Face The Music: 3 Primping Playlists For Any Occasion

I’m a big believer in the rituals of going out: having some time to yourself to shower, dress, primp, style, and psyche yourself up before barreling into the night (or day) can really set the tone for your excursion. Part of my ritual involves creating meticulous Spotify playlists for specific moods, occasions, or seasons. Sometimes they’re thematically cohesive (like for Christmas), sometimes they’re just songs that “feel” like autumn or a particular kind of makeup style I’m wearing. Have you ever listened to “Just Like Honey” while putting on black eyeliner? It is a delight!

Below, I’ve compiled three primping playlists for three different occasions: going out to dance, having hot fun in the summer, and spending time with girlfriends.


1. “Dancing in the Street,” Martha Reeves & The Vandellas
One tries not to be too literal with playlists, but this is a classic.

2. “Blame it on the Boogie,” The Jacksons
There was no doubt MJ would be included, but which MJ? I’ve always had a soft spot for “Blame it on the Boogie,” credited to The Jacksons. This is a year before Off the Wall, but less well-known than any of the (perfect) songs on that album. I kinda hope this is a new one for you guys, as it’s also quite perfect.

3. “More Than a Woman,” Bee Gees
Let’s slow it down a little. This might be the best time to apply eyeliner, since, if I’m doing my job right, every other song will leave you with hands thrown up in the air as if you just do not care. Whether you’re into this depends on your tolerance for disco. I am VERY into disco.

4. “This Is How We Do It,” Montell Jordan
A very good point about designated driving is snuck in here, that is applicable whether you’re Doing It on Friday night, or any other night of the week.

5. “Rock Your Body,” Justin Timberlake
For my money, this is the best thing Timberlake has ever given us, and I’m including the denim suit. This song was co-written and produced by Chad Hugo and Pharrell Williams — can you tell? It was pretty tempting to just stack this playlist with Pharrell, and I will tip my hat to anyone who utilizes him and him alone for a pre-dance-party dance party.

6. “Fancy Footwork,” Chromeo
I would say this juuuust edges out Timberlake for sexiest offering on the playlist.

7. “Modern Love,” David Bowie
Yes, yes, “Let’s Dance” is the ‘80s Bowie hit about dancing, but “Modern Love” is an infinitely more danceable tune. Much love to the long-lost saxophone solos of days gone by.

8. “D.A.N.C.E.,” Justice
I wore this track OUT when it first appeared several years ago. Hope you’re familiar. If not, what a treat! I’m jealous of first-time listeners. If you’re in a rush to head out, just play these final two songs and you will get exactly the right amount of pumped.

9. “One More Time,” Daft Punk
This is The One. The Song to listen to when you’re getting ready for a night of dancing. It doesn’t matter where you’re going: ballroom, country and western bar, da clurb, Aunt Muriel’s wedding: it applies equally to all boogie situations. This song should be stored behind glass in every building with a sign that says “Break In Case of Funk.”


1. “I Can See Clearly Now,” Johnny Nash
Let’s start the summer season off right. Pick a flower, soak up some vitamin D, and enjoy the sunny days.

2. “Sunny Afternoon,” The Kinks
Oooh, this is a lazy one. Not a lazy selection (I hope), but it’s the audio equivalent of being asleep on a pool float, drink falling out of your hand and sunglasses askew.

3. “Summer in the City,” The Lovin’ Spoonful
We’ve gone from gentle gardening to sleepy afternoons to sweaty, fast-paced errands on the way to something better. Summer is a season for all things. Except maybe eggnog.

4. “Wouldn’t It Be Nice,” The Beach Boys
The Beach Boys are a summertime necessity, I think. Not a huge fan of surf rock, but I think the teenage romance of “Wouldn’t It Be Nice” still conveys the sunshine-y SoCal vibe without being too cloying.

5. “Last Dance,” Donna Summer
Donna Summer, get it?

6. “The Boys Are Back in Town,” Thin Lizzy
One of the best sing-along rock songs ever. Don’t you love it when a song makes you nostalgic for a time and place you weren’t even there for? Won’t be long ‘til summer comes.

7. “Chattahoochee,” Alan Jackson
Country break! This applies to any body of water, not just rivers. Listen to it as you ready yourself for the lake, beach, creek, pond, or quarry.

8. “Mr. Blue Sky,” Electric Light Orchestra
I grew up listening to ELO thanks to my mom, but, in a petulant childhood manner, tried to deny for years that I actually loved it. I can still remember the first time I begrudgingly admitted I kind of liked the band; I was fourteen, and we were sitting in the car in my grandma’s driveway. This was the song that broke me.


1. “Steppin’ Out,” Joe Jackson
Put on foundation while this song sets the foundation for your evening.

2. “Take Your Mama,” Scissors Sisters
The lyrics of this song may be a tad specific, but the gist is what we’re going for here: head out with someone (or someones) you love and have a blast.

3. “Smile,” Lily Allen
The “evil but friendly” song is difficult to pull off; “Miss Jackson” and “Alone Again Naturally” are two good examples, but “Smile” is so sweetly insidious that I can’t help but love it. We’ve all been there!

4. “Wannabe,” Spice Girls
The entire catalog of the Spice Girls holds up remarkably well, and the first single, the introduction to the whole girl power ethos, is the perfect anthem to get you pumped up for ladies’ night.

5. “Jumpin’, Jumpin’,” Destiny’s Child
There are many Beyonce flavors we could have taken, but let’s go with original recipe. 1999! Technically three decades ago, but the party ain’t gonna stop, no matter when you’re listening.

6. “Toxic,” Britney Spears
Do you know anyone, man or woman, who doesn’t like “Toxic?” Me neither.

7. “Run This Town,” Jay Z, Rihanna, Kanye West
It’s just so satisfying to be with your friends and know that you own your corner of the world, wherever that corner may be.

8. “I Love It,” Icona Pop, Charli XCX
I saw Charli XCX perform this song at Bonnaroo last summer, and it was transcendent. Every woman under the tent tore away from her boyfriend’s arms to wild out and sing along. This is a song for young women, by young women. It honestly brings a tear to my eye.

Ashley Spurgeon is a writer based out of Nashville, and can be found on Twitter @AshSpurge.

[Photo via Shutterstock]