Based on nothing other than anecdotal evidence, I've formed this opinion that are there two types of party hosts: Those who create carefully curated audio ambiances for any event, and those who just hit play on whatever pre-made playlist or Pandora station seems to fit the occasion.
Our panel of party experts have only served to validate my highly unscientific hypothesis. When we decided to ask a handful of entertaining aficionados to share their hosting secrets with us, I knew the playlist question would make the cut. Because here's the thing: The people who love to make playlists are always looking for new and exciting songs to add to their arsenal, and the folks who want to plug and play... well, they're just looking to have somebody else do the work for them.
So find these tunes and genres on Spotify and consider your holiday parties planned. I mean, once you have food, drinks and music, all you need are the guests!
And psst... Want to learn more about our experts? Check out their "table cred" right here: Meet the Entertaining Experts
"Lately I've been loving French lounge music that strikes the perfect balance between chill and upbeat. I can also count on Gwen Stefani, Sia, John Legend, Beyonce, Rihanna, and Daft Punk to get the party started."
— Camille Styles, CamilleStyles.com
"Anything by Simon and Garfunkel."
— Jordan Ferney, Oh Happy Day!
"If you're in a pinch and don't have a mix ready for guests, you can't go wrong playing Tycho, Amelie (the soundtrack), or Frank Ocean. If you need a mix, this one I put together on Spotify a couple years ago still does the trick. You also can't go wrong with Billie Holiday."
— Kate Arends, Wit & Delight
"For a ladies night out, anything Beyonce, and my current favorite is 'Formation.' For mixed company, especially in the South, anything Outkast. 'So Fresh, So Clean.' is an oldie but a goodie—a great song for a casual party for sure."
— Michiel Perry, Black Southern Belle
"80's music. Nobody hates the 80's."
— Danny Seo, Naturally, Danny Seo
"It really depends on your particular party and whether it's more chill or upbeat. But for me, 90's hip hop makes every party better!"
— Joy Cho, Oh Joy!
"House Party by Sam Hunt. Might be too literal here, but totally fitting, right?!"
— Roxy Te, Society Social
"I like to play an upbeat, eclectic mix so there's something for everyone. Think Beast of Burden by The Rolling Stones, Electric Relaxation by A Tribe Called Quest, Hollywood by RAC."
— Sarah Ashley Schiear, Salt House Market
"I'm not sure about what song, but I believe having a great playlist is an absolute must. I like to create a list that mixes both traditional holiday music with your typical fun, get-everyone-dancing tunes. I utilize Spotify because it's easy to access other guests' playlists, and I can add a new song at the drop of a hat."
— Mandy Kellogg Rye, Waiting on Martha
"Every playlist should have lots of songs that others will know. A playlist without one familiar song can be boring for guests. The second a familiar tune is heard, the party dynamic starts to change."
— Holly Becker, Decor8
"I'm the worst person to ask. I usually just pick a pre-made playlist that suits the occasion."
— Lauren Conrad, The Little Market
"I'm so bad with music questions, there are so many factors haha! Is it for a chill cocktail party, for dancing, a celebration? So many things! At the end of the day, you can never go wrong with a good oldies playlist on Spotify, I love the Happy Days and Best of the 60's versions."
— Ashley Rose, Sugar & Cloth
And guys? Chantal went for extra credit and put together a whole playlist for you:
"Nasty" by Janet Jackson
"Miracle Aligner" by The Last Shadow Puppets
"Spoonful" by Howlin' Wolf
"The Ghost Inside" by Broken Bells
"Once in a Lifetime" by Talking Heads
"I Heard It Through the Grapevine" by The Slits
"Darling Nikki" by Prince
"Fever" by La Lupe
"Soulful Lady" by Michael Chapman
"Rebel Rebel" by David Bowie
"Baby Your Light Is Out" by Young-Holt Unlimited
"On the Street Where You Live" by Tito Puente and His Orchestra (or the whole My Fair Lady Goes Latin album)
"Just Kissed My Baby" by The Meters
"The Buzz (feat. Mataya & Young Tapz)" by Hermitude
"Told You I'd Be With the Guys" by Cherry Glazerr
"Baltimore" by Nina Simone
— Chantal Aida Gordon, The Horticult