Winter is coming. For some, that means nestling up next to a new or current lover, indulging in an unhealthy amount of retail therapy, or, the 2020 draft pick—quarantining. For others—especially those here at Burbs Entertainment—it means building a collection of playlists with enough ferocity to withstand another miserable Midwestern winter.
The art of playlist creation has been an uphill battle in the music industry. It seems like every year the “How to Make a Perfect Playlist” articles are changing their narratives. If you have no prior experience in playlist development, this can be frustrating. My answer to your dissatisfaction is this: making a playlist is not—and never will be—one-dimensional.
Let’s take Spotify, for instance. The 300 million-user streaming platform receives a standing ovation for its uncomfortably-personalized playlists and radio stations. Despite rumors of a mastermind robot behind the meticulous song arrangements, the company revealed that a team of music-savvy editors, bloggers, contributors, etc. are the method behind the madness. What makes their system so undefeated against their competitors? The company embodies and understands the complex range of their listeners’ interests, and handles each creation on a person-by-person basis.
Playlist creation is an independent practice reliant on the mind and soul of its creator. It is not an algorithm nor a science, but a collection of ideas, emotions, memories, places, etc. The beautiful magic that is building a compilation of songs is one of the most individualized and equal-opportunity practices in music today.
To test this ideology, I asked some of my fellow writers, designers, creators, and even a few of our adamant readers, what the “perfect” playlist looks like to them. Each individual shared their best practices for building a playlist, followed by a link to a playlist of their own. With contributions from a spectrum of Spotify, Apple Music, and SoundCloud listeners (sorry Tidal!), you are sure to find a new playlist to tuck you in this winter season.
Deja Williams / Writer / Schaumburg, IL / R&B, Hip-Hop, Indie Rock, Bedroom Pop
I have made it unbearably easy for the Spotify geniuses to build playlists specific to my taste. From a quick glance at my profile, my playlists are all conscientiously categorized by emotion and/or events. Pregaming with your girls? Try “Hot Girl.” Coasting down LSD? Try “Cruise Control.” Did someone cheat on you? Try “IFHY.” For every life scenario, there is a playlist to get you through it.
Now, I know this might seem constricting, but you must understand I was born in June. Not ‘Gemini’ June, but ‘Cancer’ June. My life is under the tyrannical reign of my emotions. I seldom stray from these core playlists of love, lust, anger, sadness, etc. and instead continuously reconstruct their greatness. Each backed by an aesthetic cover photograph and a witty biography, these playlists are a part of my DNA ladder.
Thankfully, what I lack in acceptance of change, I make up for in my diversity of music taste. Each playlist withholds about 100-200 songs, often with a variety of genres and artists. Do not be alarmed while shuffling one of my playlists that might go from Frank Ocean, to Justin Bieber, to Avril Lavigne, to Otis Redding. On paper it does not make sense, but in practice it is resonant harmony.
‘Topanga’ is my most recent creation. Inspired by Trippie Redd’s 2018 single, I crossbred my older R&B playlist ‘Hood Fairy’ with newer artists and sounds I have been introduced to this year. This creation’s journey has just begun, but I am loving the direction it has taken thus far.