Party Time! Excellent! : A Top Five List of Essential Party Songs

6 Jul

So, it’s Friday night. You’re throwing the party of the year (or month, or day) at your place. You’ve bought yourself a new outfit (totally rockin’ those skinny jeans and Williamsburg-esque beanie), you’ve picked out the drinks (Pabst Blue Ribbon, what else?) and you’ve even rented a VCR from a quaint little vintage store (hey, it’s an idea). The only thing left is the bread and butter of your circle… the music. Whether or not your party will have its own hash-tag on Twitter will ride on this, you know it. You know that you can’t play the old stuff: MIA, CSS and Ratatat are a tad too trite for your taste. You also know that you can’t (God forbid) play Usher or Pitbull or LMFAO. What to do? Lucky for you, we’ve picked out five new songs that’ll get you dancing more than just the Shoegaze Shuffle.

5. “We Are Young”, by Fun.

Used in everything from a Chevrolet ad to WWE background music (!), American indie rock band Fun.’s “We Are Young” has officially broken into the mainstream, in a manner as grand as the song itself. Dramatic, marching-band drums unfold a feeble apology for the violence in a previous relationship (“I know I gave it you months ago/I know you’re trying to forget”).But, suddenly, the verse closes, the drums slow way down, and the song goes from an apologetic Bishop Allen to My Chemical Romance at a New York bar. And I’m not just talking about the video.

A slow jam/power ballad is hardly the type of music to suggest for a party soundtrack, and you might just sneer away this article at this point. But just wait until “We Are Young” hits the chorus (“Tonight, we are young/ So let’s set the world on fire, we can grow brighter than the Sun.”). Listen to how each syllable there is repeatedly enunciated and stretched and dramatized until your life somehow achieves melodramatic, Hollywood-tinted sunglasses, and you know why this song is such a cross-over hit. A better way to put it is this: everyone at your party will feel like they’re on the Gossip Girl season finale, full of drama and exhilaration and the heady rush of youth, and if that isn’t a formula for a great party, I don’t know what is.

Sidebar: We do have one bone to pick about this song. Janelle Monae possesses a divine voice that needs to be showcased (if at least for a verse), not delegated to mere backing vocals on the chorus. Ah well.


4. The House That Heaven Built, by Japandroids

You’re twenty years old: listless, restless and reckless to boot. You spend your days drinking, partying and falling in and out of lust. One such night, drunk on God-knows-what, all inhibition thrown out the window, you and your best friend find yourselves a guitar and a drum kit, and just decide to jam the buzz away, singing about drinking, partying and falling in and out of lust. If you’re thinking this is a good idea, it is: Japandroids did exactly this.

Their first album was aptly called Post-Nothing, which makes sense because the band isn’t post-rock, post-punk or whatever else. Japandroids make the kind of candid music that would require quite a bit of inebriation: and in that state, coming up with a genre for your sound would be impossibly contrived. Their second album is called Celebration Rock, and this is even more apt, for the eight songs here are just that: a celebration of rock, in all its original sex-and-drugs-and-rock-and-roll nature, before certain artists ruined it with all that hair and ego tripping.

“The House that Heaven Built” is a post-break up song (“But you’re not mine to die for anymore, so I must live”) and a lusty invitation (“We’ll shove our bodies in the heat of the night/ All day the day after, blood in the skies”), which are both interesting elements to throw into your party. But best of all, the Japandroids are insanely fun when you’re drunk, and few things are more important than that.

3. Night and Day, by Hot Chip

Hot Chip’s 2008 single “Ready for the Floor” introduced a wide audience to the UK band’s dark, clever synthpop, which makes our job easier: we don’t have to spend entire sentences convincing you to listen to their latest single! “Night and Day”, from their latest album In Our Heads, is a hybrid genre monster (electronic disco-synth dance music?) that articulates, from beginning to end, of burning lust. Hot Chip makes absolutely no bones about it. “The way I feel about you, baby, in the middle of the night/ there’s just one thing that I can do to make me feel alright,” hints Alexis Taylor; later, he loses even that much politesse: “If I could be inside you darling, at the center of your life/ I’d write no more upon the page, we’d live with no disguise,” he slyly suggests.

Hot Chip are masters of penning sexed-up versions of 60s pop songs about love. Besides, disco-derived electronica is always the perfect soundtrack for creating a ruckus. Listen to the first five seconds of this song, and you’ll know why we insist that this is an essential party song.

2. Idea of Happiness, by Van She

Electronic/pop band Van She’s record label introduced them as “new band from Sydney fresh on ideas, fresher than Flavor Flav, fresh like coriander, fresher than the Fresh Prince, fresher than fresh eggs,” and we think they’ve got it spot-on. Van She appear to be Gods of the synthesizer: they make those electronic beats pop, pound, march or roll over you, in a very seamless manner. “Idea of Happiness” is the title track and first single of their second album, which releases today. Through the haze of electronica, the track just yells one thing at you: “Screw it all, it’s summertime.” It’s like Junior Boys remixed a collaborative track by Hot Chip and Passion Pit in the Sydney summer. Or, to put it better, Van She’s “Idea of Happiness” is three things: Sydney, synthpop and summer. In fact, their entire album seems to be about those three things, and we suggest you give it a whirl after you’re done with this party. Or maybe during.

1. I Love It, by Icona Pop

Here’s what you need to know about Icona Pop: they’re Swedish, they’re “90s bitches”, they just got out of a relationship, and they are loving it. Like, seriously loving it. In fact, they’re so over you that they threw your stuff down the stairs and drove their own car off the bridge, and guess what? They don’t care. About anything. To put it into perspective, it’s like someone teleported ABBA into 2012, got them drunk, and made them party with Ke$ha. Believe it or not, that entire combination produced one of the best tracks of the year, period. LMFAO, look out.

So there you have it. Give  our playlist a spin at the nearest party. And tell us what you think!

– Neeharika

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One Response to “Party Time! Excellent! : A Top Five List of Essential Party Songs”

  1. Nikwin July 7, 2012 at 1:55 pm #

    Janelle Monae FTW.

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