The art of the playlist

From mixtapes on cassettes to playlists on Spotify, our lives have always had soundtracks. Here, I intend to update the rules set in the movie High Fidelity for the 21st century. We no longer use cassettes, and creating a playlist has never been easier with apps like Spotify and iTunes. We all know the pain of trying to create the perfect playlist, and trying to satisfy everyone’s music tastes can seem impossible at times. For my fellow hosts and hostesses, I have created a dos and don’ts guide to avoid all musical conflicts.


Assess your audience: it would be no use creating an eighties playlist for Stormzy or a punk playlist for the Queen. I’m not sure how approving she would be of God Save the Queen by the Sex Pistols.

Consider for what purpose are you making the playlist. If your playlist is for pre-drinks the feeling created by The Sound of Silence by Simon and Garfunkel will not do here. For a post-breakup jam Since You’ve Been Gone by Kelly Clarkson is perfect.

Make sure to include famous bangers, everyone loves a sing along every now and then to distract themselves from the hardship of essays and exams. Don’t Stop Believing is always a good choice. They may be cheesy, but who doesn’t love a bit of cheddar. Mix these in with less well-known songs, maybe something new or obscure to show off your impressive musical knowledge.

Pick a few songs that mean something to you, a song can remind you of a particular event or TV show and these make the playlist personal. Can’t Remember to Forget You by Shakira reminds me of my Gossip Girl phase.


Place two songs by the same artist one after the other. This can make a playlist repetitive and boring.

With a playlist you must create a flow, which is why a theme or a genre comes in handy. Just as jam and cheese don’t go together, some songs don’t either so make sure to avoid placing those songs on the same playlist.


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Molly Bates Porter