We like to dance fast!
November 4, 2011 1:47 PM   Subscribe

Accidental DJ would like awesome advice on danceable music.

So, I'm co-DJing something that will actually be rather large and a bit fashiony. I'm basically on board for this because I have some expertise with, like, retro dance music. But as I listen to my collection and think about what I want to play, I realize that some of what I like is a bit too oddball. ("We Don't Need This Fascist Groove Thing", a little too much second wave ska, Don Cherry's disco hits, etc)

So now I'm thinking, OMG, what if I run out of music???

Thus, I'm looking for recommendations for fast stuff that's fun to dance to while mostly or completely sober - so things with more song structure. Remixes are fine. Genre is negotiable - R&B, motown, punk, no wave, hip hop, etc etc. I'm not especially looking for what's fashionable now - that's not why I was asked, for one thing.

Pickypants details: This will be a crowd with fairly fancy taste, so "fun to dance to" would be a little more complicated than "Come On Eileen" or "YMCA". And nothing racist/homophobic/creepily misogynist!

Some things I like to dance to include Janelle Monae, early Talking Heads, Gang of Four, Alain Toussaint, Zebda. The crowd likes Gogol Bordello, that kind of thing.

The main thing - stuff needs to be fast! Like, no slower than Tightrope. That's what's hanging me up a bit, actually.
posted by Frowner to Media & Arts (18 answers total) 14 users marked this as a favorite
Figures on a Beach, "Accidentally 4th Street"
High energy 1980's gay disco music:
The Pet Shop Boy's medley of "Where the Streets Have No Name" and "I Can't Take My Eyes Off of You". Bronski Beat.

If you want to go a bit more deeply retro, Re-Flex's "The Politics of Dancing", songs by Men Without Hats that are *not* "Safety Dance" ("Living in China" or "I Got the Message").

More if I think of it.
posted by rmd1023 at 2:03 PM on November 4, 2011 [1 favorite]

Sort of in the Monae vein, Noisettes, Don't Upset the Rhythm.

Not super fast, but Sia? She's fun.

Always Robyn. Not overwhelmingly fast track, but the arpeggiated baseline kicks it up.

Yelle? Tres facionable et europeenne.
posted by Admiral Haddock at 2:04 PM on November 4, 2011

I just put together this playlist for a party I'm having in a couple weeks. It doesn't all fit your description of fast but it is mostly off the main-stream which to me means "fancy".

Some of it is straight off of MeFi!

Asobi Seksu Thursday (The Twelves Remix)
Bel Biv Devoe Poison
Black Kids I'm not gonna teach your boyfriend how to dance with you (The Twelves Remix)
Black Kids Hurricane Jane (The Twelves Remix)
Black Kids Look At Me (When I Rock Wichoo)
Boys Noize jeffer
Chin Chin Miami
Chromeo Fancy Footwork
Chromeo Momma's Boy
Chromeo Tenderoni
Chromeo Call Me Up
Cloud One Atmosphere Strut
Cut Copy Nobody Lost, Nobody Found
Daft Punk one more time
Daft Punk harder, better, faster, stronger
DyE Fantasy
Empire of the Sun Walking On A Dream
Hermanos Inglesos Wanderland
Holy Ghost! I Will Come Back
Hot Chip Over And Over
Hot Chip Boys From School
Jamiroquai Little L
Jamiroquai Virtual Insanity
Jamiroquai Canned Heat
Justice Phantom, Pt. 2
Justice D.A.N.C.E.
Kommode Houses For Birds
Kommode Patient
La Roux Bulletproof
LCD Soundsystem Tribulations
LCD Soundsystem Daft Punk Is Playing At My House
Little Boots New In Town
Lloyd Girl's Around The World (Featuring Lil Wayne)
Lloyd Get It Shawty
LMFAO feat. Lauren Bennett & Goonock Party Rock Anthem
Miami Horror Sometimes
Michael Jackson Rock With You
Michael Jackson P Y T (Pretty Young Thing)
Michael Jackson Wanna Be Startin Something
Michael Jackson Beat It
Michael Jackson Off The Wall
Michael Jackson Don't Stop 'Til You Get Enough
Michael Jackson Bad
Michael Jackson Thriller
Midnight Juggernauts Into the Galaxy
New Order Bizarre Love Triangle
New Order Age Of Consent
New Order Ceremony
Peaches fuck the pain away
Phoenix Everything Is Everything
Phoenix If I Ever Feel Better
Phoenix Too young
Pompeya Power II
Prince I Wanna Be Your Lover
Prince Let's Go Crazy
Rendezvous The Murf (Radio Edit)
Röyksopp This Must Be It
Röyksopp The Girl And The Robot
Röyksopp Tricky Tricky
Rubies Stand In A Line
Rubies I Feel Electric
Snoop Dog Sensual Seduction
Supergrass We Are Young
The cardigans Carnival
The Jackson Five ABC
The Jackson Five I Want You Back
The Naked and Famous Punching in a Dream
The Naked and Famous Young Blood
The Strokes Barely Legal
The Strokes Last Night
The Whitest Boy Alive Burning
The Whitest Boy Alive 1517
The Whitest Boy Alive Done With You
Two Door Cinema Club Something Good Can Work
Two Door Cinema Club Do You Want It All?
Vitalic Second Lives
Warren G Regulate (1994)
Yelle A Cause Des Garcons (Tepr Remix)
Young Digerati The Dauphin (Muffin Remix)
posted by cman at 2:13 PM on November 4, 2011

I Highly, Highly suggest digging into the awesome resource that is Chrissy Murderbot's My Year of Mixtapes blog. It is a treasure trove of many different eras of dance music, organized by genre. My favorites are Hard Gay, Italo Disco, Synth Pop, 90s Dance Pop, and Chicago House. It is an education, and it is a total riot.
posted by Lieber Frau at 2:45 PM on November 4, 2011 [3 favorites]

Forget thinking about fast... what you want is a high energy level and that doesn't have much to do with speed.. there are songs at 125 bpm that sound more high energy than some drum and bass songs at 170.

