A Playlist for the Four Stages of Thanksgiving Day

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You know that friend whose taste in music always makes your ears perk up? That’s my friend Austin Powers (no relation to the international man of mystery). He’s always playing the right thing at the right time, to the point that I’ve asked him to curate the music at numerous dinner parties.

“Music only adds to the sensory experience of eating,” says Austin. “So it’s something I always think of when there’s food around.”

So, naturally, Austin was the right person to go to for help creating a Thanksgiving playlist that caters to you, the host. From the minute you wander into the kitchen, this playlist will be there, walking you through your next few hours of stirring, stuffing, dicing, and slicing.

The playlist is organized in four waves.

1. The Preheat (Chill Instrumental)

This is the warm-up. Beginning with “Awake”by Tycho all the way “Dusk to Dawn”by Emancipator, the music will be a little slow and low-key. We figure you’re a bit tired going into this big day of cooking, so we’re easing you in with some instrumentals and songs that will have you tapping your feet and nodding your head as you chop veggies.

2. The Turkey’s in the Oven Sing-Along (90s Jam)

Cooking Thanksgiving dinner comes with a few benchmark hurdles. Putting the turkey in the oven and setting the timer is definitely a big one. Perhaps you’ve found your stride, people are starting to show up to help with the sides, and you’ve moved into that sweet space where cooking feels symphonic and you’re doing the conducting.

This is when you sing along with the songs from 90s you know all the words to. Counting Crows, Third Eye Blind, Foo Fighters — the gang’s all here.

3. The Build-Up (Focused Electronica)

Ding-dong! Guests are arriving and you know as long as you keep moving at the pace you’re working at, the turkey is going to hit the table on time and no one will ask, “What time are we eating, again?” Now the music moves you into the zone to finish things off. Plus, you still need to run upstairs and take a shower.

We’re delivering a few choice mash-ups from the likes of Thievery Corporation to Bonobo to help you zone in and get things done.

4. The Gravy Crescendo (Motown Groove)

You know when you see athletes put on headphones before they hit the court? It’s music to get you pumped for triumph! This is that music. It’s what you listen to when you realize, “I pulled this off!” I asked Austin, “What’s the sound of glory?” His reply: “You need some James Brown from downtown to go with that gravy.”

So here you have it — a little funk and Motown to groove you as you dance your way to the table with turkey in hand.