songs

  • How Do You Decide What Songs to Play?

    One question a lot of potential clients ask us is how we decide what songs to play. It's a very valid question, as music selection is one of the most important roles a DJ plays--especially when it comes time for dancing. We don't have any hard or fast rules on when or how we'll play specific songs, but we have developed some degree of strategy.

    Wedding Song Selection Strategy
    • During cocktail hour and dinner we focus on playing upbeat, classy background music. We want people to be tapping their toes--not falling asleep as they are bored to death by "Elevator Music Hits Vol 3" or a Kenny G album on repeat. We give our clients the opportunity to provide some input into what they want, but in general we do a lot of big band and crooners (such as Glenn Miller, Ella Fitzgerald, and Frank Sinatra) as well as more modern artists with an upbeat but laid-back style (Jack Johnson, John Mayer, Norah Jones, and Harry Connick, Jr.)
    • When the dance starts we normally start with older music at the beginning and work toward newer. Often older guests won't stay for the entire reception so they appreciate hearing a few songs from their era earlier--whereas the younger generation often want another drink or two before they start dancing anyway.
    • Guest demographics--and what people are dancing to--play a large role in determining what we play at a wedding. If the majority of guests are 20-25, we're probably not going to play a bunch of Patsy Cline--and will likely get into newer music fairly early in the evening. Likewise, if almost everyone is 40+, we aren't going to play Lil Wayne or T.I. unless it's specifically requested.
    • When a song gets people on the floor, we try to play a few more of a similar style. If something isn't working, the next song will likely be a different musical genre.
    • Slow songs are inserted every few songs to give guests a chance to catch their breath, and to break up sets of dance music. With picky crowds (which is to say not many people are dancing, or guests will come out for one song then immediately leave the floor) we often play shorter dance music sets with more slow songs.
    Prom/Homecoming/School Dance/College Party Song Selection Strategy
    • Typically for these types of events we work off a more limited playlist--which is to say songs that are popular now, songs that were recently popular AND are good dance tunes, and what we refer to as "Party Classics". Party classics refers to older songs that pretty much everyone who listens to music will recognize--songs like You Shook Me All Night Long by AC/DC, Love Shack by B-52s, Cotton Eye Joe, Hey Ya by Outkast, etc.
    • For schools we focus much more on song transitions and building energy through each set, using beatmixing whenever possible to seamlessly blend from one song into another.
    • Much like our dinner music strategy for weddings, we try to keep things upbeat. As much as possible, we play uptempo pop and dance music. We try to find dance remixes of popular rap songs. After all, it's called a dance--not a "grind".
    • Again, we use periodic slow songs to break up our sets of dance music--typically for most school dances the dance sets will be longer and there will be fewer slow songs than at a wedding, but it all depends on the flow of the night and what people are dancing to.
    A Word Regarding Requests...
    • In almost all cases we accept--and encourage--student/guest requests during the event.
    • The order we receive requests is not the order we play them. We treat requests as suggestions and try to integrate them into our sets where it makes sense--but we're not going to kill a packed dance floor with an obscure '70s pop song just because one person wants to hear it NOW.
    • We do not have a song book or list for people to look at--we think song ideas that come from memory are more likely to be playable. The common scenario is that someone looking at a song book sees a song and says "I haven't heard that in FOREVER--let's request that." In many cases there's a reason they haven't heard it in forever--because it's not well known, or isn't a very good dance song.
    • If someone wants to make a request but doesn't know exactly what they want, we will work with them to find something from their desired artist, era, or style by suggesting something that we think will go over well based on past experience.
    The Trump Card
    • In all cases, the wishes of the client--whether that be the bride and groom or a school--take precedence over anything else. It is ultimately your event, and you have the final say in what is and isn't to be played.
    • If something is on the Do Not Play list, we won't play it unless it's cleared with you first--even if it's requested.
  • Top 10 Dance Songs of 2011

    With 2012 now upon us, it seems like a good time to look back at what newer music has been filling our dance floors this past year--for wedding receptions as well as school dances and college events. This isn't a list of the best songs of 2011, as we aren't in the business of being music critics (we're in the business of throwing great parties). These are 10 really fun, high energy songs that get us dancing behind the DJ booth every time!

    10. Pumped Up Kicks (Skeet Skeet Remix) - Foster The People Really didn't like this song when it came out, but it grew on me--especially this particular remix version.

    9. Honey Bee - Blake Shelton We're in Iowa, so a little bit of country is mandatory--this is one my favorites of the year.

    8. Give Me Everything - Pitbull featuring Ne-Yo This starts out a little bit weak in terms of dance-ability, but once it builds to the beat it's hard not to start dancing--a great party song!

    7. Moves Like Jagger - Maroon 5 featuring Christina Aguilera Good song--just wish the video didn't feature so much nude colored spandex so I could play it at school dances with our big screen video system.

    6. Last Friday (T.G.I.F) - Katy Perry Call this one a guilty pleasure... hard not to sing along.

    5. Tonight Tonight (Andrew Goldstein Remix) - Hot Chelle Rae This is a song that I really liked when I first heard it, but felt it was a little bit weird to dance to. This remix version fixes that, without ruining the feel of the song like some remixes do.

