Rachel Strange

No matter our musical preferences, most of us that love music probably also have music that for us instantly equals summer. I’m talking about music that makes you want to roll down the window, jump in the pool, or fire up the grill and invite some friends over. But you can’t build a whole Cookout/Pool Party/Highway cruisin’ playlist with just that one song that might come to mind as you read this. You need one perfectly crafted playlist. It needs to be just the right length that you don’t get tired of those songs this summer, but just short enough so you can make sure you hear a song enough that it has that “sing along” factor Maybe you want a variety of styles, or maybe you prefer just one genre that makes you happy. Either way, I’m here to provide you with formula you need to curate that playlist that’s just right for you.

First let's start with length. 20-35 songs is perfect for the playlist that will mostly be background at parties all summer, but if you plan on some long road trips or tons of solo listening 50 songs is probably better. Now before you think “Wow that sounds like a lot of work”, hang on. I’ve got you covered.

After you know how long this playlist should be, lean into the importance of nostalgia. All of us instinctively love the same songs we loved when we were 16-18. It’s literally science. So, if you are spotify user, open up “Your Time Capsule”, which is a playst that spotify makes for all its users that guesses what their favorite songs from high school were. It’s very accurate. Use your favorite songs from that playlist as a starting point for those perfect summer vibes. If you don’t have spotify, just look up what songs were popular at the time and see what strikes your fancy.

Next, streaming service (like Apple Music or Spotify) users should use the “summer” playlists that your streaming service of choice has already created for you to get more ideas. You might think this sounds like cheating, or that maybe you should skip this whole process and just use those curated playlists from the get go. That might work for some, but if you want to never feel like you have to use that skip button stay with me. These streaming services will for the most part have genre, event, and season specific playlists. Do you only want country music? A certain decade? Female artists? Just chill stuff? Yacht rock? Whatever your preference, you can probably find something like that to get you started.

Lastly, for the social butterfly, think about the songs that get people singing along. Is there anything that makes you feel more like a kid again than loudly singing along to your favorite song with friends? Probably not. So pick the songs that make you want to do that, and before you know it, your friends at the pool party will be busting out their best renditions of your favorites while they float on that big inflatable ice cream cone or taco or whatever. And really, what sounds more like summertime fun than that?

Strange Perspective is a unique weekly look into today's pop culture by Progress columnist Rachel Strange.

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