How to create a playlist: ‘I can’t bear a trite lyric

BBC Presenter Liza Tarbuck's tips for creating the perfect musical selection (with minimal computerised drums) from her book, I An Distracted By Everything

Liza Tarbuck on how to create a playlist

Playing 'The Stripper' makes me laugh; somebody somewhere has an adventure because that track has comes on

I'm not a fan of computerised drums, likewise an organ can lose its appeal within minutes, but there are exceptions.

Some older songs may be offensive to someone listening and unless there's a tongue-in-cheek element to them, they don't get in.

I love a purist and will hunt definitive music down on the premise the appeal could stretch and inform. Difficult tracks are often aided by what you put before and after them, or setting them up with interesting notes.

The seasons play their part too. As does the time the show goes out, we need different things from the radio at different times of the day or night, some music doesn’t feel right. . . (this could be cobblers though, ‘listen again’ and all that.)

There are people whose musical taste I admire unquestioningly and I love it when they tip me off.

I like a memory jog.

I'm allowed (my rule) to play some of my favourite tunes a few times a year, listening to them on the BBC studio equipment can take my breath away. It's part of the reason I do the show.

I listen to what's playing everywhere I go. How does it makes me feel? Shops have people whose job it is to keep you in there with a good soundtrack.

Playing 'The Stripper' makes me laugh; somebody somewhere has an adventure because that track has comes on.

I'm mindful of the shows that follow mine and I can lay a foundation for them to wet the listeners' whistle . . . similarly I like to end on a high - it's helpful for the following show.

Moaning people are rarely helpful and I avoid them when I can. I am always allowed to moan.

You either 'get it' or you don't. Worrying about dissent only waters the product down; I'm a hard taskmaster, I take my job seriously, and as a creative, detail is key.

I consider it an honour to have my own show on BBC radio. 

If the music is good the rest of the show takes care of itself. 80% of a live show is about how it’s received by the listeners on the day, you have to guess or steer unknown moods. I don’t always get it right.

Remastered tracks from the 90’s are often quite flat – I tend to avoid them.

Sometimes the musicians are so involved in a song it gives the music an emotional life, ensuring its longevity. 

Some weeks I’m so excited by a track I can’t wait to play it and gauge the reaction.

I’m mindful that I’m imposing my taste on people, but it’s lucky that music is so enjoyable . . . mixing it up’s good.

You gotta have soul.

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