Last Updated: August 27th
Spotify is filled with users (including Spotify itself) who put in the effort to curate playlists that feature the right songs for the right mood, or perhaps what’s most current so you can be an informed fan. There are thousands and thousands of playlists, though, so let me help you out: Here are some of the best playlists on Spotify that check a variety of boxes, that will keep you in the loop, and that will expose you to some great stuff you may not have discovered otherwise.
Charli XCX’s The Motherf*cking Future Playlist
While she’s on tour with Taylor Swift and Camila Cabello — two of the greatest pop stars of the current era — Charli XCX has had an ear out for the stars that might be coming up behind them. Though she’s certainly busy opening up the all-female arena show, releasing new music, and traveling all around the world, she’s still managed to find time to update this extraordinary playlist, playfully dubbed “the motherf*cking future,” which features mostly women who are currently on top of their game, or artists from the past who were way ahead of their time. If there’s a great new pop song building momentum, it’s probably on here. And Charli doesn’t discriminate between indie, trendy, popular, or commercially successful — if it’s good pop music that sounds like the future, it’s here.
Insecure‘s Soundtrack Playlist
Insecure‘s third season is here, which means there’s never been a better time to get familiar with the show’s picks. Considering Issa and her crew had the help of Solange, it’s no wonder the show quickly became known for breaking out new artists and scooping up exclusives, like “Quicksand” by SZA, which debuted in an episode right when the queen of TDE was blowing up in the mainstream. There’s plenty of soothing R&B, mood-building rap, and more left of center sounds that are perfect for when you’re tired of your old favorites and ready for something new. Plus, the Insecure crew will probably be updating this throughout season three rolls out, even more reason to keep an eye out.
The Longest Mixtape: 1000 Songs For You (Various genres, by Caribou)
If you’re making a mixtape for somebody, it usually only has somewhere between 10-20 songs so as to not overwhelm the recipient. Caribou took a significantly opposite approach: In 2015, he shared “The Longest Mixtape,” which features over 1,000 songs. Caribou (real name Dan Smith) has called it “a musical history of my life,” and since he’s somebody who’s spent a lot of time poring over old vinyl and other musical oddities, there are surely some engaging picks among the thousand songs here.
New Music Friday (Pop/Hip-Hop/Indie, by Spotify)
For the purposes of this guide, I’ll try to stay away from Spotify’s in-house playlists, not because they’re not excellent (they are), but because this is about discovery, and Spotify’s playlists are the most obvious picks that you could easily find on your own without my direction. That said, it’s also a good idea to rely on them to provide a regularly updated playlist of the new stuff that’s hitting their platform on a weekly basis. That means that their New Music Friday playlist is the most essential resource if you want to know what’s new every week.
Pop All Day (Pop, by Spotify)
Same story with this playlist: Spotify knows what their users are listening to, so their Pop All Day mix will always have the biggest hits of the moment conveniently collected in one place. You could listen to pop radio, or you can take control over your pop and just throw this playlist on shuffle. Your call.