Food

What Music Do You Play When Entertaining?

The Best Music for a Dinner Party

What music do you play when friends come over? The one thing great dinner parties have in common is a killer soundtrack. But it can be tricky to get it right. So today, for our month of restaurants, we turned to the geniuses behind eight favorite eateries for tips on playing music for a crowd. Here’s their advice (including the song to turn on when the mood is dragging)…

On creating the mood:

“I lean on music to help people feel comfortable. I like Toots & the Maytals’ Funky Kingston because it’s filled with funk, reggae vibes and love. It gets everyone loose and excited.” — Sean Feeney, co-owner of Lilia

“We choose different music on different days. Mondays and Wednesdays are more chill, so we put on R&B — Solange is on heavy rotation right now. As the weekend approaches, we pick up the tempo. Friday and Saturday are good nights for old-school hip-hop. On Sundays, people go into recuperation mode, so I love playing Stevie Wonder, Chaka Khan and B.B. King.” — Gwen Niles, co-owner of The Crabby Shack

“You’ll see people comment or bob their head or move to the music. If it’s jarring, you change it up. It’s funny, if you get the right music going, even though you’re playing it softly, you’ll hear the room get louder — they’re having fun.” — Carlos Quirarte, co-owner of The Smile

“There are dinner hours where slower, mostly instrumental tracks — ones you can have a conversation over — work best, such as Orchestra Baobab’s Pirates Choice (a band from West Africa that plays magical Cuban/African chilled out jazzy beauty). Then later at night, we pick it up with The B-52’s, and then it’s party mode from there.” — Rogan Howitt, co-owner of The Golden Girl Rum Club

On curating a playlist:

“Every time my husband and business partner Dean or I hear a song we love — on the street, in a movie, at friend’s, in a bar, in a kids’ show, from our wedding; anything that made our heart take an extra beat — it gets added to our playlist. Songs have to maintain a fun nostalgic feeling in the room. For example, anything from ‘The Power of Love‘ in the Back to the Future soundtrack to the ‘You’re Welcome‘ song in Disney’s latest Moana. We add staff favorites, too. You’re onto something when people comment about the music or sing along.” — Maya Jankelowitz, co-owner of Jack’s Wife Freda

“I look at Numero Group’s Spotify page because they put together some amazing playlists, like, ‘The Numero Guide to International Soul‘ and ‘Every Eccentric Soul Record. Period.‘ ” — Rogan Howitt, co-owner of The Golden Girl Rum Club

On finding the right volume:

“Start low. As the place fills, keep turning it up. Volume should be loud enough that you can have a conversation with your friends next to you, but not able to fully listen in on a conversation the next table over.” — Rogan Howitt, co-owner of The Golden Girl Rum Club

“Volume depends on time of day, how many guests are in, who the guests are. We’ve gotten good at paying attention to the sub-reaction in the room to the music, but key is acting as a D.J. and adjusting the songs and volume throughout the night.” — Maya Jankelowitz, owner of Jack’s Wife Freda

“If you’re at a table, you need to be able to hear each other. I remember an article where the hotelier Sean MacPherson was asked, ‘What are the most important things when you go out to eat?’ And he said, the people you’re with, the room, the food — exactly in that order. We’re giving you tools to enhance your night, but your night should be dictated by the people you’re with.” — Carlos Quirarte, co-owner of The Smile

On music mistakes:

“Stay away from music with derogatory words. I cringe when I see an older person eating and something comes on that could be offensive. I run over to skip the song!” — Gwen Niles, co-owner of The Crabby Shack

“One thing you can never get away with is punk music. We have people who work for us who are fans, but we have to be like, ‘Uh, that’s great that you like the Sex Pistols, but that’s not what people want to hear when they’re eating granola.’ Keep it light.” — Carlos Quirarte, co-owner of The Smile

“When we opened the restaurant, we made sure to take out songs on the sadder side.” — Maya Jankelowitz, owner of Jack’s Wife Freda

On go-to albums:

“Bob Marley’s Greatest Hits. Bob is one of the best; his music transcends all ages and races.” — Gwen Niles, co-owner of The Crabby Shack

