Because I'm still confused by anatomical references to "[one's] humps..."
October 19, 2006 5:34 PM   Subscribe

Help me DJ a dance at the middle school where I teach.

The student council wasn't able to book a DJ in time, so I volunteered to handle the task last minute. Since I don't really have any idea what kids listen to these days, I solicited recommendations from the student body, but a disturbing number of songs would not be appropriate for such an event. I've downloaded some of the recommendations via iTunes, and found that the absence of an "explicit" warning isn't sufficient to prove that a song is "safe."

So, I'm looking for songs that kids 11-14 will enjoy, but that don't contain references to controversial topics or curse words. And in true middle school fashion, it's due tomorrow.
posted by alphanerd to Education (20 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
The kids I work with love the song "Gasolina" by Daddy Yankee. The lyrics are less-than-wholesome, but your students won't know unless they speak Spanish.
posted by christinetheslp at 5:42 PM on October 19, 2006

Anything they really like will be absurdly against the rules, try to find radio edits, but chances are many of them can't be censored without becoming instrumental.

You can never go wrong with Da Rude's "Sandstorm" or Deee Lite's "Groove is in the heart". The kids may or may not find the Numa Numa song the most spastically awesome thing ever (they certainly did about a year ago).

When DJing in general, you'll never make everyone happy, and definately not all at once. At a middle school dance, this goes double.
posted by phrontist at 5:48 PM on October 19, 2006

Oh, The Black Eyed Peas!
posted by phrontist at 5:49 PM on October 19, 2006

Best answer: top 40 radio. you might want to get the last 5 or 6 'now that's what I call music" cds. those have the big hit songs on them. I admire your bravery. Middle school dances are so awkward, even when you're there as an adult.
posted by cosmicbandito at 5:49 PM on October 19, 2006

Just throw in classic rock, funk, and some disco. Make it retro themed. Actually, forget the rock and the disco.
posted by The White Hat at 5:49 PM on October 19, 2006

What white hat said will get you crucified! The "Now That's What I Call Music!" (Now [insert number here]!) CD's are, sadly, a great idea.
posted by phrontist at 5:51 PM on October 19, 2006

Doesn't Walmart sell censored CDs?
posted by Loto at 5:55 PM on October 19, 2006

loto, I think the problem is that songs can be too suggestive without having any profanity in them at all. See the Pussycat Dolls "beep" for a prime example.
posted by cosmicbandito at 5:59 PM on October 19, 2006

Response by poster: cosmicbandito's suggestion seems to be on the mark. The lyrics on those CDs seem to be fairly tame (at least in comparison to those of "smack it", which I had the displeasure of previewing in my car on my drive home). Also, the songs and artists are matching up very nicely with the stuff the kids are requesting.
posted by alphanerd at 6:28 PM on October 19, 2006

We just had a dance on Friday, so I speak from experience:
They love line dances....Electric Slide, Cotten Eyed Joe, Chacha Slide.

There's something about dancing the same dance in a group that appeals to even the most bashful and shy kids. We hardly had any kids dancing to most of the music, but when all those I mentioned were played, the dance floor was packed.
posted by NoraCharles at 7:08 PM on October 19, 2006

I think these would have been kosher for the Catholic church-sponsored dances I used to attend in middle school in the late 90s. Don't know how many of these will work in your situation, but here goes:

Beyoncé - Crazy In Love
Beyoncé - Ring the Alarm (Edited version, perhaps?)
Cascada - Everytime We Touch
Cascada - Miracle
ATC - Around the World
Casper - Cha Cha (Slide)
DJ Sammy - Heaven
Outkast - Hey Ya
Newton - Streamline
O-Zone - Dragostea Din Tei
Postal Service - Such Great Heights
Paul Oakenfold - Starry Eyed Surprise
Kelly Clarkson - Since U Been Gone
Britney Spears - Toxic
4 Strings - Take Me Away
Danielle Paris - I Can't Stand It (Cascada Mix)
DHT - Listen To Your Heart
Eric Prydz - Call On Me
Frankie J - That Girl (maybe too explicit?)
Rihanna - SOS (Rescue Me)

A cleaner alternative to My Hips Don't Lie might be Wyclef Jean's Dance Like This, from the soundtrack to the second Dirty Dancing (Havana Nights) movie. Also, everybody used to love when Sir Mix A Lot would play. Baby Got Back had a magical effect on us middle schoolers.
posted by roomwithaview at 7:12 PM on October 19, 2006

cosmicbandito : I think the problem is that songs can be too suggestive without having any profanity in them at all.

I think that's a pretty good description of Pussycat Dolls in general, song or no.
posted by quin at 8:59 PM on October 19, 2006

House of Pain - Jump Around

That's still cool, I think.

Is this a Halloween dance? If so, a few Halloween songs are always fun.
posted by catburger at 9:36 PM on October 19, 2006

This is the playlist my gf used when djing a grade 6/7/8 dance at her school last week. A good time was reportedly had by all. We're in (relatively) rural Northern Ontario, Canada, but I bet most of it is fairly universal.

Formatting is a mess, but it's late and I'm typing in the dark.

