The most important element of any party (besides the food, of course) is the music. Good tunes spark conversation and ease tension at the very least (and we’ve all been to at least one party that could’ve benefited from that, am I right?). At best, they instigate impromptu dance parties and silent karaoke battles—all from the comfort of your living room.

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A killer playlist is key, but don’t just plug in your workout mix. Who’s coming to this hangout? Your former party crew from college? Your boyfriend's parents? New-ish work friends you’re still trying to impress? A unique playlist exists for every evening and crowd, but we think these three cover pretty much everything. Press play.

The Chill Playlist

A chill host keeps the food as crowd-pleasing as a Frank Ocean ballad. Assemble a smorgasbord of store-bought dips and crackers, from red pepper hummus to mint pesto, and salt and vinegar kettle chips to buttery biscuits. The drinks should be simple: Set up a bar cart with wine, beer, and enough liquor for a classic cocktail or two. Guests should want for nothing, and the smooth tunes should keep the vibe calm.

The Turn-Up Playlist

The only food needed for this event is a giant pizza, to be consumed a few hours before the real party begins. Because let’s be real, the last thing you want while flipping cups is a plate of quinoa salad in the other hand. The drinks should be bare bones too: Handles of clear and brown liquor, thirty racks, massive jugs of sangria. If you don't want a lot of bottles around, throw together a massive batch cocktail, like champagne punch. Extra points if you manage to get the whole group out and then back to your place for midnight snacks.

The Old-School Playlist

Break out the bottle of vintage red your parents gave you for your 25th birthday and tell your trendiest friend to bring their record player (so what if they bought it at Urban Outfitters to make their living room look chic?). Food should be elegant and probably involve a cheese plate. Talk about classic books and the good ol’ days… anyone who brings up politics has to sit in the corner.

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