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Three golden rules for a killer playlist

Without it, it’s a sure flop. But succeeding in your playlist requires a bit of method. Here are three tips to make your floor vibrate with your guests.

Children listening to music in the multimedia department of a supermarket. MODEL RELEASED © ANSOTTE/ISOPIX/SIPA

By Emilie Eyzat

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1st rule: together is everything

Step number one is to know your audience. It’s silly, but if you want to see everyone wiggle on the track, the goal is to adapt to the horde of guests. Teenagers, sores, thirties and forty-somethings gathered around a good table do not expect the same refrains. And for how many hours will it be necessary to amuse the gallery? Three o’clock, fifteen o’clock? Think wide, otherwise you risk immediately going around in circles and emptying the track.

Once this perimeter is secure, what can the joyful smala be given to listen to? Start from the principle that it is necessary to please the greatest number. We avoid any radical bias and false good ideas like “with this, I’m going to explode them, no one will know”. If no one knows, precisely, we risk missing an essential point: music must bring people together. A bit like engaging in conversation by talking about the weather because it’s easier and less tiring. Everyone wants to get up – a knowing look directed at their neighbor – when the first notes of a familiar tune ring out. We will share our latest findings at another time, the next morning, for example. Obviously, nothing prevents you from distilling a few cutting edge tracks of Russian rap or deep house unknown to the battalion here and there, it’s just a matter of finding the right balance. But the more we know a classic, the more we dance and sing at the top of our voices. And the more contagious it is, the proof…

2nd rule: a learned progression

“Billie Jean” by Michael Jackson or “Happy” by Pharrell Williams will always make you take off more than “Memory and the Sea” by Léo Ferré, so, for the tempo, no procrastination, opt for the overboosted. The easiest way is to focus on songs that can be listened to, without breaking the rhythm (slow, fast, slow, fast, we lose everyone). The good business is R&B, skilfully mixed with the worlds of rock, hip-hop, pop, dance, techno and a few reggae niches that are always appreciable, if only to take a breather. Afterwards, it’s up to you to see if you prefer to broadcast the playlist in random mode or not. But we recommend that you keep control of the order of the pieces, which allows you to better balance them and create a progression, to link different atmospheres, depending on the time.

Do not immediately exhaust your fighters: at the beginning of the evening, the time to warm up, we treat ourselves to a calmer beach, before letting go of the decibels. You can very well choose a playful jazz or a hopping rockabilly in the background to give a smile to the latest arrivals (it works every time, watch the video instead…). The best is to plan a playlist to take off quietly, a second to maintain altitude and a third to descend and land gently. A handy little foot call to encourage crowds to put down their drinks, zip up their coats and go home. We will choose warm, lascivious. Bossa-nova, funk, soul and other lounge mixes will complete the evening and the last diehards in style.

3rd rule: need a helping hand?

Obviously, you can always enjoy a “turnkey” playlist. The web offers plenty. The Delicious Music-Your Daily Dope Dealer site offers delicious playlists between house, lounge, pop, deep, hip-hop and disco. It’s just a click away – you don’t even need to register first. Ditto on Dealer de musique which suggests playlists as different as “A quiet Sunday”, “Funky Friday” or “100 hip-hop”. To avoid tearing your hair out, just follow the guide on Spotify, Deezer, the two behemoths of the genre, or even the Apple Music app which now allows you to stream the entire Apple catalog. From the mainstream playlist to the most advanced titles that drive the blogosphere and Nova crazy, it’s impossible not to find what you’re looking for. Sure that you too will generate a maximum of comments and bubbling during your evening. Come on, good luck, we’re with you in the test…

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