Dance-party playlist: 100 greatest songs for an epic party
House party, BBQ, wedding party or just a bedroom disco, we have the party playlist you need to get the place moving.
20 "Gangnam Style" by Psy
The least likely runaway smash of all time? With a video now closing in on 2 billion views, Psy is without question a juggernaut-size quirk complete with his natty couture and pony-gallop signature dance. Still, he could hardly fail with this song’s thumping beat and “hey, sexy lady” refrain. Simply brilliant.—Steve Smith
19 "Groove Is in the Heart" by Deee-Lite
In this tale of the anything-is-possible East Village of the late ’80s, a trio of candy-colored club kids—Super DJ Dmitri, Lady Miss Kier and Towa Tei—decide to form a band. The threesome (with a little help from ringers Q-Tip, Maceo Parker and Bootsy Collins) come up with “Groove Is in the Heart,” a sweetly innocent percolator of a tune that, against all odds, becomes the worldwide club smash of 1990. True story!—Bruce Tantum
18 "Crazy in Love" by Beyoncé
From the funky-ass cowbell breakdown to the frenetic way the former Destiny’s Child frontwoman chants the phrase “craaazy right now” against the beat, Queen B’s first big solo hit is engineered to make the most inhibited listener lose their mind. And that’s before the song’s inspiration—famous beau Jay-Z—drops by for a white-hot verse about being “in the Range/crazy and deranged”; after that, resistance is simply futile.—David Fear
17 "Baby Got Back" by Sir Mix-a-Lot
Pure comedic genius isn’t exactly what comes to mind when thinking about early ’90s rap, but controversy sure is. Sir Mix-a-Lot’s love letter to round behinds was—to the Tipper Gore crowd—super sexual filth. But it’s a subversive, tongue-in-cheek send-up of the hip-hop lifestyle: a black man’s counterpart to Spinal Tap’s “Big Bottom.” It was even prescient: How many “serious” rap videos followed with tight shots of the bottom half of curvy ladies? Most have a favorite line from the cut, Mix-a-Lot’s euphemisms and analogies rolling off the line like the Barbies he laments. “Baby Got Back” was the second best-selling song of 1992. The No. 1 slot went to quite a different display of amorous intentions: Whitney Houston’s “I Will Always Love You.”—Colin St. John
16 "The Power" by Snap!
Everyone who Angela Merkel has loaned money to knows the song, but a look beneath the surface reveals awesomeness on another level. A German group with the album name World Power? Who uses an exclamation point in their moniker? “The Power” might be most famous as a snippet in service of jock jams, but the tune is a force: It’s a paranoid, rushing affair, anchored by the appropriately named American emcee Turbo B. His rhymes only take the silver when compared to Jackie Harris’s cries of “I’ve got the power!” Nostalgic, yes, but still alive enough to get the crowd ultra-pumped. Oh snap!—Colin St. John
15 "Pump Up the Jam" by Technotronic
Incessant use of the word booty, a driven four-on-the–floor drumbeat and a psychedelic music video featuring divas in neon spandex suits spinning like propellers. It’s no wonder “Pump Up the Jam” became a massive hit in 1989, pretty much kick-starting the mainstream hip-house movement. Who could resist those insouciant vocals (supposedly uttered by Congolese model Felly Kilingi), littered with slang phrases that you haven’t heard in at least 15 years? Also note: Pump up the jam became a slang term for masturbation in Flemish. The more you know, people.—Derek Schwartz
14 "U Can't Touch This" by MC Hammer
If you want to turn your ego-boosting novelty tune into a dance-floor sensation, you can do far worse than to start with an already-proven funk smash like Rick James’s “Super Freak” as your backing track like Stanley Kirk Burrell did. The official video seals the deal: Even Hammer’s baggy trousers scream confidence.—Steve Smith
13 "Ice Ice Baby" by Vanilla Ice
Among life’s greatest pleasures: food, sex, sunshine… and rapping along to Vanilla Ice’s 1989 mega-smash “Ice Ice Baby.” Because oh, those couplets: “Quick to the point / To the point no fakin’ / Cookin’ MCs like a pound of bacon…” Sure, it’s easy to mock Vanilla Ice, especially the Miami MC’s wildly enthusiastic running-man moves and implausible real name (Robert Van Winkle). But to this day, there’s something magical about the combination of that Queen sample (from “Under Pressure”), those silly rhymes and that big ol’ bassline. Last word has to go to Ice: “Yo man, let’s get out of here. Word to your mother.”—Sophie Harris
12 "Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go" by Wham!
Some parties are cool. Some have gimmicks. Some mark a special occasion. But the very best parties have a feeling of unbridled joy to them, and this 1984 hit from Wham! is a 100% proof distillation of the smiley stuff. It is, of course, utterly ridiculous, from the opening “Jitterbug!” intro, to George Michael’s white trousers and “Choose Life” T-shirt combo in the video. But sweet Lord, those high notes, the slap bass and that brass breakdown! Too good.—Sophie Harris
11 "Crazy" by Gnarls Barkley
Not exactly a one-hit wonder, since vocalist Cee Lo Green and producer Danger Mouse have no few achievements to their names individually…. Still, Green’s soaring, gospel-soaked pipes and Mouse’s silky strings combine on this 2006 worldwide smash to irresistibly kinetic effect.—Steve Smith