It's that time of year when rocking around the Christmas tree at the Christmas party has ended and we prepare for another bash to bring in the New Year.
Have you already heard Last Christmas a few thousand times since Thanksgiving? Then, like us, you may already be getting a little sick of the constant Christmas repeats. Luckily though, the same 12 Christmas songs will soon leave the deepest parts of our brains and the plans for New Year's can start getting made. And, if you're hosting this year, one of the most crucial parts of this is curating a playlist.
For some of us, that leads to a whole lot of questions. Is it cool to keep playing Christmas music at a New Year party? Probably not. So it's time to move on into music that isn't Christmas themed but will refresh us for a new year while celebrating everything that's gone by. In an attempt to help you with that seemingly impossible endeavour, we've rounded up six tips worth knowing.
Keep in mind these tidbits still come in handy even if you aren't curating Nat King Cole songs or the ultimate New Year party megamix.
Choose the right streaming service
This one kind of goes without saying, but: make sure you build your playlist on a streaming service that's best for you and your party. If you're an audiophile and care a lot about sound quality, check out Tidal. It's one of the few services that offer "high-fidelity CD sound quality."
If sound quality doesn't matter that much to you, but instead you prefer a streaming service where your playlists can be made available for offline listening, there's also Apple Music and Spotify and others. If music videos are more your thing, try Google's YouTube Music. It wouldn't hurt to subscribe to your favorite streaming service if you're not already, just to avoid the constant ads popping up between songs.
Here's some quick links for learning how to make playlists on the top music-streaming services: Tidal, Apple Music, Spotify, Google Play Music, YouTube Music, and Deezer. Oh, and here's a thorough comparison of the several streaming services available in the UK...
Define the mood of your playlist
The best playlists are tailored to a specific mood. You can make your playlist as broad or as niche as you like, but it really should have a focus. This depends a lot on the party you're hosting and the guests who'll be attending.
You can simply make an all-encompassing New Year music playlist with standard tunes, or you can get creative and try to remember the big hits of the year that you really loved.
You could even choose holiday songs with lush orchestral arrangements, with lots of emphasis on the Trans-Siberian Orchestra, with the purpose of creating an arena-rock atmosphere. It's entirely up to you, but just make sure you do it. This of course applies to non-holiday and New Year lists too.
Give your playlist an appropriate title
Before you start adding music to your playlist, you'll have to name it first (in most instances, anyway).
You should have already decided the mood of your list, and if you have, this step will be pretty easy. We'll get into this more later, but if you plan to share your playlist with others, consider naming it something catchy as well as something associated with the music files in it.
For instance, you shouldn't name a New Year playlist "The most Santanic music of all time". Unless, of course, you actually think that.
Search, search, and search some more
The internet is your best friend in this instance. Use it to your advantage. Scour forums, fan pages, and blogs to find material for your playlist.
You could even Google search phrases like "best music tipped for 2018" or "top songs from 2018". Auto-complete functions in search engines - even YouTube's search bar - will also surface similar results you might be interested in giving a listen.
Beyond all that, most streaming services offer browse/discover features as well as expert- and user-curated playlists, and all of these things are rich resources you can use to your advantage when crafting the perfect playlist.
Don't arrange your playlist by artists
If you want to go whole hog, you can arrange your playlist so that it tells a story (sort of like how an artist arranges the songs on his/her album to tell a story). But that's kind of intense. Lazier people will probably just throw it together and let the cards fall where they may, so to speak.
We recommend you avoid arranging the whole thing by artists, because hearing clips from the same dude/dudette over and over again will get old.
Share and update your playlist
Your playlist doesn't have to disappear forever once the party is over.
You can make it public on most streaming services or even embed it elsewhere so that the whole world can check it out. If you're going to go that route, we suggest updating it every once in a while too (or, if it's a Christmast list, at least annually). That way your friends, family, and even total strangers will keeping coming back to it for more. It'll be like being a DJ for a brief minute. Kind of.