“The movie Chef has an excellent soundtrack. When we opened GG’s, it was a favorite. From blues to salsa, it feels alive and joyful.” — Emily Schumacher, general manager at GG’s

Doing It in Lagos is a compilation of Nigerian boogie, pop and disco artists from the 80s. It’s as if you’re listening to deep disco cuts from Diana Ross, Earth Wind & Fire and Michael Jackson but with a cool reggae feel.” — Ryan Smith, creative director of McGuire Moorman Hospitality

On songs that bring down the house:

“Madonna’s self-titled album — with ‘Borderline,’ ‘Lucky Star’ and ‘Holiday’ — is perfect for picking up the energy in the room. Everyone loves it.” — Rogan Howitt, co-owner of The Golden Girl Rum Club

“Kaytranada’s 99.9%. You won’t have a person at the dinner party that won’t wanna dance, yet the songs are smooth enough to not upset the intimate, candlelit table thing either.” — Ryan Smith, creative director of McGuire Moorman Hospitality

“Growing up, Saturday mornings at my parent’s house were dedicated to chores. As we would finish up our tasks, my parents would blast Blondie though the house. It was the greatest feeling. Now, whenever I sense the vibe dragging around the bar, I turn on hits like ‘Call Me.'” — Andrew Heilman, co-owner of Scotch & Soda

“End the night with Led Zeppelin IV, listening front to back, finishing as many bottles of Barolo as possible.” — Sean Feeney, co-owner of Lilia

What are music do you play when entertaining? I turn to Otis Redding, Paul Simon, and if we really want to get wild, Dolly Parton.

P.S. How to throw an easy dinner party and become a restaurant regular.

(Top photo by Stan Wayman/Time Life Pictures.)

  1. I listen to instrumental tracks while having dinner. When I am traveling I prefer some cool songs to enjoy the time

  2. No one can be upset when listening to Motown. It’s just not possible. I dare you to not bob your head when listening to Stevie Wonder’s “Wish I”, or “Brick House” by Commodores. How about “Respect” by Aretha Franklin?

  3. I love 60s french pop! When most people don’t understand the words it’s easy to talk over and encourages dancing!

  4. Rb says...

    Im a chiropractor and I actually put a lot of thought into our office playlists! Patients have an option in each room to turn it off but when I think of their well-being & relaxation, music helps the experience! If I have time I’ll pick the genres based on what I think the patients will enjoy & often get complimented on it … so I am loving this thread for home & work!

  5. Jenny says...

    I personally love dub step, funk or chill out lounge music at dinner parties.
    Think Buddha bar, Café del Mar and Stephane Pampougnac (Hotel costs) cds.

  6. Julie says...

    We always put on the French radio station FIP. It’s the perfect mix of genres, known and unknow songs, non stop with barely any talking in between songs! http://www.fipradio.fr/

  7. Salley says...

    Trader Joe’s was packed tonight with the usual grim Sunday shoppers but Rock With You by Michael Jackson came on and I swear everybody started singing. The burly dude buying frozen pizza, clerks stocking shelves, workout ladies in the yogurt section, a little girl dancing with her mom by the crackers. Everybody was still in their own bubble almost unaware that they were singing in public, but the mood lightened considerably as soon as the song came on. Made me smile.

  8. I’m always asking for new music recommendations so this post is heaven for me!

    xx

    bombshell-to-be.blogspot.com

  9. Great tips on volume! I usually leave the whatever device the music is coming from unlocked so if a guest wants a certain song, they can find it and play it!

    xo, Sofia
    http://www.thecozie.co

  10. Lyn Burkett says...

    My husband & I are professional musicians, as are many of our friends. When we have people over (and when we visit friends’ homes), we very rarely include music in the festivities. For most musicians,music is just too engaging, and can’t remain in the background. It feels strange sometimes, and almost humorous, to visit the homes of friends who aren’t musicians and be greeted with music playing in the background!

    • Erin says...

      That’s interesting. My father is a lifelong professional musician and there is rarely a mute moment in my parents house. Especially during parties.

    • My husband is the same. He is a musician and does not like background music! He wants to really listen to the music or really listen to friends. He can’t do both simultaneously.

