As with any party, a backyard barbecue can be quickly derailed by the wrong music. Don’t trust this important task to your shuffle, lest you end up with everyone crying into their beers to the sounds of Adele crooning “nevermind, I’ll find someone like yooooooo….”
To avoid having your summertime sizzler fizzle out, make a special party playlist stocked with feelgood gems. Here are some tried-and-true tactics guaranteed to get your guests in the groove.
The Beach Boys
True, it’s more accurate to refer to them as “The Beach Men” at this advanced stage in their lives, however, the music these lads cut back in their heyday still holds up as the quintessential sound of summer. Throw on classic slow jams like “Surfer Girl” and “The Warmth of the Sun” if you want everyone to start slowdancing in their bare feet.
More Surf Tunes
Outside of the immortal Beach Boys, it’s good to throw a few other ’60s surf instrumentals into the mix like “Perfidia” by The Ventures or Dick Dale’s “Tidal Wave.” Best to avoid the ultra-gimmicky stuff like “Wipeout,” or the Hawaii Five-O theme, but do include the goofy classic “Wooly Bully” so everyone can get up and dance like Jeff Spicoli at the prom in “Fast Times At Ridgemont High.”
I’m sorry to say it, but we’ve reached the point where the ’90s are officially the “days of yore,” making the hip-hop jams of this era the newest oldies. The good thing is that collective nostalgia is a great party enhancer. Avoid hardcore gangsta tracks in favour of easygoing jams like Skee-Lo’s “I Wish” or Salt-N-Pepa’s “Shoop” and then stand back and watch even your most buttoned-down friend transform into a booty-shaking ghetto superstar.
You don’t exactly want your awesome night to become a karaoke nighmare, but that said, having one or two of those songs that EVERYBODY knows the words to is good for overall party camaraderie. I’m talking about Neil Diamond’s “Sweet Caroline” or (gulp) “Don’t Stop Believing” (the Journey version. I’m sad about Cory Monteith too, but don’t ever play the “Glee” version.). Just understand that these songs can turn on the party quickly so use sparingly and exercise caution.
Like the hundred-year-storm, a song comes along every now and then that is like the party equivalent of Plutonium. It’s that powerful. Our hundred-year-party-jam is Shakira’s “She Wolf.” Ah-oooooo!!!!