10 Life Situations And The Playlists You Need To Survive Them

There are certain songs we hear and immediately associate with a powerful memory, because music can transport us like few other things can, and can make getting through difficult times just that much easier. Music has the power to define our important life moments, and to improve them, which is why we’re writing this post in partnership with HP for their new x360 with Beats Audio — the best tool for listening to music, whether you’re at your desk or on the go. Here are ten life situations everyone goes through, and the music that can inspire you to thrive in them.

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Getting ready for a date

I have a little tradition for getting ready for a date, no matter how casual it is. I carve out at least an hour beforehand and spend it listening to music and getting ready. The playlist absolutely must include Blink-182’s First Date. It never fails to make me excited about the date, and excitement is contagious — the guy always notices and seems more into the event himself. If it’s a crappy date, who cares? The anticipation and getting ready are half the fun.

Here’s your perfect playlist for your next pre-date event:

First Date — Blink-182
Tonight (Best You Ever Had) — John Legend
Me & U — Cassie
So Impossible — Dashboard Confessional
Whatever You Like — Anya Marina
Slave 4 U — Britney Spears
Let’s Spend The Night Together — The Rolling Stones
Gonna Make You Love Me — Ryan Adams
You Make Me Feel Like A Natural Woman — Aretha Franklin
Hang With Me — Robyn
Lovin’ You Is Fun — Easton Corbin
Damn I Wish I Was Your Lover — Sophie B. Hawkins
Whatever She Want — Travis Porter
Only Girl (In The World) — Rihanna
One Life Stand — Hot Chip

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Make sure the songs you pick are (mostly) optimistic or fit whatever you’re hoping to find and then start playing.

Leaving home

One of the most vivid music memories I have is when I left home for college. It was scary to say goodbye to my parents but when I got on the plane and took my laptop out I played Wide Open Spaces and all the scary feelings turned into excited feelings. This can be a playlist for the first time you leave home or one you listen to when you are getting ready to make a big leap of faith, one that builds your confidence up and reminds you why it’s good to try new things.

Moth’s Wings — Passion Pit
Wide Open Spaces — Dixie Chicks
Dancing In The Dark — Bruce Springsteen
California — Joni Mitchell
Like A Rolling Stone — Bob Dylan
Leavin’ — Jesse McCartney
Born To Run — Bruce Springsteen
A Little Bit Stronger — Sara Evans
Roar — Katy Perry
Breakaway — Kelly Clarkson
A Change Is Gonna Come — Cold War Kids
I’m Free — The Who
Country Strong — Gwyneth Paltrow
Put It On — Mac Miller
Hit The Lights — Selena Gomez & The Scene

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Hosting a dinner party

The true test of feeling like an actual adult is being able to host some of your friends for dinner in your home. There’s a few tricks that will make this a memorable night (that isn’t super stressful to prepare for). First, make sure your apartment is ready the day before, don’t leave cooking and cleaning for the same day. Second, make friends with the guy at the meat counter — ask him for his suggestion for the most low-maintenance but delicious meat item he has. Something like couscous and cranberry stuffed chicken is perfect because you need to do zero work besides popping it in and out of the oven. Finally, make a playlist to play in the background. It shouldn’t be filled with pop music that’s distracting to the conversation. Instead try a playlist that’s entirely made up of cover songs — if there’s a lull in the conversation every song in the playlist becomes an awesome conversation topic.

Rich Girl — The Bird And The Bee
Teenage Dream — Tyler Ward
With Or Without You — Kina Grannis
Call Your Girlfriend — Erato
Pony — Far
Baby — Tyler Ward
Blister In The Sun — Guster
Lisztomania — Tim Neuhaus
Pursuit Of Happiness — Lissie
We Can Work It Out — Stevie Wonder
The Weight — Aretha Franklin
Ain’t Too Proud To Beg — The Rolling Stones
Crazy — Violent Femmes
Toxic — Yael Naim
…Baby One More Time — Fountains Of Wayne
I’m On Fire — Bat For Lashes

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When you need to zone out from everything to work/study


Pro tip: background music makes it even easier to zone out than trying to keep things completely silent. Plus, when you plug your headphones in it’s also a signal to anyone who may see you that you’re busy. For this playlist, you want stuff that makes the world melt away, nothing too showy, just calm and background-y.

Black Eyed Dog — Nick Drake
I Love You But I Don’t Know What To Say — Ryan Adams
Let Go — Frou Frou
Blue Mind — Alexi Murdoch
Orange Sky — Alexi Murdoch
Now I’m All Messed Up — Tegan and Sara
Whatever — Elliott Smith
Claire de Lune — Debussy
Somebody More Like You — Nickel Creek
So Much More — Peter Mulvey
Titanium — David Guetta
Breathe Me — Sia

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Surviving a breakup

Breakups suck. The silver lining is that you’ve got the whole wide world of breakup songs to get you through it. There’s literally no more popular subject in music than a broken heart. Start with the sad stuff and cry it out, reach catharsis through your headphones, then listen to angry breakup hits, and finally all the “I’m so much better off without you” jams. You will get through this. The right playlist will help.

