The Power of Playlists

The Power of Playlists

Thinking about what music can do for you.


I consider myself an avid music lover even though I don’t know how to play a single instrument. That didn’t stop me from trying, though. After my Cage the Elephant-Arctic Monkeys craze in middle school, I tried the guitar. My parents’ attic now serves as a tomb for a forgotten dream as it collects dust and looms in the dark completely out of tune.

Anyway, once I had gotten into music (and burned through most of my family’s data on a monthly basis) I decided to get Spotify Premium. I had enough of the Spotify ads its listeners know all too well. They really interrupted my mojo when I was doing important stuff like homework or working out. So now as an ad free music listener, I went full throttle into the vast expanse of songs available on Spotify’s streaming network. With all of this new, reliable music I could play whenever I wanted I worked on tailoring my playlists to my daily routine. Unlike most of my “Premium” friends who have one playlist with 300+ songs, I was more organized (still am). This organization, I discovered, helped me increase my efficiency in not only my studies, but at the gym, in my writing, and more. Do you enjoy music from time to time? If so, here are some tips to get you started on kindling the motivation we all so desperately seek nowadays.

You don’t need to pay extra to enjoy music

If you are a tolerable person (which I am not) I recommend against Spotify Premium and paid music in general. YouTube has a wide array of music that you can organize (and play on demand) that Spotify does. Yes, you’re very likely to get ads while you’re trying to listen to whatever it is you want to play but at least you’ll have freedom of selection. The only issue is your internet availability. If you’re one of those high end folk who have unlimited data, there’s nothing to worry about except you’re occasional ad. In other words, it’s easier to bump your favorite songs than non-unlimited folk such as myself.  

Setting up your playlists

Okay, okay what consists of your daily routine? Maybe you go to the gym in the morning and drive to work (or school). At some point you are going to have to get something done whether it is at school or at work or even on your free time. Think about what makes up your usual day and start tailoring certain playlists to those specific things. Really, anything’s applicable - even the most monotonous shit like laundry or whatever else you would, otherwise, consider boring. Hey and if you’re like me, put together some songs for that one-man (or woman) show when you’re in the shower.

Pair up the right music with certain tasks

Specific genres of music have been said to work your brain differently. Ever heard of the “Mozart Effect”? Neither have I… at least until I found this useful article by Medical Daily explaining the scientific intricacies of classical music and its effect on your general effectivity. One study shows that “listening to classical music enhanced activity of genes involved in dopamine secretion (the feel good hormone), and ‘transport synaptic function, learning and memory,’” (Castillo). Classical music enhances your proficiency during study sessions because of the dopamine secretion it causes in your brain; this is the “Mozart Effect,”. Thus, likely to break the monotony associated with schoolwork.

As for writing papers, classical isn’t your only option. Anything where lyrics are absent and the only thing reverberating around your head are the sounds of mellow beats are useful. I personally am not a fan of jazz and obnoxious saxophone solos, but when the genre blends with those beats I mentioned I’m totally game. So game in fact that I have an 80+ song playlist of smooth, mellow tracks for when I’m writing or just chilling out. However, there’s a difference between atmospheric and the songs mostly found on Spotify’s “Butter” playlist (which I suggest you check out). Atmospheric music is a whole different ball game I fuck with from time to time. However, I tend to stick with what I know by meddling with my “Discover Weekly” - thus adding to my already popping library. Just try to be aware that gangsta rap doesn’t really work in a playlist meant for providing focus; but hey if GUMMO works for you, be my guest.

Spotify’s playlists are absolutely DOPE

There’s so many amazing genres already available on Spotify. Everything from “Dinner” to “Rock” and “Hip Hop” to “Mood” with their respective sub-playlists, all of which have an extensive amount of tracks to choose from. Are you into a specific artist? Check out the “This is:___” playlists with all of the songs from your favorite artists. Once you become adept with Spotify music listening, be sure to check out the “Discover Weekly” playlist designed solely for you.

Final thoughts about creating the most optimal playlists

Here’s a list of some playlists and their purposes to help you get set up with your own:

  1. Sense of Self - Boost your sense of being with songs that celebrate self-acceptance.

  2. Carpe Diem (Seize the day) - Take on the world by putting together a set of tracks that promote doing.

  3. Exercise - Keep up the grind at the gym or wherever you find yourself getting that daily workout in!

  4. Driving - Tunes for the road, ‘nuff said.

  5. Good Morning - Songs fitting enough to replace your morning coffee (not that they necessarily do).

  6. G R I N D - A more general playlist, put together some songs that get you through the daily grind.

  7. Lyricless - Blend different genres or not, amass a set of songs that are barren of any distracting lyrics that may hinder you from doing what you gotta do (if you work that way).

  8. Right in the Feels - Ever wonder why the blues were created? To help cope with the adversity faced in life. Try adding some tracks that help you ride out your emotions instead of drowning in silence - grim but let’s be real, better something than nothing.

  9. Favs - Maybe you just need something to boost your attitude and just have fun, songs that make you happy work fine.

  10. Mood Booster - Spotify already has this playlist, so check it out to get some inspiration and customize your very own arrangement of songs!  

Whatever and however you design your collection of music to be, the options are truly endless.

I’m James Baratta and I’m the editor of the TIDE newspaper at Long Beach High School. I’ve been a part of the club throughout my entire high school career and loved every second of it. Writing is my passion I plan to major in Journalism.

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