Hearing a song that was popular during your bar or bat mitzvah season is like traveling back in time. The first few notes creep in and you’re transported into a temple auditorium filled with sweaty 12- and 13-year-olds, the rainbow strobe lights flashing and party motivators directing your arm movements—high, middle, low, repeat—usually to a song like Kool & The Gang’s “Celebration.” But with age comes understanding: there’s actually more to play at a bar mitzvah or wedding than number one hits from the 1980s. Our newest Friday feature finds those songs for you, condensing each week’s new music into a short list of guaranteed party hits, plus a suggested time during the party to play each of the songs. There’s never been an easier way to ensure you’ll look hip at your cousin’s nephew’s wedding next month.
M.I.A., “Bring The Noize”
Who: M.I.A is a Sri Lanken-English Singer, songwriter, artist (she makes all her own album artwork) and designer. She has a four-year-old child with Edgar Bronfman Jr.’s son, Benjamin, her former fiancee. Her sound is eclectic, inspired by her experiences growing up as an ethnic minority in Sri Lanka, and many of her songs take on the voice of protest. Her fourth album, Matangi, came out this Tuesday. One song was written with the help of Julian Assange.
Song: The intricate, bright video for “Bring The Noize” came out in June, though the song itself was just released on Mantangi. M.I.A is known to be political and in this song she repeats the words “Free them” over and over again. With a pulsing beat, feverish drums, and electronic accents, she demands that you listen.
Moment: Make your entrance to the middle of the dance floor with this song playing in the background.
Who: The real Slim Shady is back with a sequel to his 2000 album, The Marshall Mathers LP. In 2011, Rolling Stone named the Detroit-born and bred rapper the “King of Hip-Hop,” so you should probably check this one out.
Song: Produced by production master Rick Rubin, Bezerk is a 1980s rock-rap throwback and a party anthem.
Moment: This is a straight up pump-up jam, so press play when things are starting to get too mellow and you want everyone to throw their hands up and let loose.
Connan Mockasin, “I’m the Man, That Will Find You”
Who: Connan Mockasin is nothing like M.I.A or Eminem. He’s a well-known singer from New Zealand, finally releasing his first album in the Unites States. Mockasin came up with the album title Caramel before he made any of the music, and all of his sounds are inspired by that one word.
Song: “I’m the Man, That Will Find You” features Mockasin’s silky smooth voice crooning his heart out. It’s lush, simple and slick—just like caramel.
Moment: Bar Mitzvah boys, put this one and shimmy up to that crush of yours. You’re a man now, so sing it like it is.
Check out the rest of the Tablet playlists here.
Lauren Schwartzberg is an intern at Tablet Magazine.