What age range?

Here are some random guaranteed floor fillers of varying genre (there are plenty of remixes of a lot of these) -- don't know what your tolerance for electronica/cheese is.

Basement Jaxx - Red Alert
House of Pain - Jump Around
Dee-Lite - Grove is in the Heart
Tori Amos - Professional Widow
Digital Underground - The Humpty Dance
Darude - Sandstorm
Kernkraft 400 - Zombie Nation
Oizo - Flat Beat
Daft Punk - Around The World
Pure Tones - Addicted to Bass
Robyn - Konichiwa Bitches
Donna Summer - I Feel Love
Plump DJs - Bumper
Delirium - Silence (Tiesto mix)
Kosheen - Hide U
KLF - What Time Is Love
Faithless - Insomnia
posted by empath at 2:51 PM on November 4, 2011

Lieber beat me to it. 2nding Chrissy. He ha about 60 different mixes up for download, so it's like he did the work for you.
posted by timsteil at 2:52 PM on November 4, 2011

If they like Gogol Bordello, they`ll love Leningrad!
posted by Tom-B at 3:38 PM on November 4, 2011

Here are some general DJing tips in no particular order:

1) Start off deep, slow and as non-intrusive as possible. When people first get to a party they want to meet up with friends, talk, get a drink, etc. Don't waste your good dancing songs when nobody wants to dance. Your job is to create background music for people to get drunk to. No screaming vocals, no hands in the air breakdowns, no sing-along choruses. Play jazzy stuff, downtempo, chilled out hip-hop, top 40, soundtrack music, stuff like that. If you have undanceable tracks, play them early. When people start hanging around the edges of the dance floor, start playing your stuff with a groove.

2) Increase the tempo gradually throughout the night, but leave yourself options. If you go too up-tempo, you'll lose the dance floor and you want to have a way to back out of it. Bring some songs with long intros with no beats so you can cover a tempo change.

3) If you can't beatmatch, mix quickly, and don't use DJ mixes-- use radio mixes. There's nothing worse for clearing a dance floor than a trainwreck, and number 2 is playing out the whole 4 minute intro to a dance record by itself when the good part is only 3 minutes long.

4) Practice. Play your set by yourself in your room. If you can't make yourself dance, you aren't going to make anybody else dance.

5) Organize. Figure out your anthems. Then think if them as gems and yourself as a jeweler. Your job is to find the perfect setting to show them off, and the way you do that is to find the perfect songs to lead into them. Divide your songs into mini-sets of 3-5 tracks that work well together with the anthems at the end. Find songs that have stuff in common -- same key, same genre, similar tempo, same kind of singer, and so on, have one build on the other -- tell a story with it. Keep those on the same CD, or near each other in your file folder or whatever.. Don't play one anthem after another. After some big sing along chorus or whatever, make sure the next song is more of a pure dance record. Like follow up something like Blue Monday or Tainted Love with something like Giorgio Moroder - The Chase..

6) Give people time to rest, but not too much time. If you have songs with long breakdowns or intros with no beat, space them about 10-12 minutes apart.
posted by empath at 4:15 PM on November 4, 2011 [5 favorites]

New Orleans Funk

The Meters, Johnny Jenkins, the works. iTunes has some good compliations. Also 1970's James Brown and the JBs.

I suggest these things because large numbers of drum samples come from these records. So its in with the in crowd, in with the out crowd, familiar, yet obscure.

Empath has got the set up down cold.
posted by Ironmouth at 5:09 PM on November 4, 2011

I think you are wrong for second-guessing your initial instincts. If you were asked to do something because of your taste in music, then why would you ditch the music YOU like in favor of a bunch of random stuff?

These events LOVE having music that is odd and that most people won't recognize. It contributes to the air of them being ahead of the curve. So take them there -- just have a bunch of extra stuff on hand so that you can change things up if it doesn't seem to fit quite right. That's what being a DJ is all about, right? Gauging crowd response, in order to manipulate it.
posted by hermitosis at 5:13 PM on November 4, 2011 [1 favorite]

Off the top of my head (more or less)

Kanye/Lykke li/Santigold - Gifted

Maybe some M.I.A?

And Röyksopp, ofcourse. Not super up-beat, but definitely danceable.
posted by revikim at 5:59 PM on November 4, 2011

The cynical answer would be any song you hate.

The latest Beastie Boys album was quite danceable in my opinion.
posted by Meathamper at 6:49 PM on November 4, 2011

Who is your crowd? I wanna know if they prefer eminem or don omar.
posted by hal_c_on at 10:47 PM on November 4, 2011

Girl Talk - Feed the Animals. Crazy genius genre-blending mashup. I swear it never fails. Can't link from my phone on a shaky Chinatown bus but it's on Amazon and in my experience it *never fails* to get - and keep - people (young/old/gay/straight/black/white/etc) up and dancing like fools. It contains samples of some nsfw hip-hop so you might give it a listen first if your crowd is sensitive that way, but this is some potent juju.
posted by jcrcarter at 6:31 AM on November 5, 2011

Le Tigre, Dragonette, Robyn, Santigold, Bowie, Tune-Yards, zzzz, Austra, Niki & the Dove
posted by dizziest at 12:48 PM on November 5, 2011

These may not be the tempo you're looking for, but IME they always get people up and dancing:

Yello — Oh Yeah
Dead or Alive — You Spin Me Right Round
posted by Lexica at 2:36 PM on November 5, 2011

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