Have you ever been to a party where the atmosphere was amazing, the pigs in a blanket were cooked just right, you and your friends were having an awesome time laughing and making fools of yourself… but the music sucked? There’s nothing worse than a party playlist that sounds like it was made by the DJ at your middle school dance. Everyone’s just standing around awkwardly, sipping “punch” in an effort to keep from cringing. If you’re worried that your next party is going to be like I just described, have no fear: I’ve come up with the formula for the best party playlist that will be sure to please everyone, even the host yourself! You can also make this playlist for your friend who thinks Jake Paul’s “Everyday Bro” is appropriate party music (don’t come for me Jake Paul stans, it’s just the truth).
The formula is as follows:
- A heaping serving of current hits: they’re popular for a reason. Though everyone’s already heard these songs twenty million times on the way to your party, people will sing and dance along like they’ve been waiting for them to come on all night. Bonus points if the top 40 songs are good to dance to. We all love ourselves some Adele, but “Hello” calls for tissues, not partying.
Suggested songs: God’s Plan by Drake, Wolves by Selena Gomez and Marshmello, Finesse by Bruno Mars feat. Cardi B, Descpactio by Luis Fonsi and Daddy Yankee feat. Justin Bieber, Know No Better by Major Lazer feat. Quavo, Travis Scott, and Camila Cabello
- An equal amount of throwbacks: More specifically, late 90s to early 2000s throwbacks. You need something to balance out all of those current hits on your playlist. Though these songs have retired to music heaven, there’s nothing wrong with resurrecting some classic, all-time favorites. While temporarily forgotten, everyone will miraculously begin belting out the lyrics after the first couple of cords ring out.
Suggested songs: I Want It That Way by The Backstreet Boys, Don’t Trust Me by 3OH!3, Party in the USA by Miley Cyrus, Everytime We Touch by Cascada, …Baby One More Time by Brittney Spears
- A splash of 80s music: These are different from the previous throwbacks. You can’t put too many of these songs on your playlist, as some people might not be as “woke” to them. However, there are a select few that are universal favorites that the majority will still be able to jam to.
Suggested songs: Thriller by Michael Jackson, Come On Eileen by Dexy’s Midnight Runners, It’s Raining Men by The Weather Girls, Never Gonna Give You Up by Rick Astley (yes, I’m giving you permission to rickroll people)
- 1 Don’t Stop Believin’: Every playlist needs this song. Everyone knows it, and everyone loves it (even if only secretly). Even the hipsters who turn up their noses at “over-played” songs will be bobbing their fedora-clad heads to this tune.
- A healthy serving of rap music: Put some of these songs on your playlist, and everyone will suddenly start choosing the thug life. Get ready to figure out which of your friends is Jay-Z’s prodigy, and which is a wannabe Kanye West.
Suggested songs: Butterfly Effect by Travis Scott, Passionfruit by Drake, XO Tour Life by Lil Uzi Vert, Bodak Yellow by Cardi B, Unforgettable by French Montanna feat. Swae Lee
- A dash of EDM: Also known as Electronic Dance Music. Tread carefully when deciding what specific type of EDM you want to put on your playlist. You should probably steer clear of Dubstep (which is a mish-mosh of computer generated sounds, usually with few lyrics), but Trap (lots of bass, similar to rap) and House (think Chainsmokers or David Guetta) are usually safe choices.
Suggested songs: No Promises by Cheat Codes feat. Demi Lovato, It Ain’t Me by Kygo feat. Selena Gomez, There for You by Martin Garrix feat. Troye Sivan, Best Friend by Sofi Tukker, NERVO, The Knocks, and Alisa Ueno
- A sprinkle of line dance/group dance songs: You learned them either from your friend Kimmy in 5th grade or by watching YouTube videos for an embarrassingly long time, and you could do them in your sleep. These songs, though a bit corny, never fail to get everyone dancing.
Suggested songs: The Cupid Shuffle by Cupid, Watch Me by Silento, Cotton Eye Joe by Rednex, YMCA by The Village People, The Cha Cha Slide by Mr. C
- A spot of musical theatre songs: All 525,600 theatre kids in the room will go crazy. You will automatically out who was in their sixth-grade production of Grease as Rydell High Student #4.
Suggested songs: My Shot by the cast of Hamilton, Seasons of Love by the cast of Rent, Defying Gravity by the cast of Wicked, You Can’t Stop the Beat by the cast of Hairspray
- 3 (no more, no less) Pitbull songs: You can roll your eyes all you want, but don’t lie. All of us have willfully jammed to one of his songs at some party or another, even if it was your grandmother’s 60th birthday party. People might hate on Mr. Worldwide, but his songs are catchy.
Suggested songs: Timber by Pitbull feat. Kesha, Time of Our Lives by Pitbull feat. Ne-Yo, Give Me Everything by Pitbull feat. Ne-Yo, Afrojack, and Nayer
- A pinch of personal favorites: Be careful about over-indulging yourself. There’s nothing wrong with adding a few songs to appease yourself, but proceed with caution- not everyone might like what you like. If you can, try and pick some of your favorites that coincide with a previous category, or that you know other people at your party will enjoy.
Suggested songs (and some of my personal favorites): Closer by The Chainsmokers, Sugar, We’re Goin Down By Fall Out Boy, No Problem by Chance The Rapper feat. 2 Chainz and Lil Wayne
At the end of the day, it’s important to know your audience. So, if you think your partygoers would enjoy a bit more 80s music and less top 40 hits, that’s okay- adjust the formula to suit your needs. No matter how you go about using it, however, I can assure you that no one will be sitting around at your party whispering about how bad the music is. If you’re on a time crunch and don’t have time to craft your own playlist, feel free to use my very own party playlist, which includes all of the songs mentioned in this post, as well some others of my own choosing. Don’t forget to make smart decisions when going to or hosting a party. Have fun!