Making party playlists

by Patty Templeton

Love itI was once at an untoward jumble of a college house party that, for some reason, I drove over two hours from Chicago to southern Illinois for. It was absolutely not worth wheeling to except for one moment wherein the ENTIRE HOUSE stopped what they were doing and ecstatically sang “We Are the Champions” with Freddie Mercury on the hi-fi.

I don’t think I needed to hear 90 people from all reaches of a two-story revelry belting out Queen to know that music makes a party, but from then on, I enjoyed the idea of finding The Perfect Song to create The Perfect Moment.

I love being in charge of party playlists. I love mashing unexpected but connected tunes together. I love being the cause of hot closet groping to Howlin’ Wolf or blitzkrieg kitchen boppin’ or low-toned, deep life convos near summer bonfires to the deliberate lyrics of Joseph Huber.

Music is a powerful magic, and I’ll ever love being a conduit for its propagation.

Patty TempletonHate itApparently, I’m not good at reading the room or gauging the moods of party guests or which sounds are appropriate for an occasion at any point. Or maybe my music is simply unlikeable.

The music I have played at parties has been described as “too depressing” (Nick Drake), “too hokey” (The Statler Brothers), “too folky” (First Aid Kit), or sounding “too much like Herb Alpert” (Herb Alpert).

I don’t like the pressure of being in charge of the music, and hence (apparently), whether the party lives or dies. I’m a people-pleaser by nature and trying to please five to 20 people at the same time is too much pressure. Whatever the music I pick, it’s always too fast, not fast enough, too bluegrassy, too loud, too soft, too much disco, not enough disco. You can’t please all the party people all the time, so I’ve learned.

I’ll joyfully turn over party-playlist-picking to others. You know, criticizing their choices is so much easier.

David Holub


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