  11. Otis & Paul are made for entertaining. Sentimental, soulful, and a hint of joy. Perfection.

  12. martha says...

    Just added a half-dozen of these recommendations to my wedding playlist for Sunday–THANK YOU! Our guests are going to think we have the coolest taste when the truth, like all cool things in my life, is that I stole the idea from this blog :)

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      that is awesome, martha! have a great weekend!!!

  13. Marcy says...

    Jamie Cullum’s music is perfect for dinner parties!

  14. Claudia says...

    I’m always looking for dinner party music! My go-to is now Gilles Peterson, a BBC dj who makes LOVELY mixes, think ecclectic, world music, upbeat and quirky vibe. He mostly plays songs that you’ve never heard before, which I find less distracting, so great for a dinner party!
    Before, I would sometimes put my iTunes on shuffle. I’ve definitely gotten up from the table to quickly change the song, like Gwen Niles says in the article. No one needs to hear my self-help audio books booming through the room!

  15. chrissy says...

    So awesome to see you had the Golden Girl Rum Club on there! I’m big fans of Elsie and Emma and it’s cool to see that Emma’s Springfield bar got a shout out! :)

    • Stella Blackmon says...

      The Golden Girl Rum Club is the best! :) Thanks for your comment, Chrissy!

  16. Yacht Rock on Pandora is the absolute best for pre-dinner drinks. It makes my guests want to take a twirl around the floor even before the real party starts!!

    http://www.mindofmeaux.com

  17. Maria says...

    I used to love putting classical music on while I was cooking and throughout a meal until I met my boyfriend. He is a professional ballet dancer and said he can’t relax while it’s playing because it makes him run over choreography in his head! The Nutcracker Suite in particular makes him cringe since he’s performed it hundreds of times!

    So no more classical for us, mostly acoustic covers or anything that features a mandolin! I’ll definitely have to check out the French Cooking Music station though!

  18. Xenia Rubios on vinyl has been a great choice lately. Thank you NPR!

  19. Grace says...

    I make seasonal playlists for having drinks and general hanging.
    For dinner, we love to do Sergio Mendes and Tijuana Brass. It always adds a playfulness that makes you feel like you’re at a 60s house party.

  20. Samantha says...

    I’ve been listening to the Galentine’s Day Radio on Pandora this whole week. So many awesome girl power songs and blasts from the past.

  21. Robyn says...

    Most of the time when we have dinner we listen to the Etta James, Ella Fitgerarld or Dinner Party Radio on Pandora.

    • Kelly says...

      +1 for Suits.
      Other TV shows with amazing music: Mr. Robot, Stranger Things, This Is Us, Fargo, Master Of None & Scandal.

    • Claudia says...

      YES to Scandal’s music!

  22. Mouse says...

    Mix in shorter classical pieces with other kinds. The boundary between all other kinds of music and classical is boring and artificial.

  23. My boyfriend jokes that I always put on the same Belle & Sebastian record every time friends come over (he’s right) whereas he’s always prepared with a Spotify playlist to impress. So we make sure we take it in turns and B&S still gets regular spins, ha!

  24. Hillary says...

    Our dinner/entertaining playlists range from “50 Great Songs for a Dinner Party” on Amazon to Fleetwood Mac on Pandora. Miles Davis is always a great choice.

  25. Courtney says...

    I always like to play Irish drinking music. No ones knows the words so you don’t have people awkwardly trying to sing or shush others to sing (you know what I’m talking about!!) but Irish music makes people happy and get to drinking and feeling jolly. Pandora has a station!

  26. I love Amy Winehouse radio on Pandora — it’s just the right mix of sexy, chill and upbeat to keep that “feel good factor” going all night :)

    • Hillary says...

      Yes! We love it, too.

  27. Ahhh, I love this post! Was looking for some new music and just bought two albums on iTunes. Thanks for the inspiration!

  28. Julie says...

    I usually play the Shins pandora station when we have dinner parties. The music is laid back and fun, yet appropriate. A winner for sure!

  29. I love making mixes, especially for roadtrips, parties, and for work, and I think the trick is balancing the well-known tunes with some more “off the beaten trail” tracks, no matter the genre. Songs from movies and little-known artists are always a hit!