A Legal Matter — The Who
Get Gone — Fiona Apple
Red — Taylor Swift
Tim McGraw — Taylor Swift
Where Does The Good Go — Tegan and Sara
Before He Cheats — Carrie Underwood
No More (Baby I’ma Do Right) — 3LW
I Can Change — LCD Soundsystem
How Come You Don’t Want Me — Tegan and Sara
All Cleaned Out — Elliott Smith
Dancing On My Own — Robyn
Should Have Known — Robyn
Handle Me — Robyn
I Look So Good (Without You) — Jesse James
Nothing Compares 2 U — Sinead O’Connor
The Breakup Song — Wale
Why Ya Wanna — Jana Kramer
Fuck You — Cee Lo Green
Forest Whitiker — Brother Ali
Ridin’ Solo — Jason Derulo

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Hosting a party

The single most crucial element for any party you host is the music. The right songs will get everyone in the mood to be happy and socialize, and hopefully even dance for a bit. The key is to pick crowd favorites instead of showcasing your own music tastes. Pick classics and new songs that people can’t help but love — and keep the mood happy.

Body Language — Jesse McCartney
Whistle — Flo Rida
Party Rock Anthem — LMFAO
Till The World Ends (Femme Fatale Mix) — Britney Spears
Paper Planes — MIA
Memories — David Guetta, Kid Cudi
Tik Tok — Kesha
Throw It In The Bag — Fabolous, The Dream
Jesus Walks — Kanye West
This Is How We Do It — Montell Jordan
Get Like Me — David Banner, Chris Brown
Just Dance — Lady Gaga
Animal — Neon Trees
We Can’t Stop — Miley Cyrus
Bye Bye Bye — N’Sync
Ignition (Remix) — R. Kelly

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Having a crush

Having a crush can be a very intensive experience — you’ll definitely need some background music while you Facebook stalk them and read their entire Twitter history. Let it make you hopeful about the future and excited to put your best foot forward when you interact with your crush. Pick songs that make you feel confident rather than ones that might make you sad and zap your energy. The way you are in your social life should be buoyed by the playlist, not anchored by it.

Kathleen — Josh Ritter
You Really Got A Hold On Me — Dusty Springfield
Wonderwall — Ryan Adams
Hold You In My Arms — Ray LaMontagne
Fighter Girl — Mason Jennings
Linger — The Cranberries
Brighter Than Sunshine — Aqualung
Closer — Tegan And Sara
Bright Smile — Josh Ritter
I Second That Emotion — Smokey Robinson & The Miracles
U Got It Bad — Usher
Secret Garden — Bruce Springsteen
When You Come Back Down — Nickel Creek
A Case Of You — Joni Mitchell
Mine — Taylor Swift
I Ain’t Leavin’ Without Your Love — Nashville Cast

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Working on your fitness

The workout playlist is the most important playlist in a 20-something’s collection. It gets harder to make time for exercise when you start working 40 hours a week while having an active social life. You need to find music that keeps you pumped up so you can last through your run (or whatever exercise you’re doing). It works best if they’re fast-paced and a bit sassy — who doesn’t love sweating out a little anger?

Disco Inferno — 50 Cent
Call Me Maybe — Carly Rae Jepsen
Super Bass — Nicki Minaj
So What — Pink
We R Who We R — Kesha
Starships — Nicki Minaj
Don’t Stop The Music — Rihanna
My Humps — Black Eyed Peas
I Love It — Icona Pop
Yeah! — Usher
The New Workout Plan — Kanye West
Self Taught — Brother Ali
We Can’t Stop — Miley Cyrus
Slight Work — Wale
Forgot About Dre — Dr. Dre, Eminem
Black Skinhead — Kanye West
I Wanna Go — Britney Spears
Brooklyn Girls — Catey Shaw

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Recovering from a bad day

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We all have them, the Friday nights where you are so exhausted when you get home from work and your life just isn’t where you thought it would be by now. Relax, that is what everyone thinks — it’s supposed to take a long time to get everything in order. My favorite thing to do when I’m having one of these days is set up my music outside the bathroom door and take a long bath or shower. Water — and acts of self care — signal your brain that you can wash away mental stuff too, and you’ll be able to visualize all that frustration going down the drain.

The Long Day Is Over — Norah Jones
Dirty Rain — Ryan Adams
Dear John — Ryan Adams
Some Song — Elliott Smith
Devils & Dust — Bruce Springsteen
With Every Heartbeat — Robyn
If I Ever Feel Better — Phoenix
White Horse — Taylor Swift
Springsteen — Eric Church
With Or Without You — U2
You Don’t Make It Easy Babe — Josh Ritter
Heart Of Gold — Neil Young
Against The Wind — Bob Seger
The Only Living Boy In New York — Simon & Garfunkel
Homeward Bound — Simon & Garfunkel
Volcano — Damian Rice
This Years Love — David Gray
Fix You — Coldplay
White Flag — Dido
My, My, Hey, Hey — Neil Young

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Feeling confident when it’s not coming naturally

There are times when you need to be on your A-game and you can’t leave it up to your mood. A great pump-up playlist is like an energy drink for your psyche. Fill it up with songs that make you feel powerful, attractive, intelligent, capable, bossy — whatever you need. Plug in and play a few of them before you need to be “on.”

Bad Girls — MIA
Donald Trump — Mac Miller
Konichiwa Bitches — Robyn
Roar — Katy Perry
POWER — Kanye West
Life’s Been Good — The Eagles
Circus — Britney Spears
Gunpowder & Lead — Miranda Lambert
Stronger — Kelly Clarkson
Glamorous — Fergie, Ludacris
The Way I Are — Timbaland
You Ain’t Woman Enough — Loretta Lynn
On To The Next One — Jay Z
No Sleep — Wiz Khalifa
Forever — Drake, Kanye, Lil Wayne, Eminem Thought Catalog Logo Mark

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