    4. Country Girl (Shake it For Me) - Luke Bryan Best country dance song since "Save A Horse, Ride A Cowboy"? That's a pretty bold statement, but I'd say it might be at least debatable. Gets me tapping my toes every time!

    3. Tonight (I'm Lovin' You) - Enrique Iglesias featuring Ludacris This one came out earlier in the year so it's somewhat less popular now... but it's hard to argue with a great dance beat + Ludacris.

    2. Where Them Girls At - David Guetta featuring Nicki Minaj & Flo Rida Another big dance beat with super-catchy vocals over the top--really sort of underrated IMO.

    1. Party Rock Anthem - LMFAO If you hung out with me at all this year, you probably had this one figured out from the beginning. I knew this one was going to be big when I first heard it... I know I forced more than a few people to listen to it if they hadn't heard it yet, and it was high in the rotation to get played at practically every event I DJed. Though it's getting to the point of being a bit overplayed now, it's still far and away the best new dance song of the year.

    Sidenote: I've been a Seattle Mariner's fan for years, and one "Party Rock" hilight for me this year included seeing the grounds crew at Safeco Field drop their rakes and do the dance around 2nd base during the 7th inning stretch! Totally random and totally awesome!

    Agree? Disagree? Agree to disagree? Comment and let me know what your top 10 are!

  • Top 10 Dance Songs of 2012

    Continuing the tradition we started last year, here are 10 of our favorite dance songs from 2012. Not intended to be a qualitative musical assessment, this list is strictly based on danceability, crowd response, and likelihood that we are singing along and tapping our toes in the DJ booth!

    New this year are YouTube links to all songs to make it easier for you to check out the ones you don't know. However, please note that while everything in our music library is radio-edited (and we further screen for content when necessary), some of these links are not.

    10.Levels- Avicii The purest dance song on this list, this is most famous for being sampled extensively in "Good Feeling" by Flo Rida. I'm partial to the original--hearing it makes me want to crack open a tube of glow sticks. Watch video on YouTube

    9.Young, Wild, and Free - Wiz Khalifa feat. Snoop Dogg & Bruno Mars My vote for "Killer Groove" of the year. This would be a lot higher if not for blatant drug references that prevent us from playing it at school events. Watch video on YouTube

    8.Good Girl - Carrie Underwood There was quite a bit of good country that came out this year, but as far as fast "party" country, this was the standout. Watch video on YouTube

    7. Blow Me (One Last Kiss) - Pink Nothing like a little bit of failed romance angst to get the party hopping! :) Watch video on YouTube

    6.Let's Go - Calvin Harris featuring Ne-Yo Not much specifically remarkable about this one--just a good dance party song. Watch video on YouTube

    5.Die Young - Ke$ha Super catchy and easy to sing along to: "Let's make the most of the night like we're gonna die young" Watch video on YouTube

    4. What Makes You Beautiful - One Direction Catchy, positive lyrics, high likelihood to make females scream and sing along. The Dave Aude remix is also pretty good in terms of spicing up the intro and other mellow parts without ruining the feel of the song. Watch video on YouTube

    3. Starships - Nicki Minaj I have not traditionally been a huge Nicki Minaj fan, but this one really grew on me. Watch video on YouTube

    2. Call Me Maybe - Carly Rae Jepsen Need a song to make every female from age 6 to 56 scream and run to the dance floor? This is probably your ticket. This garnered extra staying power thanks to the Harvard baseball team's famous video. Watch music video on YouTube

    1. Gangnam Style - Psy This seriously has all the makings of a great dance song rolled all into one: Fast tempo. Catchy. HILARIOUS video. No offensive lyrics (at least in English). And line dance moves. It will be interesting to see how it performs over the long term, but playing this song at both weddings and school dances this fall has gotten the most enthusiastic response of ANY song I can remember. Watch video on YouTube

    Did we miss your favorite song of 2012? Leave a comment on our facebook page and let us know!

  • Top 10 Dance Songs of 2013

    Keeping the tradition of the past couple years alive, here are 10 of our favorite dance songs from 2013. Note: This list is strictly based on danceability, crowd response we have seen at wedding receptions and school dances, and likelihood that we are singing along and tapping our toes in the DJ booth--you can judge musical merit for yoursef!

    In case you don't keep up on pop trends to know the songs by name, we've included links to YouTube videos for ease of hearing them for yourself. Please note that while everything in our music library is radio-edited (and we further screen for content when necessary), some of these links are not.