  30. Katie says...

    You can never go wrong with Willie Nelson or Dolly Parton :)

  31. Noelle says...

    Our go-to entertaining album lately has been Leon Bridges – Coming Home. It’s just so good. I also like Michael Kiwanuka’s first album Home Again (ha, just realized how similar those two titles are :)).

    However, our all-time favorite for when people are over for dinner is a fabulous double LP of the Oscar Peterson – Stephane Grappeli quartet that we found for $3 at Half Price Books. Easygoing jazz done by some of the finest musicians of that era that sets a great mood for pretty much any guest.

    • Laura says...

      Leon Bridges & Michael Kiwanuka are my two top go-tos… So good!

      Now trying to track down that LP on the interwebs :)

  32. Heather says...

    Thanks for sharing! I’m looking forward to trying out a few of these suggestions when we have friends over for dinner next week. Props to Emily for mentioning the Chef OST. That movie is SO GOOD. It’s perfectly funny and lighthearted, and the music is so well done it almost feels like another character in the film. It’s an awesome dinner-time soundtrack!

    Big hugs from Prince George,

    Heather

  33. Claire says...

    I love this post! I used to say my dream job was just designing playlists for public spaces. I love the idea of hearing a melody and then becoming obsessed with needing to know who it was and then it becomes a part of that particular time and place you were.

    I’m from Detroit and my husband and I both love Motown, so there is always the Jackson 5 and The Four Tops on the rotation. I’m very picky about music and I can get distracted by it easily, so I try to mix in instrumental pieces as well – otherwise I’m drifting out of conversation and asking the person I’m talking to if they’re listening to the music.

  34. Liz says...

    I always play A Hotel Costes cd. Good chill music

    • wb says...

      You got it. Love me some Stéphane Pompougnac.

  35. Ceridwen says...

    I love this! What a great idea for a post. I’m heading straight to Spotify when I get home from work. These tunes sound like the perfect sounds for after work relax mode or pick me up vibes. Thanks Stella!

  36. Jessica says...

    I need to thank this post for the most awesome internet wormhole:
    Solange Knowles–>hmm need to listen to that–>youtube her videos–>Video for LOSING YOU shot in Cape Town with Sapeurs–>what is a sapeur??–>Discovery of this most fascinating and awesome subculture. Seriously, WEEK OF OUTFITS!!!

    • Those sapeurs – woah! Those are some dapper gentlemen.

    • Valerie says...

      Amazing song Jessica! Thank you!

  37. Elizabeth R says...

    The Wilco station on Pandora is pretty great for dinner parties but my latest and greatest is my Pandora station featuring Leon Bridges, Sam Cooke, Otis Redding, The Alabama Shakes, and Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings. It is quality.

  38. Spotify’s Classic Acoustic is one of my most favorite playlists ever – but, it’s a little chill.

    I just discovered (sorry if I’m late to the boat) Flo Morressy and Matthew E White’s “Gentlewoman Ruby Man”. It’s all amazing covers. Would be PERFECT for a dinner party.

  39. Katie says...

    I’m not a huge fan of bots, but my husband loves the idea of them. A few months ago, when Amazon was running a special, he got us the Amazon Echo Dot — totally ordered it on the sly so I couldn’t object (SO sneaky!). We don’t really know what to do with her (I say ‘her’ because her name is Alexa), so we mostly utilize her to play music. Some of our go-to bands/artists are Lord Huron, Grateful Dead, and Paul Simon. However, my husband likes to show Alexa off when we have friends over and so he’ll make silly song requests. “Alexa! Play smooooooth jazzzzzzz.” And then here comes Kenny G! “Alexa! Play LATIN music!” And then it’s a night of samba. “Alexa! Play relaxing dinner music.” This is a weird one…sometimes we get some 90s R&B type stuff. Other times we get easy listening. It’s been a fun, silly party “trick.”

  40. Lea says...

    I recently had dinner at Glen Ellen Star in Sonoma, and my friend and I kept exclaiming how great the music was every time a new song came on. We ended up asking our server to find out what station it was. Sam Cooke Pandora station is my new go-to!

