Constructing the Perfect Thanksgiving Playlist

Image result for vintage record player photography

Thanksgiving is NEXT WEEK and we’ve had stuffing and mashed potatoes on our minds since Halloweekend - emphasizing the end. Yes, we have transitioned from pumpkins to turkeys and have waited patiently (desperately) for this break to come. Now that it is just in our grasp, there are a lot of things to think about: what to wear on the day, how we’re going to deal with inevitable family arguments, the workout we’re going to have to do after gaining ten pounds. A little lower on the list is the music of the evening, though it is deceivingly just as important as the outfit and the food. Well, maybe not the food.


Music is the way that we connect with each other. Different races, ethnicities, sexual orientations, genders, and ages all bond over timeless melodies. Rhythms expressing love and the common emotions that all humans feel. Thanksgiving is the time when you should be connecting with those closest to you. And although music may not have a huge impact on who you get into a fight or exchange awkward banter with, it sets a mood. Not only does it set a mood, but it also gives you a talking point and demonstrates a larger goal. The night will be one continuous wave. There will be high and low points and long and short points, though the music is what remains constant. It reminds us why we all gather for Thanksgiving.


So now comes the hard part: picking the type of music. There will likely be three or four generations at your gathering and a range of people whose musical preferences diverge. The youngsters like pop, hip-hop, and alternative. The elders like jazz and swing. Those in the middle can go anywhere from country to rock to any kind of decades music. You’ve got a lot of people to accommodate, so the following are some tips when making your perfect Thanksgiving playlist.


Keep the headbangers and hyped music for the weekends with your friends, where they belong. Not that Thanksgiving isn’t a celebration, but I think we’d all agree that it’s more lowkey. You want music that isn’t too fast or too slow. Typical genres of the sort include folk, singer-songwriter, alternative/indie, jazz, and soul.


Remember that even though the ages of your family and friends may vary, there are some songs that just about everyone knows - or should know. In the playlist, add some songs that put the general crowd in a good mood. These are sing-along types of songs, ones that most anyone can recognize at the sound of the first instrumental. Artists with these types of songs include Billy Joel, Elton John, Bruce Springsteen, Sam Cooke, The Beatles, Frank Sinatra, and Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons.


It’s good to include songs with positive messages or lyrics that spread positivity. Sure, Sam Smith has great vocals, however, listening to “I’m Not the Only One” or “Pray” may dampen the mood. There is something about optimistic songs that get people tapping their feet. Some songs you can build into your playlist are “New Light” by John Mayer, “Coming Home” by Leon Bridges, “Sunday Morning” by Maroon 5, or “Landslide” by Fleetwood Mac.


If you need more inspiration when creating your playlist, check out Spotify’s Genres and Moods category under the “Browse” tab.