EMPT Presents: The Playlist Generation – Breathing Life

Perfection is a dubious goal that I’m convinced no one can fully (or perpetually) obtain. Michael Jordan had off nights, and Monet made some ordinary paintings. If you’re mortal, it’s impossible to always be on your game–and it’s also impossible to please everyone with your work. I just finished watching Jiro: Dreams of Sushi for the second time, and that’s actually reinforced this belief. There’s probably not too many people alive with a combination of better work ethic, sheer focus, drive and yes, talent, on this planet. And yet he still finds and picks at his personal flaws, three Michelin Stars and all.

Likewise, even if you master your art, there is simply no way to always please everyone with your art–people on the internet will say Jiro’s sushi is overrated. Within music, I keep coming back to Diplo (the Jiro of EDM?) as the best proof of this theory. He refuses to settle, constantly evolves, and always puts out innovative material. His motto is “express yourself” and that means you try different things, you feel what works and what doesn’t work through trial and error, and you roll with it. Because when you keep waking up every day and grinding and attempting to master your craft, you will continue to get better, to reach more people and to please even more people. You can apply this to any aspect of your life you’re attempting to either master or simply improve.

Or sculpting sonic identities. When you curate music and make playlists that reach millions of people a day, the thought “what if someone hates this song–what if it doesn’t work?” frequently arises internally. While a playlist may be more of a collage than a visceral piece of art, it does have a very real impact and affect on people–one that can trigger an array of emotions that in turn trigger a hopefully positive response. At The Playlist Generation, we’re constantly trying to trigger the highest positive response and figuring out which combination of tracks will work best for each setting.

Our philosophy to shaping a sound maintains that every song matters and thus, only the fittest songs for their intended environment survive. The music we hear throughout our lives shapes our impressions, molds our thoughts, and creates memories. It’s our job and passion to choose the right songs for the right settings to help shape this journey. The following mix illustrates a slice of the thought process and track selection that goes into the process.

Michael Smith, founder and CEO of The Playlist Generation and a renowned DJ, lays it down smooth with this exclusive offering. The mix, apropos to this post, kicks off the mix with Diplo’s “About That Life” and jives into several eclectic directions from there, hitting you with every genre fit for ears. It’s a smooth, balanced mix layered with songs that demonstrate why The Playlist Generation’s musical tastes have been adapted by many worldwide brands, ranging from Jaguar to Le Bernadin to Standard Hotels to Coffee Bean and many more.

The Breathing Life mix helps tell this story better than words can, as it embodies the diverse, refined, and exceptional sound we aim to achieve. Sweet and savory, subtle and bold, there’s something for hopefully everyone in this mix–while it may not be perfect, these are songs that will start your weekend off on the right chord.


Diplo (Feat. Jahan Lennon) – About That Life
Capital Cities Ft. Tupac – Breathe (Pink Floyd Cover)
Led Zeppelin vs. Gramatik – Stairway To Hip-Hop Haven (Gramatik Remix)
Craig David – Walking Away (Drop Out Orchestra Remix)
Machinedrum Feat. Melo X – Let It (Traveler Remix)
Theophilus London – Dance Hall Days (TL Cover)
Junior Byron – Dance To The Music (Gigamesh Version)
Ultimate Kaos – Casanova (Mickey Re-Work)
Arcade Fire – Sprawl II (Soulwax Remix)
Razorlight – Englishman in New York
The Beatles – Don’t Let Me Down (Gramatik Remix)
Alabama Shakes – Hold On
Nick Waterhouse – If You Want Trouble
Quantic Feat. Conjunto Los Miticos Del Ritmo – Nuthin’ But A G Thing (Dre En Cumbia)
Brassroots – Good Life
Cassius – Toop Toop
Calvin Harris – Vegas
Foster The People – Don’t Stop (TheFatRat Remix)
Imagine Dragons – It’s Time (Famties Remix)
Nervo Feat. Afrojack & Steve Aoki – We’re All No One
The Velvet Underground – Rock & Roll (Gigamesh Edit)
Theophilus London – I Stand Alone (Gigamesh Moonlight Remix)
Santigold – Disparate Youth
Fleetwood Mac vs. Massive Attack – Rihannon vs. Teardrop (Brat Mashup)
Capital Cities – Nothing Compares 2 U (Prince Cover)

If you like what you hear, then like The Playlist Generation and stay in touch to gain access to more taste-making tunes and sonic insights.