  41. Roselyn says...

    Love this post. I’ve always, always said how awesome it would be to follow certain restaurant’s playlists on Spotify because sometimes their music alone makes me want to come back.

    Miss Lily’s transports you to a sandy beach in Jamaica at the blink of an eye ;)

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      i love miss lily’s! so great.

  42. VRONI says...

    Hi there. I love to listen to music on soundcloud or spotify anyway, so when I stumble across a song that gives me a certain feeling, I either create a list for it or put it on a list I already have. List titles range from PASTAPARTY to SUNDAY MORNING SMOOTH, HOT SUMMER DAY or DEEP IN THE NIGHT…so whenever the occassion is right, I already have a playlist on hand. For Dinner Parties, that I host, where usually up to ten persons gather around one large table in my rather small living room, I try to keep it cozy, and go with soul music combined with soulfood, or italian songs from the sixties to the eighties, a little “kitch-pop” I would call it, songs that everyone here in Germany can relate to, since it’s the music we listened to in the eighties when driving to Italy for the holidays and it was on radio stations around everywhere. Depending on whether we might move on afterwards, I might go over to deep house music, or, if the second or third bottle of wine pops open, and everyone gets kind of lazy and not in the mood for big parties afterwards, I rather stick to comfy love songs as well. It’s just about the right mixture, as always, sometimes I might throw in some raggae as well, or Jazz.
    But having playlists on hand already definitely makes the evening smooth, since you don’t need to take care of it – once the music is running, it’s fine.

  43. Liza says...

    The only time I notice the music in a restaurant is when it’s too loud. I couldn’t tell you what kind of music they play in any of my favorite restaurants.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      i love how the new york times has a volume description in all their restaurant reviews. so helpful!

  44. Danielle says...

    I really love David Chang’s momofuku playlists on Spotify.
    One of my absolute favorite eclectic playlists for any occasion is from the brilliant Personal Practice (Marlee Grace). Her instagram (@personalpractice) devoted to dancing every day is also amazing.

    • Kelly says...

      Listening to momufuku playlist now. It’s perfect. Ta for the thumbs up & pointing me in a brilliant direction.

  45. Hannah says...

    YES YES YES to the comment about the soundtrack for the movie CHEF. A few we always play when people are over…
    -September by Earth Wind and Fire (can liven up any party!)
    -Lisztomania by Phoenix
    -Got To Give It Up by Marvin Gaye
    -Never Gonna Give You Up by Rick Astley
    Mix of songs everyone knows (and will sing along to) with some upbeat new finds. More than once I’ve sneakily Shazam’ed at a party/restaurant to find out what they’re playing. No shame!

  46. Steely Dan! Who doesn’t like Steely Dan?

    • Hey Nineteen just reminds me of drinking wine with friends on a hot, sweltering summer night. That slinky, tipsy groove dance you get on when you’ve hit juuuuust enough wine. Thanks for the visual!

    • meredith says...

      Steely Dan makes me angry and I have to leave the room. I don’t know why I have such a visceral reaction.

  47. Dana Cunningham says...

    My new go to are Carpenter’s Daughter’s monthly Full Moon mixes. They are amazing and eclectic – I can’t stress enough how good they are! If I owned a restaurant, their mixes would be on repeat in the dining room. You can find them on Spotify…they link to them through their Instagram profile @carpenters_daughter.

    • Danielle says...

      Thanks for sharing this!

  48. Twyla says...

    Any album from Lake Street Dive is amazing. Soulful and happy.

  49. Teree says...

    My faves are Pandora stations:

    -Glass Animals or Chet Faker for dinner/cocktails
    -Foals (for card games, socializing)
    -Otis Redding (perfect dish washing music…soulful dishwashing)

  50. I loved this.

  51. Julie D says...

    I make playlists as a hobby! I love mixing oldies, new tracks and hidden gems. For dinner I love anything by the French radio Nova, it’s always perfect http://www.novaplanet.com/radionova/player

  52. Kate says...

    This is such a great article! As always, thank you CoJ team :)

    My husband and I have made a tradition out of Sunday night family dinners and we’re always poking around for the perfect music to listen to while we’re prepping, cooking, drinking wine and eating dinner. Definitely saving this article as a resource for Sunday!

