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 #1 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, it’s new hits from old favorites.
TLC, “Meant to Be”
Who: TLC, The number one selling American girl group of all time transformed music and style in the 1990s with their infatuating mix of R&B, pop and rap. People are still singing “No Scrubs” out their car windows. This week they released 20, an album of greatest hits. Look out for their original movie, CrazySexyCool: The TLC Story premiering Monday on VH1.
The Song: The only new song on an album of classics, “Meant to Be,” written by Ne-Yo, is a ballad bringing us back to when the smooth beats and water-themed lyrics from “Waterfalls” ruled the radio waves.
The Moment: The last song of the event. Everything’s winding down, most of the peripheral guests have already left, so you go to the middle of the dance floor and just sway. Remembering the perfect night that was always meant to be.
Paul McCartney, “Appreciate”
Who: The legend releases his first album in six years, New, and everyone obsesses with the Beatles all over again.
The Song: McCartney slips into some experimental, dreamy psych-rock. His voice echoes through the fuzz and electric guitar, gently urging listeners to appreciate—something.
The Moment: Who needs a speech full of thank you clichés when you can just play Paul McCartney to your parents?
The Avett Brothers, “Open Ended Life”
Who: While not necessarily old, these brothers have been around the block. Scott and Seth Avett have been playing together since childhood, and the full band formed in 2000. Released this week, Mapgie and the Dandelion is their eighth full-length album.
The Song: The Avett Brothers played “Open Ended Life” during live show as early as 2010, but it just made it onto an official album. The song is classic Avett—a rocking opener with an emotional bluesy harmonica and a fiddle solo. Never enough harmonica!
The Moment: Everyone gather around, it’s montage time!
Check out the rest of the Tablet playlists here.
Lauren Schwartzberg is an intern at Tablet Magazine.