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.
In case you’ve been asleep or avoiding the Internet since 12 a.m. EST, I have some big news for you: Beyonce released a self-titled, 14-song, 17-video “visual album.” With the killer combination of the surprise factor, the videos, and the features, Beyonce managed to elicit a sensory overload. It’s Beyond-ce. Within seconds (in the middle of the night!), she regained the 2013 throne. In honor of the reign of Queen Bey, this week the playlist is featuring three of our favorite tracks from the new album.
Song: It’s been a rough morning trying to choose just three songs, but the first has to be “Mine”—after all, it features our favorite Jewish rapper, Drake. Ever wonder what it would sound like if Beyonce sang on a Drake song? Now you know.
Moment: As with most Drake songs, this one isn’t necessarily the cheeriest. It might not have a spot at the very bar or bat mitzvah, but it’s perfect to play right before or right after the party. Plus, it’s never really a bad time to listen to a Beyonce and Drake song.
Song: Beyonce is already an inspiration to women and girls around the world, but with “Flawless” she enters the feminist discourse. The song starts with “Bow Down,” a track she dropped earlier this year. It’s a chopped-and-screwed Houston anthem, but soon turns into a feminist manifesto when she samples Nigerian MacArthur Genius Chimamanda Ngozi Adiche’s TEDx Talk, We Should All be Feminists: “We teach girls to shrink themselves, to make themselves smaller,” Adiche says. “We say to girls ‘you can have ambition, but not too much.’”
Moment: It’s about time we got something more empowering than “Girls Just Want to have Fun.” Turn it up, get all the girls on the dance floor and tell ‘em how it is.
Song: How could we not include a song featuring baby Blue herself? She comes on at the end of this very tropical ballad—Beyonce’s ode to her daughter—to say “Be-co-ye, mommy” and giggle a bit with her very smitten mother. It’s family first, after all.
Moment: This loving tune is perfect for the father-daughter dance.
Check out the rest of the Tablet playlists here.
Lauren Schwartzberg is an intern at Tablet Magazine.