Yesterday I DJ’ed at Dance Dance Party Party. What’s Dance Dance Party Party? Read my writeup about it here. I’ve been sick and crappy for about a week now, so the chance to get into a dark room and sweat out the germs with an hour of booty-shaking was really necessary. I was happy that apparently my playlist went over well with the ladies in attendance. For those of you who like to shake it, here are the songs I chose, and why. If DJ'ing a dance party sounds good to you (and you're a woman), check out the "DJ You" tab on the DDPP page and sign up!
You always start off your playlist with a warmup song, just something that gets people moving a little bit. The first dance of DDPP always feels a little bit awkward, since people are still getting into it, so you don’t want to blow your wad on something really big or loud or fast. I like this B-52’s song for having a good beat and bass but being mellow at the same time:
“I Wanna Dance With Somebody” Whitney Houston
I was out to dinner on Saturday night and on the way home got a text from my friend Meghan saying, “You better work some Whitney Houston into your DDPP playlist.” “Uh oh, why?” I asked, and then found out. Poor Whitney. This is probably her most dance-able song, one that used to break my heart a little bit even before she died just because it’s so youthful and optimistic and will always take me back to being eight years old and watching the video and wanting to wear everything she was wearing (especially the red and black skirt). No surprise, this was a big hit when it started playing. Also, when I added this song I had to take one off the playlist, and ended up removing a really dumb Enrique Iglesias/Pitbull song, which I think was the right choice.
“Get Up Offa That Thing” James Brown
A long long time ago I was dining at Ed Debevic’s and this song started playing. The waitstaff jumped up on the counter and started doing a line/step dance to it that will remain, in my head, one of the coolest live performances I’ve ever seen in my life. I love how authoritative Brown is in this song: he’s ordering you to try to release that pressure.
“Ooh La La” Goldfrapp
I think this is one of those kind of songs women secretly imagine they would perform burlesque to, if they did such thing. I love it as a nasty-sounding homage to T. Rex.
“Your Imagination” Hall & Oates
Here is what I love about Hall & Oates: I was talking about them with a black friend of mine, who said “White people like Hall & Oates?” to which I said, “Black people like Hall & Oates?” Everyone can get down with Hall & Oates. I wanted to bring the tempo down a little bit with this one. Also, I love the bass line.
“Viva Las Vegas” Elvis Presley
This was just a silly little two-minute palate cleanser. I like dancing frantically to it.
“Body Movin” Beastie Boys
I don’t have too much to say about this choice. It’s silly and fun like most good Beastie Boys songs. I wish I could find a Youtube clip of the actual album version of the song but the MCA-directed video of the Fatboy Slim remix is always enjoyable.
“Hot n Cold” Katy Perry
Another easy dance choice. I like pointing at random things/people during the “You!” shouts in the chorus.
“Memories” David Guetta (feat. Kid Cudi)
I’m obsessed with this song at the moment for some reason, maybe because it sounds like the fever dreams I had last week while I was sick. I just like how dark and relentless it is, plus the synthesizer sample reminds me of “Right Here, Right Now” by Fatboy Slim, which takes me back to college and just makes me want to dance more.
“Big and Bad” Kid Sister
This is a fun, silly song that I enjoy pretending I can rap to. I first heard it when I saw the video, and sometimes I wonder if I would like the song as much if it weren’t for the video, which to me is basically an homage to Chicago in the summertime, featuring one of my favorite dining establishments (Superdawg). I also like how the video shows all major Chicago sports team logos except the Cubs. The ladies in the room worked it out to this and shouted along to the “Ay!” in the chorus .
“Spirit in the Sky” Norman Greenbaum
I threw this in to bring down the temperature/heartbeat a little bit. I’d like to think we all had a religious moment to this song.
“The Girl and the Robot” Röyksopp feat. Robyn
When this came on I wasn’t sure if I made the right choice with it. It’s a little operatic and dramatic for dancing, but that’s also what I like about it, so I just closed my eyes and channeled Robyn, whom I adore.
“Let’s Twist Again” Chubby Checker
Of course we all know this song, but it was thrown back into my consciousness last year after Billy Eichner (whose show “Billy on the Street” is so silly and makes me laugh a lot) did a funny bit on Julie Klausner’s podcast about how mad he is at Chubby Checker for coming on his workout playlist all the time and exhorting him to twist again. Anyway, Billy did some reverse psychology on me and I ended up adding that song to my workout playlist, and it always makes me happy. We had fun doing the shout-alongs to it.
“Fire (Yes, Yes Y’all)” Joe Budden feat. Busta Rhymes
I actually added this song to my workout mix after putting out a call for workout songs. It’s fun to yell “There’s some hos in this house” to a room full of women. It’s great if you like doing soul claps (and who doesn’t?)
“Rock DJ” Robbie Williams
Robbie Williams entered my consciousness sophomore year of college when MTV2 seemed to play his James-Bond inspired song “Millennium” every hour. “Rock DJ” is immensely fun, has great call-and-response and makes me want to dance as cockily as Robbie does in the video (before he takes off his skin, which is gross.)
“Mean Woman Blues” Roy Orbison
This is an awesome little song from Roy (written by Claude Demetrius) that has three parts to it that I really love: the guitar solo, the backup singers and the loud part at the end. Also, when I was a little kid, my mom made a t-shirt for me that said “Mean Woman” on it so I like pretending that this song is about me.
“Rock n’ Roll, Part II” Gary Glitter
I can’t hear this song and not be 15, at a Bulls game, watching the Luv-A-Bulls skip out triumphantly during a time out the other team called desperately trying to squash a Michael-Jordan-led hot streak. We all yelled along to it.
“I Can’t Go for That” Hall & Oates
This was the cooldown song. Although can you truly cool down to something so latently hot?