    P.S. Does anyone ever pick the music based off who is coming over? I tend to always gravitate toward folk music but it’s certainly not everyone’s cup of tea so I try and be conscious of that when we have friends over.

  53. My husband and I heard a cover of “Creep” done by Karen Souza when we were out to dinner a while back. It’s a slow, sultry jazz rendition of the song and it totally caught us off guard. We looked her up on the ride home and she has a whole album of unexpected pop covers. We like to throw on her album (it’s called Karen Souza Essentials) when we have people over. It’s mellow enough for the background, but it always makes us laugh when our guests finally recognize that they know the songs!

  54. Marie says...

    I leave my record player open and let people pick what they want to listen to. I have everything from Bjork to Michael Jackson to Creedence Clearwater Revival. After dinner and a few drinks, someone always starts dancing.

    • Joan says...

      That’s a good idea. Thanks.

  55. Meghan says...

    love this – the post that I have been searching for as a constant food service employee. at the restaurants I have worked at I know that myself and other staff have found great joy in putting on music wildly incongruous to the scene: club hits at breakfast, one direction and the jonas brothers at a cozy indie coffeeshop, the velvet underground during lunch at a family diner…it’s like an in-joke among servers. I remember once listening to modern vampires of the city by vampire weekend during an extraordinarily busy day at one restaurant I worked at and feeling the most frantic I have ever felt.

  56. Kim says...

    Hall & Oates Pandora station is amazing. It’s light background music, but everyone knows all of the songs.

  57. So many amazing tips for music here! One that I always find to be a hit in almost any dinner party environment is Motown. Everyone loves it, and it can fit pretty much any mood!
    Isn’t That Charming.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      oh my gosh, emily, i was JUST about to say that. motown is amazing. have you ever been to the motown museum in detroit? the tour they give is AWESOME — full of incredible music and behind-the-scenes stories.

  58. Carrie says...

    If ever you are having a small gathering with no real plan or purpose, put on Lonerism and listen to it all the way through!! It’s a really cool listening party type album.

    For a larger casual gathering, Bossa Nova is cool!

  59. Kim says...

    I like instrumental music for parties. You can never go wrong with Coltrane but recently I’ve been turning on Gregoire Maret. People are always like, “what is that?”, but in a good way.

  60. Bronwyn says...

    I really really love the Miseducation of Lauryn Hill for a party but I also think that a Thelonius Monk or John Scofield record will do a great job of filling in the empty parts of conversation and get people going a bit. Washing-up music, on the other hand, has to be loud and sing-along-able for optimum fun while doing the dishes – my family listens to a lot of D’Angelo or French hip-hop (or the Hamilton soundtrack if you can get away with it)

  61. I usually just pick a playlist on Spotify – I like the “Coffee Table Jazz” one, soothing and no words to compete with conversation. :)
    http://www.wonderlandsam.com

  62. One of my favorites for dinner parties is the soundtrack from the movie “Big Night.” My husband (then, new boyfriend) and I were at a romantic Italian restaurant in the West Village many years ago, and it was a perfect dinner soundtrack. We still love it!

  63. Nicky says...

    As part of a restaurant group, we paid someone to carefully curate separate playlists specifically for the morning, lunch, afternoon and night. Time of day really has a say in what people feel comfortable listening to.

    For home, we have Amazon Echo/Alexa and it’s so easy. We just tell her to play whatever Spotify playlist we want during dinners with just the two of us, or when we have people over. We always play music and light candles right before we have company.

    • That would probably be my dream job!

    • Stella Blackmon says...

      Love this, Nicky!

  64. One of our favorites is Texas Funk for when we have people over. It really lightens the mood!

  65. Angela says...

    Fun fact: Chef Alex Stupak makes the playlists at Empellon Cocina and they are amazing. No one makes the BeeGees sound cooler.

  66. shannon says...

    Once we were hosting 12 people for Easter lunch in our 850 sq. ft. home, and not everyone knew one another beforehand. People were arriving, I was mashing potatoes in an apron, and my husband left to get some ice…taking his phone (which was playing our music) with him. All of a sudden it was deadly silent – literally not a single guest, one of whom was my BOSS, was talking. It was one of the most awkward experiences of my life. I ended up scrambling around to find ANYTHING that would play music, all while trying to finish the potatoes and get my guests to start talking. It was an introvert’s worst nightmare.

