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.
Britney Spears, “Chillin’ With You”
Who: Just 10 years ago there wasn’t much Britney couldn’t do. She was everyone’s favorite schoolgirl from the South, but after a broken marriage and a shaved head things started to go downhill for the pop icon. But Britney never lost her drive. Now she’s back with her fourth album post-hiatus, and she’s said Britney Jean is her most personal yet.
Song: Britney’s voice has grown significantly weaker over the years, but she’s still able to lure her audience in. Featuring none other than little sister Jamie Lynn Spears, Britney takes this song from acoustic guitar verses to a chorus full of electronic zips, reminding us who’s boss.
Moment: Call all your girlfriends up for the candle-lighting ceremony. It’s Britney, after all.
One Direction, “Story of My Life”
Who: Harry. Zayn. Louis. Niall. Liam. England’s biggest boy band since the Beatles.
Song: Last week’s Thanksgiving playlist meant I had to overlook the much-tweeted release of 1D’s latest blockbuster, Midnight Memories, so I had to leave room for a shout-out this week. With “Story of my Life” we get a slower rock-pop ballad with a lilting, heartwarming melody as the boys sing about love. It’s slightly reminiscent of Mumford & Sons’ folky sound, so I guess this is them maturing?
Moment: This song was literally made for a montage (I saw Harry tweeting about Kol Nidre and I refuse to believe he isn’t Jewish).
Teengirl Fantasy, “Eric”
Who: Since we’re highlighting teen dreams this week, I’d like to introduce you to a duo named Teengirl Fantasy. Nick Weiss and Logan Takahashi met at Oberlin College, bonded over a love of classic house and techno, and the rest was history. Now they create free-form electronic music full of colorful, maximalist textures.
Song: “Eric” is tingly and hits in all the right places. First your leg will shake, then your arms will wiggle, and once your shoulders start bouncing you’ll be lost in a beat that mixes drum and bass, jungle, and footwork seamlessly. It’s only three minutes long, but it feels like a full-on outer space fantasy.
Moment: For your space-themed bar mitzvah party, enter the void with Teengirl Fantasy. No one will know what hit ‘em.
Check out the rest of the Tablet playlists here.
Lauren Schwartzberg is an intern at Tablet Magazine.