The Importance of a Playlist

Whether you know it or not, creating a playlist is an art. You may think that you’re just simply placing some songs into a playlist titled “Studying,” but it’s never that simple. You put them together because they all capture the same vibe and style that you longed for as a soundtrack for specific moments in your life, delicately placed together to create a work of art. Over the course of the past year and a half, this activity has become my favorite pastime. At any appearance of stress or a minor inconvenience in my life, I’m prompted to open Spotify to add another playlist to my collection because you can’t ever have too many. Everyone needs their very own “the billboard said the end is near” to close out a chapter of their life or “shrek in the swamp karaoke dance party vol 8” for any and every situation. Perhaps you’ve always dreamed of a soundtrack to accompany particular activities but never knew where to begin. If this is the case, I’ve got you covered. Here is a step-by-step guide on how to create your very own oddly specific playlist, along with some of my personal favorites. If you’re a visual learner, feel free to scroll through my Spotify (sophia rackliffe or srackliffe); I guarantee you’ll catch on quickly.

First, choose a title or a song that you would like to center the playlist around. When I choose a song, I typically make the title a lyric that stands out to me. For example, my playlist centered around “I Know the End” by Phoebe Bridgers is titled “the billboard said the end is near,” one of my favorite lyrics from the track. Once you have your title and main song, begin matching that song to others similar to it based on the lyrical themes and tempo. For this playlist, I noticed that a variety of songs about endings and growing up seemed to match and fit in quite easily (“Truce” by Twenty One Pilots, “Ribs” by Lorde, ”Goodbye” by Cage the Elephant). You just keep adding songs until you hit your desired length; it’s that simple. Add a cover photo or description as you wish, and you’re all set! 

Now that you know how to perfect a playlist, perhaps you are at a loss for a theme or lack inspiration at the moment. Here are my personal favorites for you to draw ideas and inspiration from and make your own:

 Title: “for when it gets dark at 5pm” 

Inspiration: The vibes and feelings I get when working in my room from late November to February and looking outside at 5 to see that the sun is already setting 

Examples: “No Idea” by Don Toliver, “Smoke Signals” by Phoebe Bridgers, “Drew Barrymore” by SZA

Title: “my taste in music is your face”

Inspiration: The song “Tear in My Heart” by Twenty One Pilots, specifically the line “The songs on the radio are OK, but my taste in music is your face!”

Examples: “We Don’t Believe What’s on TV” by Twenty One Pilots, “Softcore” by the Neighbourhood, “Carry Me Away” by John Mayer

Title: “endings are the best part”

Inspiration: I wanted a playlist that had my favorite theme in songs: those that build up to an extremely strong finish

Examples: “Fine Line” by Harry Styles, “I Know the End” by Phoebe Bridgers, “Do Not Wait” by Wallows

Title: “shrek in the swamp karaoke dance party vol 8”

Inspiration: I think that this is quite possibly the most random group of songs you could possibly put together, but it just makes sense and they still fit together so perfectly

Examples: “Funky Town” and “All Star” which were both actually in Shrek, “Glamorous” by Fergie, “Copacabana,” but the Glee cast version, “Tia Tamera” by Doja Cat and Rico Nasty

Title: “they’ll hang us in the louvre”

Inspiration: The song, “The Louvre” by Lorde, has always been one of my favorites, so I wanted to make a playlist of songs that reminded me of the song and the place itself. It’s very much a dark academia, get-work-done type of playlist.

Examples: “Sweet Creature” by Harry Styles, “All the Pretty Girls” by Kaleo, “Radio” by Lana Del Rey

The most beautiful thing about music is how personal and special it can be when you find the perfect song, the one that understands you. For this reason, we are so lucky to have the option to keep playlists private so that you can keep certain feelings between yourself and the song without having to explain them to others. Never be afraid to use the “remove from profile” button on Spotify or go into a private listening session for any reason; the important part is to find and listen to what speaks to you.

Now that you know how to make a playlist, I encourage you to test out your new skills. How are you feeling right now? What’s your favorite song right now? Is there one that particularly speaks to you at the moment? Ask yourself these questions and go off and do great things!