By Duck Kolenik
Over here at The PLG we take what we choose to fill our ears and brains with during the workday quite seriously, so building a perfect playlist is tricky business! You can’t just throw something together willy-nilly like you would for a backyard soiree with pals, mimosa-fueled brunch or last minute Vegas adventure. Everything feels fine in those situations. Work mixes get a tad more hairy to concoct. You have to dig deep, in terms of setting a mood and sustaining the right amount of energy until closing. It’s like running a marathon. You don’t just show up wearing Converse drinking an orange juice. Sneakers and liquid. That’s seems almost right, but really it’s just not right at all!
You have to think things through, calculate. For instance, you can’t go spinning ALL hits. Though the intentions are great, the outcome not so much. There’s nothing worse than trying to craft a critical email, when you suddenly realize you’re typing the words of whatever famously catchy chorus is blasting. “I Can’t Get No Satisfaction” is probably not a great valediction when writing a client. A song can have all sorts of issues for productivity; too bass ridden, too dissonant in tone or peppered with one too many expletives. Those should be kept for weekend mixes involving cocktails or kites.
The key is to have a delicate balance of mind-soothing sounds with upbeat undertones and nothing that snaps or lands too hard. I do however, like to channel Franz Joseph Haydn (in his composing of the ‘Surprise Symphony’ just to wake sleeping Royals in his audience)… and toss in a semi-jarring song to jolt anyone potentially about to doze off. Abel, by The National, is perfect for such a task. It’s healthy to act as a human shot of espresso for others, now and again, right? Finally, I like to close shop with a whimsical and relevant tune. Everyone can go back out into the world calm and refreshed. California Stars, by Billy Bragg & Wilco, usually nails that sentiment.
Enjoy and circle back for more of the PLG’s Perfect Plays to come!
Big Thief – Shark Smile
Amen Dunes – Believe
The War On Drugs – Holding On
Ryan Adams – La Cienega Just Smiled
Cat Power – I Don’t Blame You
Handsome Furs – Dead + Rural
The Walkmen – We’ve Been Had
Father John Misty – Ballad Of The Dying Man
The Kills – The Last Goodbye
The National – Abel (to pull a Franz Joseph Haydn)
Grizzly Bear – Mourning Sound
Cass McCombs – City Of Brotherly Love
Sharon Van Etten – We Are Fine
Dr. Dog – Where’d All The Time Go
LCD Soundsystem – All My Friends
The Magnetic Fields – The Dreaming Moon
Jenny Lewis – Just One Of The Guys
The Replacements – Swingin Party
Phosphorescent – Song For Zula
Billy Bragg & Wilco – California Stars