Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Wednesday Night Playlist

Like myself, I'm sure all of The Skog Blog readers are excited for Memorial Day for many reasons. A day off of work (hopefully) and some relaxation possibly. More importantly, a chance to remember our beloved family and friends who have passed and perhaps reunite with those we don't see as frequently anymore. I assume many of these reunions will include some sort of a BBQ. You might have your meats already marinating, your fridge and freezer full of ice and assorted beverages and your lawn perfectly manicured. However, don't forget the most important part of your BBQ, the playlist. I'm here to help.

Some people might think it's okay to just plug in your personal listening device, turn on shuffle and 'shazam!' instant party! It's not that easy. The perfect playlist requires some planning so here are some instructions to make sure your Memorial Day BBQ doesn't suck. Most BBQs are going to go on for hours so consider this a template not the definitive list.



Just like in sports, singing, running, etc - you need to warm up. You don't start off your BBQ blasting Welcome to the Jungle by Guns N Roses right out of the shoot unless you want to frighten your guests. Remember that a good BBQ is a marathon. Most likely your friends and family will slowly trickle in so you want some mellow music that will be inviting and make your guests feel comfortable. Songs that will play in the background and provide a nice soundtrack for the introductions and reminiscing that will take place during the first hour of the BBQ.

Amos Lee - Ease Back - Really needs no introduction if you've heard it. If not, give it a listen and you'll see what I'm talking about.

Seu Jorge - Rebel Rebel - Fans of Wes Anderson films will recognize this tune. Seu Jorge did acoustic covers of David Bowie songs in Portuguese and they are friggin awesome.


At about the hour mark of the BBQ it's time to introduce your guests to some of your favorite bands. The key here is to take their most accessible tunes, not necessarily your personal favorites. Not everyone is going to love the obscure b-side from a single off their third album or a side project from your favorite singer with Pavarotti - keep it simple and upbeat. These songs might even spark conversation when the mood gets a little dull.

Gomez - See the World - Easily the least threatening song from my 2nd all time favorite band.

Ryan Adams - New York, New York - Ryan is the ultimate hit or miss guy but when he makes contact it's a home run.

M. Ward - Chinese Translation - Sounds like something you would have heard on your Grandpa's AM Radio back in the day.


At this point you want to start breaking out the hits. You want a good mix of all genres. Songs from every decade that will bring the BBQ back to life and carry it through the next few hours. For example, if you are going Classic Rock go with the big guns like The Rolling Stones, The Doors, etc. Tunes that might make people create an impromptu karaoke session. Throw in the occasional lesser known song to once again get people saying things like, "Who is this? They are really good..." These same rules apply to house parties and weddings.

Journey - Don't Stop Believing - I have heard rumors that this song has been at the top of the charts in Heaven since the 1970's.

Kenny Rogers - The Gambler - In the book/film High Fidelity they say when looking for a friend it's 'what they like' not 'what they are like' that matters most. Sadly, most of us do have friends that enjoy some country music. Stick with Kenny Rogers and nobody will be offended or get hurt. If for some strange reason your friends hate Kenny or his tasty chicken then Elvira by the Oak Ridge Boys will get you through in a pinch.

Stone Temple Pilots - Interstate Love Song - Do not be afraid to throw in some tracks from the high school or college days, in fact they are encouraged. This song might be the finest alternative rock song ever recorded and anybody who says otherwise is not somebody you'd want at your BBQ.

G. Love & Special Sauce - Cold Beverages - This song is required for all parties, BBQs and weddings. This is not optional.

Donavon Frankenreiter - Free - A pleasant little song that will get people saying, "Is this a new Jack Johnson song? No? Oh... cool..."


At this point you want to bring the crowd down from their frenzy. Find songs that are mellow yet familiar and people will leave with a smile. Hugs and good feelings all around.

John Denver - Country Roads - You give me a BBQ that doesn't end with a John Denver sing-a-long and that is one BBQ that I will not want to attend.

Happy Memorial Day to all.


Corbie said...

We may now resume our friendship.

Corbie said...

I've been listening to Ryan Adams all morning now (more hit than miss for me) and I'm going to play Come Pick Me Up at my next BBQ and see who I chase off before dessert.

kg said...

Don't get me wrong, Ryan Adams is very good and his best work is on par with anybody in the history of music. But when you pump out 3 albums a year there are bound to be quite a few stinkers. The old quantity above quality problem. Kind of like my posts on The Skog Blog.

brohammas said...

Long live cold beverages (which I now happen to manufacture hence the "Kala Ginger Ale" plug my buddy leveled at Bonobos).

My favorite by far is a loud chorus of "Don't stop believing". In fact I can't stop singing in my head right now.

kg said...

I love ginger ale as much or more than the next guy but I'm more interested in Kala Key Lime Soda. Get on that.