In our years of DJ-ing events, we’ve noticed there are certain songs that you would never dance to when sober at an event, but, given a few hours and a few (or more than a few) drinks later, these same songs – some completely embarrassing, some genuinely good – from a variety of genres become almost orgasmic. Here is a sampling of some of the best:
Lynryd Skynryd, "Sweet Home Alabama" – If played early on in an event, this southern rock classic might result in some head bobbing, or maybe some half-hearted air guitar for a few moments. But when that crunchy lead-off guitar riff comes on much later, it results in all kinds of joy, from cheers to bouncing up and down, from sultry slow dances to extended, note-for-note air guitar (and even sometimes air drum) solos.
House of Pain, "Jump Around" – Before having any drinks, or even after having two, this hip-hop song from the early ‘90s is nothing but a loud, coarse, smirk-inducing jock jam. But after several drinks, the sampled screeches, the terse rhymes, and the barked chorus all begin to make sense, creating a sublime harmony of testosterone-laced celebration that gets everyone (even, at times, grown women) raising their arms and punching the air in perfect frat boy-style.
Neil Diamond, "Sweet Caroline" – It’s no surprise that those who remember this song when it was released in the late ’60s will, after several drinks, dance enthusiastically to it out of nostalgia, but what’s surprising is how, after a few of their import beers or obscure cocktails, even young detached hipsters – born long after the song came out – will unironically shout “so good! so good!” during all the right moments of the chorus.
James, "Laid" - This playful, folk-tinged song is one of the few early ’90s cult alternative radio tunes that has aged really well on the dancefloor, provided people have a few drinks in them. What’s impressive is that the song wasn’t even that big of a hit at the time of its release, but it continues to inspire communal dancing silliness from those who remember it, and even from those who are too young to remember it. This could be because a cover version of the song was later featured in one of the American Pie movie soundtracks, or also because of the sexually risque subject matter, which, of course, makes not just songs, but anything more memorable.
Bon Jovi, "Livin’ on a Prayer" – If you loved hair metal in the ‘80s (and a lot of you did, admit it), or if you are under 40 and from New Jersey, I truly think that it is impossible for you not to dance to this song after several drinks. If you loved hair metal AND are from
Simon & Garfunkel, "Cecilia" – If you know this song, you know it concerns a woman breaking the singer’s heart and shaking his confidence, baby. But when people at events have left sobriety behind, this wispy little folk song often creates a surprisingly intense sing-a-long reaction, and suddenly becomes less about a broken heart and more about broken wine glasses, and less about shaking confidence, baby than shaking it on the dance floor, baby.
Sir Mix-a-Lot, "Baby Got Back" – For anyone into hip-hop in the early ‘90s, after 5.5 light beers, Sir Mix a Lot’s ode to women with larger bottoms seems not just fun nostalgia, but one of the most noble and overdue calls for female bodily respect in history. It’s no wonder this rapper is knighted.