    10.The Monster - Eminem featuring Rihanna To be perfectly honest, I'm not a big fan of most rap music. However, I do respect Eminem as an artist--and Rihanna on the chorus helps elevate this to "anthem" status. Watch video on YouTube

    9.Boys 'Round Here - Blake Shelton featuring Pistol Annies The most popular party country song of the year from what I've seen. Perhaps someday I'll buy a set of camo overalls and be as cool as the DJ in the music video.Watch video on YouTube

    8.Wake Me Up - Avicii Personally one of my favorite songs of the year, this has also been massively popular on the homecoming dance circuit in the fall (and has probably gained notoriety since then). I'm also a fan of the Paul Mendez remix version with the right crowd. Watch video on YouTube or Watch Paul Mendez Remix

    7. Timber - Pitbull featuring Ke$ha Ke$ha really kinda scares me. But Pitbull is a master at making dance pop hits, and he did well with this one--the chorus is about as catchy as they come. Watch video on YouTube

    6.Radioactive (Grouplove & Captain Cuts Remix) - Imagine Dragons Radioactive was one of the most popular songs of 2013, however being a mid-tempo alternative song the original version isn't particularly easy to dance to. The Grouplove/Captain Cuts remix solves that issue while remaining fairly true to its origins. Watch video on YouTube

    5. Roar - Katy Perry Catchy with a high likelihood to make females in the general vicinity run screaming to the dance floor and sing along. Watch video on YouTube

    4.Cruise Remix - Florda Georgia Line featuring Nelly I actually really prefer the original (non-Nelly) version. However, the remix is what gets requested, and what we've seen go over better in most dance environments. This is also one of only a handful of songs that bridges the gap and appeals to both country and rap/urban fans... which can be hard demographics to keep happy simultaneously at a school dance. Watch video on YouTube

    3. Thrift Shop This is kinda cheating--because this song actually came out in the fall of 2012--but it didn't really gain major mainstream popularity until 2013 so we're going to roll with it. The versions we play are all squeakly clean, but YouTube doesn't seem to offer an edited version with the original music video, and the video is pretty entertaining if you haven't seen it. Watch video on YouTube

    2. I Love It - Icona Pop Big beats and a chorus that practically requires you to jump up and down and scream along to the lyrics--what's not to like? Watch music video on YouTube

    1. Blurred Lines - Robin Thicke featuring T.I. & Pharell Though the popularity has waned a little bit at this point (and I fear may have crosed the line of being overplayed) this was THE song of the summer. If you're a Puritan you probably shouldn't listen to the lyrics very closely... but the beat is sure catchy, and it showed on the dance floor (which at weddings would commonly feature middle-aged women rocking out along side 20-somethings). For further entertainment, I recommend checking out the Jimmy Kimmel version of the video. Watch video on YouTube

    Did we miss your favorite song of 2013? Leave a comment on our facebook page and let us know!

  • Top 10 Dance Songs of 2014

    Here are 10 of our favorite dance songs from 2014! Note: This list is strictly based on danceability, crowd response we have seen at wedding receptions and school dances, and likelihood that we are singing along and tapping our toes in the DJ booth--you can judge musical merit for yoursef!

    In case you don't keep up on pop trends to know the songs by name, we've included links to YouTube videos for ease of hearing them for yourself. Please note that while everything in our music library is radio-edited (and we further screen for content when necessary), some of these links are not.

    1. Shake It Off - Tyalor Swift Watch video on YouTube

    2. Fancy - Iggy Azalea featuring Charli XCX Watch video on YouTube

    3. Boom Clap - Charli XCX Watch video on YouTube

    4. All About That Bass - Meghan Trainor Watch video on YouTube

    5. Talk Dirty - Jason Derulo Watch video on YouTube

    6. Turn Down For What - DJ Snake featuring Lil Jon Watch video on YouTube

    7. Loyal - Chris Brown Watch video on YouTube

    8. Classic - MKTO Watch video on YouTube

    9. Stay With me - Sam Smith Watch music video on YouTube

    10. Don't - Ed Sheeran Watch video on YouTube

    Did we miss your favorite song of 2014? Leave a comment on our facebook page and let us know!

  • Top 10 Dance Songs of 2015

    Here are 10 of our favorite dance songs from 2015! Note: This list is strictly based on danceability, crowd response we have seen at wedding receptions and school dances, and likelihood that we are singing along and tapping our toes in the DJ booth--you can judge musical merit for yoursef!

    In case you don't keep up on pop trends to know the songs by name, we've included links to YouTube videos for ease of hearing them for yourself. Please note that while everything in our music library is radio-edited (and we further screen for content when necessary), some of these links are not.

    1. Uptown Funk - Mark Ronson featuring Bruno Mars Watch video on YouTube

    2. Cheerleader (Felix Jaehn remix) - OMI Watch video on YouTube

    3. Shut Up and Dance - Walk The Moon Watch video on YouTube

    4. GDFR - Flo Rida Watch video on YouTube

    5. Can't Feel My Face - Weeknd Watch video on YouTube

    6. Watch Me - Silento Watch video on YouTube

    7. House Party - Sam Hunt Watch video on YouTube

    8. Sugar - Maroon 5 Watch video on YouTube

    9. Style - Taylor Swift Watch music video on YouTube

    10. Hit The Quan - iLoveMemphis Watch video on YouTube

    Did we miss your favorite song of 2015? Leave a comment on our facebook page and let us know!

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