    Lesson learned: play music on something other than your phone. Now I depend on mellow jazz mixes on Pandora or Google Play during dinner parties. They are a nice volume level, almost everyone likes that style of music, and there is no risk of inappropriate lyrics. It has to be set-and-forget or I will stress over it!

    • Stella Blackmon says...

      Shannon, such a great point about the phone! And great to know about the jazz mixes on Google Play. Thank you!

    • Claire says...

      late-coming reply… But my fiance and I bought a Kindle fire just for this purpose. They have deals all the time, so for about $40 we now have a permanent fixture in our kitchen which has all the apps we go to for music streaming, connected to a bluetooth speaker (also doubles as a recipe resource!). And, since it didn’t break the bank, we don’t feel super guilty about if it gets a little splattered-on :)

  67. Katherine says...

    Drake! And Broken Social Scene. Sharon Jones (*broken-heart emoji*) if it’s summertime.

    (can you tell I’m from Toronto??)

    Current theory in my group of pals is that the reason Drake is so successful is that he makes the ideal background-party music.

    • Stella Blackmon says...

      Hahahaha, yes!

  68. LOR says...

    My go to is the oldies channel.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      yes, always great :)

  69. I like playing electro swing, smooth jazz and easy listening with various type of pop songs thrown in, ones that I know they’ve not heard before (try Scandinvian pop artists and songs)

  70. Ooh, I love this! We almost always have classical music going in the background, just because my usual dinner guests are my children and they will sing along to the lyrics instead of eating (after dinner it’s free reign on whatever playlist the kid assigned to dishes wants!).

    My absolute favorites these days are 1) London Philharmonic 50 Greatest Pieces of Classical Music–I love this one SO much. Such a great mix! http://amzn.to/2ky3x71

    and the Classical Kids CDs–if you have kids, these are the absolute BEST!!! We listened to these all the time as kids and now my six children are obsessed with them–they make road trips so much easier, but my kids listen to them all day every day. For some reason audiobooks just make my kids so much calmer and so I almost always have these running throughout the day (and my 3-yr-old has figured out how to ask Alexa to play them for him too!). Basically they are stories about the composer’s lives told to the accompaniment of that composer’s music. Beethoven Lives Upstairs, Vivaldi’s Ring of Mystery, and Mozart’s Magic Fantasy are my favorites but they are all great!
    http://amzn.to/2ky1cco

    • Robin says...

      Ooh I loved these growing up! So excited to know they’re available still, in formats other than audio cassette ;). I bet my three year old would be into them too.

    • I LOVED these growing up! As a homeschooled, we listened to them extra often. Can’t wait to start them with my kids. Thanks for the link!
      My husband usually turns on French jazz on Pandora in the evenings and when we have guests, but sometimes it feels a little too fancy (though also chill and fun). We need to branch out a bit!

    • I should also add that there are some new ones since the days when we were all listening to them on audiocassette, which was a fun surprise for me as an adult! :-)

    • Kristen says...

      !!!! As a kid, I listened to these every night on cassette while I was going to sleep… I tell people about them all the time and they never know what I’m talking about. Thank you so much, Rachael! I feel like a piece of my childhood just got handed back to me. (And I immediately ordered the full set for my best friend’s kids.)

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      love this thread!!

    • Becca says...

      YES YES YES. On Pandora the station “French COoking Music” is wonderful French jass, Djano-style. Feels like you’re in Dirty Rotten Scoundrels ;-)

    • Becca says...

      Geez typos much? French JaZZ and DjanGo. Can you tell I am really passionate about my French Cooking music?

    • Liz says...

      Yes! Pandora’s French Cooking Music is my favorite station! Perfect background while cooking/baking/eating.

  71. Summer says...

    Wow, what a great, thorough article! Totally saving this for next time.

    I always play what I like (lots of Phoenix and Britpop), and keep the volume low enough. I guess i’m officially old, bc I hate loud places/not being able to hear.