What music should I play at the teen Halloween dance?
September 28, 2009 8:54 AM   Subscribe

I've volunteered to DJ a teen Halloween dance/costume event sponsored by the library I work at, and held at the local art museum. Unfortunately, I didn't quite think about what that meant in terms of music, and now I'm stumped as to what kinds of music I should bring. My usual DJ sets are electronic and ambient music, and (NOT TOP40-IST) I never listen to the radio so I'm blissfully ignorant of what teh kidz are listening to these days. What should I play at this dance that your average teen is going to like?

This event usually draws about 150 kids, ages 13-18 and spanning a pretty wide range of high school archetypes and social/economic strata, as might be expected from an average-sized semi-urban Midwestern town. I know I'm not going to please everyone, but I need to feel like I'm doing my job and have at least a good fraction of the kids dancing for most of this thing.

I found a few older AskMe threads (here for example), and while I've already gotten some of those songs (Cha-Cha Slide, here we come!) I'm thinking even a few years can make a huge difference in what kids like at these things. I'm asked my Teen Advisory Board and teen patrons for suggestions but didn't get many. I turn to you, AskMe denizens, for help rocking the proverbial house.

Bonus points will be given for songs which won't get me fired or strung up by my library board or the public at large.
posted by 40 Watt to Media & Arts (12 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
You might try downloading the zip file for Night Of The Living Monster Mashup and see if any of these tunes would be appealing. They could make for a good mix-in during the set. Seeing as, you know, it IS halloween and such.
posted by hippybear at 9:06 AM on September 28, 2009

Why not just browse through the billboard hot 100?

Otherwise, classic rock and 80s pop.
posted by Bonzai at 9:14 AM on September 28, 2009

Crazy mash-ups always go down well, download a selection from this guy
posted by momentofmagnus at 9:15 AM on September 28, 2009 [3 favorites]

Oh, and given the sudden revelation of Michael Jackson's back catalogue to these kids, you really should play Thriller at least, and maybe some others.
posted by momentofmagnus at 9:18 AM on September 28, 2009

Yeah, I guess I should have put Thriller on there as a given- There's a few things I know I can play for sure, including that. Partyben's mashup of the Imperial March and the Chemical Brothers is definitely going on my list. Thanks, momentofmagnus!
posted by 40 Watt at 9:29 AM on September 28, 2009

Disclaimer: I am nowhere near my teens, and I have no idea if they really listen to this stuff. But I AM a Top 40 whore, so here’s what’s been big on the radio this year:

Make friends with Lady Gaga: LoveGame, Poker Face, Just Dance. (Her latest single, Papparazzi, might be too slow for the dance floor)

Also, in no particular order (and I’m not sure how appropriate the lyrics are):

Sean Kingston – Fire Burning
Beyonce – Single Ladies
Shakira – She Wolf
Jay Sean ft. Lil Wayne – Down
Black Eyed Peas – Boom Boom Pow or I Gotta Feeling
Pitbull – Hotel Room Service
Miley Cyrus – Party in the USA (may be too slow, but it is huge right now)
Flo Rida - Right Round
David Guetta – Love Takes Over
Kelly Clarkson – My Life Would Suck Without You
The Ting Tings – That’s Not My Name
Britney Spears – Circus (If You Seek Amy was bigger I think, but you can’t play that)
Akon - Beautiful

Some older ones that might still apply:
Katy Perry – Hot N Cold
Flo Rida – Low
Justin Timberlake – SexyBack
Don’t Stop the Music – Rihanna

Definitely play Thriller (it IS a Halloween dance) but I don’t know if I’d play 2 Michael Jackson songs in one night. And I respectfully disagree with the suggestion of classic rock or 80’s hits. These kids are young. Classic to them is 90’s stuff.
posted by yawper at 10:12 AM on September 28, 2009 [1 favorite]

This torrent could get you off to a nice start.
posted by bravowhiskey at 10:32 AM on September 28, 2009

To add to that list I also recommend:

Kid Cudi - Day N Nite (Crookers remix)
Justice - Dance
David Guetta - Sexy Chick (radio edit)
whatever latest singles DJ Tiesto has out
Black Eyed Peas - I've Got a Feeling

and for any song that seems too slow, there's a dance remix out there for it.
posted by JauntyFedora at 10:32 AM on September 28, 2009

Oh, and I should mention, I have yet to see it fail that when a party is getting a bit slow, putting on Sir Mix-a-lot's "Baby Got Back" doesn't create a total pickup to the energy.

This is probably not an age appropriate suggestion, however.
posted by hippybear at 10:43 AM on September 28, 2009 [1 favorite]

13 year olds are already familiar with Baby Got Back, and probably know the words. Play it.

You could probably throw some Daft Punk, LCD Soundsystem and Justice in there, or other stuff like it. Kids will know "Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger" for example, and will at last be able to to dance to it.

MGMT and M.I.A. for the older kids at least.
posted by papayaninja at 11:47 AM on September 28, 2009

Put Cupid Shuffle on there, lest you be accosted by legions of teens clamoring for their line dance fix.
posted by squorch at 12:09 PM on September 28, 2009

It's a Halloween Party, sponsored by a Library? Harry and the Potters!
posted by pupdog at 4:31 AM on September 29, 2009

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