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.
This week, we’re falling in love to dance music.
DJ Rashad, “Let U Know”
Who: Footwork is a Chicago-born dance and music genre invented by DJs and dancers on Chicago’s South Side. Known for its frenetic, pulsating, footwork levels off at around 160 beats per minute (for context, even the fastest techno songs only make it to 140bpm). DJ Rashad is the number one footwork DJ in Chicago.
Song: Off Rashad’s newest album Double Cup, “Let U Know” is the fastest paced love song you’ve ever heard. Light, ethereal chords float over the breakneck beat as the singer croons, “There is only one,” bringing R&B’s smooth sound to the frenzied world of footwork.
Moment: This one might be best played at cousin Shira’s wedding. Either way it’s for two inseparable lovers to attempt to stare into each other’s eyes as they dance like the 2013 version of Saturday Night Fever.
Ryan Hemsworth, “One For Me”
Who: Ryan Hemsworth is an up-and-coming Canadian producer who seamlessly mixes R&B, dance and hip-hop into beautifully packaged three-minute dance tracks. “One for Me,” is off his debut album Guilt Trips. (He is also very funny on Twitter.)
Song: Hemsworth is all about setting the right mood. With a little help from Tinashe’s heart melting falsetto, Hemsworth’s laid-back syrupy beats becomes an aching love song. This is that rare raw emotion on a dance track.
Moment: Grab that dream girl and slow dance to some smooth electronic beats.
Machinedrum, “Center Your Love”
Who: Travis Stewart, aka Machinedrum, is an electronic producer originally from North Carolina. He’s been making music for a while now, coming out with solo and collaborative albums since 2001, and he even made a song for the Natalie Portman flick Black Swan. His interests on Facebook include “Connecting the sun father with the earth mother through the octahedron of love.”
Song: “Center Your Love” is off Machinedrum’s latest solo album, Vapor City, which he says is a “Series of songs inspired by a dream city—each song representing a different district.” “Center Your Love” sounds like falling in love with a new place.
Moment: It’s after the Torah portion and everyone walks into the banquet hall. First they see the food, the flowers, the DJ. The space transforms into a new world of celebration.
Check out the rest of the Tablet playlists here.
Lauren Schwartzberg is an intern at Tablet Magazine.