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.
Arcade Fire, “Here Comes the Night Time”
Who: Formed in 2001, Arcade Fire is a rock band from Montreal, Canada. It consists of about seven members, with husband and wife team Win Butler and Regine Chassagne at the helm. In 2011 they won the Grammy for Album of the year and are the only musical act to have one their first and only Grammy in that category. Most recently they released their fourth full-length album, Reflektor.
Song: “Here Comes the Night Time” is a lush, cheerful hit with jumping guitar melodies and a piano hook that’ll have even grouchy music haters bopping along. It’s also a short film directed by Roman Coppola and staring Arcade Fire.
Moment: This one’s more of a pre-party joint. You’re in your room getting dressed, feeling the butterflies while thinking about the big day ahead. So you turn this on, close your eyes, and dance away the nerves.
Sky Ferreira, “You’re Not the One”
Who: Sky Ferreira was signed at the age of 15, five years ago. She was put on the major label shelf and ignored for her first few years on contract. Instead of singing, she modeled and acted, biding her time until last year when her song “Everything is Embarrassing” was named song of the year by New York. Now, she’s finally released her first full-length album, Night Time, My Time.
Song: It’s a dreamy pop dance song that shows why Ferriera is the go-to voice for smart loner girls who also like pop music. After a long time waiting around, Ferreira is wasting no time making sure people start listening, now.
Moment: It’s your party and the guy you want to dance with just won’t look your way. It doesn’t matter though, this song comes on, you have your friends and he’s not the one anyway.
The Robert Glasper Experiment, “Let It Ride”
Who: After winning the Grammy for best R&B album for Black Radio, Robert Glasper jumps back with a sequel, Black Radio 2. He’s a jazz and neo-soul powerhouse, but refuses to be categorized. Listen and you’ll understand why. His new album features Common, Emeli Sande, Norah Jones and Jill Scott among others.
The Song: On this smooth track with a quick percussive beat, Norah Jones takes us on her love story as Glasper plays the piano.
The Moment: The party’s over and you’re home winding down, but you just can’t go to sleep yet. Put this on the stereo system, let the memories of the evening flow and just let it ride.
Check out the rest of the Tablet playlists here.
Lauren Schwartzberg is an intern at Tablet Magazine.