to compile a list of tips to help you in selecting the perfect play list as well as a sampling of songs for three different types of parties. So let me shut up and let you start reading what Jared has to say…….
Music can make or break a party. It sets the mood, enhances the atmosphere and can often help provide a theme for a party. With today’s technology, anyone can be a DJ, but before you start pairing Iron Maiden with ABBA and Lady Gaga with Mozart, there are some key elements to keep in mind when creating the perfect party playlist. First a few tips:
THE TYPE OF PARTY – It might seem obvious, but the type of playlist for a dinner party with a small group of your closest friends will be different than a larger house party with friends and friends of friends. First, decide if you’re planning for a smaller or larger get together. Then pick songs accordingly. Smaller gatherings will call for slower and mid-tempo songs, while larger parties will require mid-tempo to faster, and even dance songs.
VARIETY – “Pop” might be short for “popular” but no one wants to hear a playlist compiled solely of Top 40 songs that are played on radio a thousand times a day. Include songs from different genres and styles – rock, jazz, r&b. Do you have a great, obscure song that you know people probably haven’t heard before? Include it. Guests love to hear new things, and might be turned on to an artist or a style of music they wouldn’t have otherwise known about. You can (and should) include a few new and classic pop songs everyone knows, but your playlist should be as diverse and original as your guests themselves.
CREATE A VIBE – More often than not, you should build the vibe of the event and move it from slower songs, when the guests first arrive, to faster songs when the party peaks – and back to slower. You don’t want to immediately thrust your guests from a ballad by Frank Sinatra to something by Hot Chip.
Here are some examples of playlists for different types of parties with a sampling of songs for each:
“Merry Christmas, Darling” – Carpenters
“Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas” – Judy Garland
“Peace On Earth/Little Drummer Boy” – Bing Crosby & David Bowie
“Blue Christmas” – Elvis Presley
“Santa Baby” – Eartha Kitt
Intimate Evening with Your Special Someone
“Always” – Atlantic Starr
“Gotta Have You” – The Weepies
“At Last” – Etta James
“All the Way” – Frank Sinatra
“Dream A Little Dream of Me” – Mama Cass
“The Girl from Ipanema” – Getz & Gilberto
“Crazy” – Seal
“Today” – Zero 7
“Back to Black” – Amy Winehouse
“Wish I Didn’t Miss You” – Angie Stone
“Running” – Eliane Elias
“Just Dance” – Lady GaGa
“Way Back Home” – Bag Raiders
“Wannabe” – Spice Girls
“Brave” – Kelis
“Ready for the Floor” – Hot Chip
Albums and Songs Appropriate for Any Kind of Party
The Immaculate Collection, Madonna
Number 1’s, Michael Jackson
#1, The Beatles
“Don’t Stop Believing,” Journey
Aren’t you in the mood now to start downloading music for your Christmas dinner? Thanks to Jared’s suggestions, I am totally pumped to create mixes for all my holiday gatherings. I just now need to figure out how to work Johnny Mathis’s “We Need a Little Christmas” and Beyonce’s “Single Ladies” into the same mix……….