Playlist 101

So you’re a dude and you’re going to be picking your date up for the first time. What music are you gonna rock? You can’t rely on that shit you’ve been blasting in your little Toyota the last six months. This is SERIOUS and requires a certain amount attention and thought.

In fact, this isn’t just for dates. This is for those occasions when ANY reasonably attractive young female happens to get a ride in your ride. Giving her a lift across town? Picking a friend up for brunch? Roadtrip? In times like these there is music you play, and music you don’t. Think you’re gonna win her heart by having Kris Roe serenade her to some overly-emo acoustic rendition of Your Boyfriend Sucks? NO. She’s gonna be uncomfortable and you’re gonna look like an asshole.

Oh? You say you want to send out some kind of message with your choice in music? That’s perfectly fine! But it’s got to be subtle, my friend. You gotta have that gal thinking,

“Oh, this is nice. He’s got good taste in music. I’m gonna have to illegally pirate this when I get home…”

and when she least expects it, on the 15th time listening to that very song, BAM, that tune reminds her of YOU. It’s THAT EASY. But for god’s sake, man, be judicious in your choice of tunes. For your aid, here is a guide.

1 – No Barry White. No Isley Brothers. No mood music WHATSOEVER.

2 – Nothing that has the potential to induce a headache. You may like Fat Wreck beats, but it could sound like a machine gun to the lovely by your side.

3 – Skip the sensitive stuff. Like you some Ben Jelen, Straylight Run or that one country “artist” who sings about pickup trucks and slow dancing and his dead dog and Jesus? FORGET ABOUT IT.

4 – Nothing you should have stopped enjoying in high school or (ugh) junior high. Hey, I have no problem rocking out to 80s hair metal or rapping Westside Conection. But NOT in front of a date who’s sitting there wondering how I’m only going through that musical period now in my late 20s.

5 – No boy bands, no Kelly Clarkson, no Michelle Branch, no Avril Lavigne, no Hilary Duff. This one is particularly painful, as every CD I’ve ever made has had some of the above on it. But TIME and PLACE, people.

6 – No garage bands, no under-produced indie tunes. I can appreciate some Lucky 7, Mineral or Jawbreaker. Your girl may even like that kind of stuff. A first or second or third date is not the time to find out. More people than not just find that shit completely awful.

“But Matt! What the eff AM I allowed to soothe her ear-holes with?!”

Well, Matt, I’m glad you asked. Here are some tips:

• Be respectful of her musical tastes. This is a little tough if you have no idea what she likes, but if you have a general idea, try not to go too far outside her comfort zone.

• But stay true to what you like! What kind of music you listen to is at least a partial indicator of who you are (SHIT!). So represent.

• If you’re gonna introduce her to a new band or artist, do so with the mindset that it should probably be accessible. I love Thrice. I loved Identity Crisis and the Illusion of Safety. If I’m gonna introduce a gal to the musical genius that is Dustin Kensrue, I’m probably gonna chose something a little smoother and easier on the ears. Something chill but still illustrates serious musical talent. Pick a song that makes you think, “No way she couldn’t POSSIBLY love this”.

• Peaks and valley’s, my friend. Don’t follow Ryan Adams up with Pete Yorn. Take it up a notch, take it a little higher then bring it back down. This is Playlist 101.

• Give your CD a little variety. I’d stick to one song per artist if possible, and I’d use multiple genres. A little hip-hop, maybe some R&B, some pop tunes, definitely a good amount of rock. Don’t stick to one kind of music.

• Include some tracks you’re positive you’ll never even play. They’re just there as an excuse to hit Next on the CD player. Be careful with this song, though! Nothing too recognizable. Can’t have the first few bars from I Want it That Way come out of your speakers. Choose a rock song, something with some guts.

• Have not one, but TWO disks ready to go! Genius, RIGHT?

Don’t think I was gonna let you go at this cold. Here’s two sample playlists:

1 – Jimmy Eat World – Sweetness
2 – Thrice – Come all you weary
3 – Orianthi – Drive away
4 – Atmosphere – Modern man’s hustle
5 – Blakroc – Tellin’ Me Things
6 – Lady Gaga – Paparzzi
7 – Ryan Adams – Wonderwall
8 – The Vines – Ride
9 – Lupe Fiasco – Never Lies
10 – Brand New – Jude Law and a semester abroad
11 – Damone – Now is the time
12 – The Transplants – Diamonds and Guns
13 – Gorillaz – Clint Eastwood
14 – Yellowcard – Ocean Avenue
15 – Phantom Planet – Big Brat
16 – Surgarcult – Memory

1 – The Bravery – Believe
2 – Lily Allen – Smile
3 – Augustana – Stars and Boulevards
4 – Dustin Kensrue – Please come home
5 – Kings of Leon – Use somebody
6 – Weezer – No other one
7 – Rihanna – Rude boy
8 – Stereophonics – Minute Longer
9 – Pete Yorn – Just Another
10 – Metric – Black Sheep
11 – Bouncing Souls – True Believer
12 – Jack’s Mannequin – Dark Blue
13 – Thrice – The Whaler
14 – Zero 7 – In the Waiting Line
15 – The Veronicas – Untouched

BOOM.

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