So last week's Saturday Night Nite Party Music Planner was very well received and it has inspired me to do another. It's important to acknowledge that not all Saturday Nite parties are blasting remixes like electro-fiends. Thus, this week isn't all about the hot remixes, like the previous Planner, but I'm zero-ing in on funky-fun synthpop.
As limiting as you might think it is, synthpop leaves your playlist wide open to a plethora of sounds. Some choices are obvious: MGMT; the first 5 tracks of Hot Fuss. There are also new acts breaking out that can inflate your playlist: La Roux; Empire of the Sun. Then there are the internet classics: Ladytron; The Knife (I suppose MGMT's transcending presence can easily be categorized here too). And lastly, the real classics: Kraftwerk; Pet Shop Boys. I won't get too involved or theoretical with "synthpop." It would soil the point of this post in the first place — to help you come up with a kick ass Saturday Nite Party Playlist.
Is starting out with MGMT too much of a cliche? Well, even if it is, I'm running with it. Running with MGMT's "Kids" to be exact. It may not be as prolific as "Time To Pretend" or as danceable as "Electric Feel," but there is no doubt on anyone's mind that "Kids" is the best MGMT has to offer. While I give the 2008 album version of "Kids" my highest recommendation, but if you want to mix it up, I think you should check out these versions:
MGMT have laid down the fundamentals and, hopefully, has brought in the mood you wanted it bring. Now it's up to you to decide where you want to go from here. It's pretty much common sense to have a party playlist without variety, right? So here are your choices.
Option A) You can continue with your quest to showcase only the best of the best (as well as crowd favorites) of synthpop songs. In this case, here's a sample of stuff I'd play:
MGMT - Kids (in any variety)
Freezepop â€“ Less Talk More Rokk
Empire of the Sun â€“ We Are The People
Cut Copy â€“ Hearts on Fire
The Knife â€“ Heartbeats
Fever Ray - Triangle Walks
MGMT - Electric Feel
Ladytron - The Lovers
Franz Ferdinand - Turn It On
Yeah Yeah Yeahs - Zero
Depeche Mode - Personal Jesus
Pet Shop Boys - Love, Etc.
Sam Sparro - Poket
I like it keep it fresh in most cases, but I do like to make occasional nods to the oldies. And I always, always think it's a good thing when there are repeat MGMT appearances.
Option B) You can dive into the bottomless pit that is synthpop inspired pop music. This phenomenon exists is a lot of contemporary pop music today, which works out great when you're jumping between The Knife and, say, Muse. For example:
MGMT - Kids
The Ting Tings - Great DJ
The Knife - Heartbeats
Lady GaGa - Poker Face
Kanye West - Get 'Em High (A-Trak Remix)
Kevin Rudolf - Welcome To The World
Britney Spears - If U Seek Amy
MGMT - Electric Feel
Hot Chip - Ready For The Floor
Sam Sparro - Black and Gold
Muse - Supermassive Black Hole
In cases like these, you really can't underestimate the power of "Poker Face" and "If U Seek Amy." At least I couldn't. Those two songs always get things going when/if it slows down.
Option C) You can use iTunes' built in playlist-creating features. You have two to choose from: Party Shuffle Mode, and if you have an iTunes account, the Genius Playlist. A lot of the time these playlists can come off as generic though. For example, these are the first few songs that pop up when I create a Genius Playlist based on MGMT's "Kids":
Santogold - L.E.S Artistes
Cold War Kids - Hang Me Up To Dry
Feist - My Moon My Man
Spoon - The Way We Get By
Radiohead - Reckoner
That's not really what I was going for when I started a playlist with "Kids," you know? You can always use these tools for some tips, but I still think manual playlist creation is the way to go.