Rapper's Delight (Old School Mix) Sugarhill Gang
067 Billy Ray Sirus - Achy Breaky He Billy Ray Sirus
091 Natasha Bedingfield - These Word Natasha Beddingfield
All The Small Things Blink 182
All These Things That I've Done The Killers
Beautiful Soul Jesse Mccartney
Dancin With Myself Billy Idol
Dirty Pop N'Sync
Don't Lie The Black Eyed Peas
Escape Enrique Iglesias
Fighter Christina Aguilera
Fishing in the Dark Nitty Gritty Dirt Band
Girls Just Want To Have Fun Cindy Lauper
Good Riddance (Time Of Your Life) edited Green Day
Good Vibrations Marky Mark
Hey Mickey pop (70s, 80s, 90s)
Hey Ya Outkast
I'd do anything Simple Plan
I'm Just A Kid Simple Plan
I Believe In A Thing Called Love The Darkness
I Miss You Blink 182
If I Had $1000000 Barenaked Ladies
Just Dance (Center Stag Jamiroquai
Leave Get Out Jo Jo
Let's Get It Started (Radio Ed The Black Eyed Peas
Lifestyles Of The Rich And Famous Good Charlotte
Love Shack B52's
Mony Mony Billy Idol
Motivation Sum 41
Move it like this Baha Men
Mr Brightside The Killers
Perfect Simple Plan
Rah Rah Rasputin Boney M
River Below Billy Talent
Sk8er Boi Avril Lavigne
Spiderwebs No Doubt
stillwaiting Sum 41
Suddenly I See KT Tunstall
Take Me Away Fefe Dobson
The Anthem Good Charlotte
Trouble Pink
Try Honesty Billy Talent
Walk Like An Egyptian Bangles
When the night feels my song Bedouin SoundClash
Believe Breaking Benjamin
Bunny Hop (fast) Party Songs
do the hustle 70's
Lean On Me Bill Withers
Miss Murder AFI
Red Flag Billy Talent
Ridin' (Radio Edit) Chamillionaire
The Race Is On Sawyer Brown
Thunderstruck ACDC
Yeah (Edit) Usher Feat. Lil' Jon and Ludac
041 High School Musical - Bop To The Lucas Grabeel and Ashley Tisdale
045 Hampton the Hampster _ The Offic
046 Foot Loose - footloose
048 Crazy Frog - Axel f
Gunnin' Hedley
London Bridges (Clean) Fergie
We Like to Party! Vengaboys
What About Love? Heart
037 Paris Hilton- Stars Are Blind
038 Mortal Kombat - Theme Song
040 Kylie Minogue - Locomotion
These Walls Teddy Gieger
Thriller Michael Jackson
Who Knew? Pink
One Two Step Ciara feat. Missy Elliot
These Boots Are Made For Walking (Video Verison) Jessica Simpson
Toxic Britney Spears
When You Were Young The Killers
Where is the Love (CDS) The Black Eyed Peas
Heart Shaped Box Nirvana
I'm Just A Kid Simple Plan
Smells Like Teen Spirit Nirvana
Stupid Girls Pink
Diary of Jane Breaking Benjamin
Gonna Make You Sweat (Everybody Dance Now) C & C Music Factory
I Like To Move It
019 RIHANNA - Pon De Replay _Hey Mr. Rihanna
But It's Better if You Do PANIC! At The Disco
Don't Speak No Doubt
Dance Dance Fall Out Boy
Macarena Los Del Rio
Pump It The Black Eyed Peas
SexyBack Justin Timberlake
Streamline Newton
Born To Hand Jive Grease
012 DHT - Listen To Your Heart _Tech DHT
Jump Van Halen
Hells Bells AC-DC
Stairway To Heaven Led Zeppelin
Don't Stop Believing Journey
The Long Run Eagles
Hotel California Eagles
Sweet Child O Mine Guns N' Roses
Hips Don't Lie Shakira ft Wyclef Jean
001 Sean Paul- Temperature Sean Paul
Dance Dance Fall Out Boy
Smells Like Teen Spirit Nirvana
posted by davey_darling at 9:47 PM on October 19, 2006 [1 favorite]

I can tell you from terrible experience that Radiohead's "Idioteque" is a poor choice. I felt like Marty McFly at the Enchantment Under the Sea dance, the way those kids looked at me.

On the other hand, I was just at a wedding dance where the DJ played a song that told you exactly how to dance to it. From the sound of it, he got it from the internet somewhere. I wasn't too into it (really? I just clapped five times... nine more, really?), but I can tell you the seventh-grade version of myself would have loved it. My searching is failing me this evening, though.
posted by lauranesson at 9:51 PM on October 19, 2006

Hammer. Seriously. Never would have dreamed it, but I've seen a cafeteria full of bored white Catholic-school kids bust out the actual moves for "Can't Touch This."
posted by jessicapierce at 10:23 PM on October 19, 2006

lauranesson, this is off-topic but you're thinking of the Chacha Slide. Enough of the kids should know it for the others to get into it, but if you REALLY want to pack the dance floor do a demo for them with the basic first steps.
posted by onalark at 11:14 PM on October 19, 2006

There's a song called "U.G.L.Y." by Daphne & Celeste. I think it's pretty tame yet would be rather popular just because it's funny. One big long insult song.
posted by WCityMike at 8:40 AM on October 20, 2006

Just a note: no matter how hard you try to keep things appropriate, the kids are not going to stay appropriate (as far as dancing and stuff goes). My friend DJs at middle school dances (or "socials" as they're called here) and yeah... the kids are going to dance in inappropriate ways. Like, probably way inappropriate. If you teach there, I'm sure you know what to expect, but I thought I'd warn you anyway.
posted by MadamM at 4:37 PM on October 20, 2006

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