If you’ve ever owned an iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad, iPad Air, iPad Mini, HomePod or its newest sibling, the HomePod Mini, you’ll be well versed on Apple Music, the Cupertino giant’s built-in answer to music streaming services such as Spotify and Tidal. And it’s not just for iOS users, Apple Music is available on Android too. Integration can now be found in a range of kit, including Samsung smart TVs, Google Assistant smart speakers and Amazon Echo devices – including the popular Echo Dot.
With Apple Music clearly expanding into non-Apple branded kit, it’s increasingly easy to access and really rather likeable. But what should you listen to?
Answer: one of these great Apple Music playlists. Whether you want to push through that last kilometre to beat your 5K time on your daily run, focus the mind while working from home or calm yourself before some shut-eye, playlists are a great option. They’re also great for finding new tracks you might otherwise never stumble upon – tunes which can be added to your heavy-rotation and thereby help Apple Music to offer more. Win-win.
Many of us are still working from home or at least finding time to discover new music, so we’ve compiled our pick of the best Apple Music playlists. Stick one on and kick back – or grab your coffee and settle in for the day shift. Above all, enjoy.
Nigerian producer Rexxie’s Afrobeats anthem KPK – an acronym for the Yoruba phrase “Ko Por Ke” or “Who says it’s not plenty?” is a clear push back against his critics, his way of saying (in his own words), “‘Yo boy! You’ve come a long way, you’re doing great, and you’ll do greater ‘cause it’s plenty!’” It’s message we could all use in these trying times, but alongside the Nigerian star’s standout single you’ll get the latest and greatest songs from this musically plentiful and diverse continent, including hip-hop, highlife, Afrobeats, alté, house, Afrobongo or kuduro. Go on and dance around the living room.
Top 100 Global
Does exactly what it says on the sleeve. And you’ll never get stuck in a musical rut because it’s updated every single day. If you want a global musical hug on any given day, all the top tracks are here. When we listened, our mix included Doja Cat, Cardi B, Morgan Wallen, Dua Lipa, Travis Scott, YOASOBI, Kehlani and Lewis Capaldi, but when you hit play, all we can guarantee is that you’ll get the most popular tracks across the globe.
“As the agenda moves on, so does the playlist”, Apple surmises of this updated-weekly curation, featuring some of the best contemporary rap, grime and hip-hop. Expect anthemic, no-holds-barred tracks from Fredo, Central Cee, Aitch, Drake, Tion Wayne and Stormzy, interspersed with soulful vocal stylings from Ling Hussle and Lil Mosey. A definitive, often raw, powerful listen.
Home Office DJ
Your office environment is probably much changed. In fact, it may well still be your home – with all of the challenges that such an arrangement incurs. That’s why this uptempo and easy-going playlist is the one. Let it step in if you’re currently going without your regular office DJ; it’ll bring you the best in recent pop, R&B, hip-hop, dance and more – thus allowing you to focus on the task at hand. Can you think of anything more likely to see everyone through a productive working day? Neither can we.
Trance & Progressive
Whether you want to feel bathed in sunlight on a blissful morning or cocooned in dark, juicy beats sometime after midnight, this progressive house and trance playlist is ideal for your headphones. Expect hypnotic beats and chest-hitting chord progressions from breakthrough artists (Farius, Kidnap) and old favourites (Armin Van Buuren, Azotti, deadmau5) alike: music to set a troubled mind free after a tough day.
Hosting a Zoom party? Having a (very) exclusive, ‘support bubble’ night at yours? You’ve just found the playlist. It’s regularly updated by Apple Music editors and features a good dollop of R&B, plenty of hip-hop and 100% stone cold bangers. It’s the kind of playlist that’ll have your guest quietly pulling out their phone to launch Shazam and discover what song you’re playing.
If you’re finding it tough to switch off right now (or lockdown’s seen you develop an irritating case of insomnia), do yourself a favour and let these ambient, unrushed, expansive tracks wash over you before bed. It’ll help your brain stop whirring. All of them are specifically picked to steadily aid deep relaxation at a time when you need it most: right before you hit the sack. Stick it on and close your eyes – you’ll be glad you did.
Heart-thumping tracks that might not scream ‘running playlist’ at first glance, but they surely do the trick. Think alt-J, Tame Impala, HAIM, Bombay Bicycle Club and Foals. Unconventional classics (A-Punk by Vampire Weekend, Franz Ferdinand’s Take Me Out) feature alongside new alternative upbeat offerings (Sports! by Dream Wife and A Hero’s Death, Fontaines D.C.) in this regularly-updated playlist that’s all just slightly left of the mainstream dial.
Pure Garage Classics
Because there’s nothing like a 4/4 breakbeat rhythm with a syncopated hi-hat to spark a 90s memory. This Apple Music curation is actually presented by legendary pop institution, Smash Hits, and it shines a light on the UK garage tunes you (probably) once lived for. Indulge in a spot of nostalgia and nod along to thumping tracks you haven’t heard in ages, including DJ Luck and MC Neat’s A Little Bit of Luck, Imagine by Shola Ama and of course, 21 Seconds from So Solid Crew.
Some of the highest-grossing singles of the past decade have enlisted the services of producers (some of whom ultimately became more famous than the acts themselves) to layer, perfect and shape a relatively simple song into a sure-fire stonking commercial hit. This playlist does not feature any of those. Here, you’ll get an acoustic guitar and a voice, possibly some keys – maybe a drum kit. Think Cobi’s Don’t Stop or Wasting Time by Billy Lockett, Dermot Kennedy’s Outnumbered and Olivia Dean’s Echo.
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