Summer Playlist

I love to listen to music while I drive. I try to match the tone of my music to my setting (and, at times, to set the tone for my setting through my music!). It feels like the music just makes things more meaningful and more memorable. And over time, I’ve passed these passions along to the rest of my family (especially my children). We’ve developed a tradition of collaborating to create a special summer playlist every year.

Each summer playlist is enjoyable for the year in which it was created. But some of these live on, with an enduring legacy. For whatever reason, the mood will just seize us to play back our Normandy Playlist from 2011 (which predated Spotify)… or our “Yellowstone or Bust” Playlist from 2018. Those lists are the gold-standards. So every summer we aim to make another summer playlist that will live on like that. But we never know for sure… until we make the list, play it as we adventure, and then wait to see if our hearts get pulled back to those experiences again over time.

We’re always listening and learning new songs, throughout the course of the year. But we don’t start compiling the actual summer playlist until the month before our family’s big vacation. Once we’re within that final month, however, anyone in the family is welcome to submit any requests. If at any point the song receives three enthusiastic “Yes” votes (within our family of five), it’s included on the playlist. Four or five enthusiastic “Yes” votes puts it towards the front of the playlist. One or two enthusiastic “Yes” votes puts it in questionable (but not automatically excluded) territory.

And then someone (usually me) plays the role of curator, sequencing the playlist for maximum effect and making the difficult executive decisions to create a powerful, unified playlist in keeping with the tone we’re trying to set and/or reflect for the adventures we’ll be experiencing.

We usually aim for 90 to 120 minutes of music. That way, it can still be fun for Marci (who would typically prefer to ride in silence). And it can be more potent. All “killer,” no “filler,” to borrow a phrase from my brother.

Maybe this all sounds too regimented, too restrictive. But we have a lot of fun with it. You’re also welcome to listen along with the link to the Spotify playlist, if you like. In any event: Happy Summer! Happy Trails to you! And Happy Listening!

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