Last month I was lucky enough to spend my 39th birthday in Chicago with my husband and friends. Of course, dancing was one of the "musts" on my list, but the DJ wasn't taking requests and the music was not very good. Such a bummer, because it's such a miracle to be out for the night without kids, and a few of my favorite songs would make the night complete.
In college my friends and I were so intent on hearing good music, we would show up to fraternities and parties with our own mixed tape (yes, this reference ages me…).
I have been known to hoard the jukebox, and even now, listening to music in the car with my husband and children is a constant negotiation. But I think most people feel similarly: it's a gift to hear music that makes you happy.
So it got me thinking about my ideal play list for a night of dancing (like the guy from High Fidelity, even though I know this list would appall him), and I think I narrowed down my top ten. These songs inspire me to move it-move it, but it's eclectic to say the least, so hold onto your hat…
1. Alejandro - Lady Gaga
This could have been Bad Romance, Telephone, or Paparazzi, I love every song off The Fame Monster, but if you drive by me in my minivan, this is probably the song I'm singing. And my 2 year old must agree, because I hear her singing to her dolls, don't call my name, don't call my name….
2. Good Vibrations - Marky Mark and the Funky Bunch
I have always had a thing for Mark Wahlberg, so it's easy for me to like this song, but it's also just a great classic dance song. Everybody knows it and it makes you want to dance, run or do step aerobics (another aging reference…)….come on come on, feel it feel it…
3. Armageddon It - Def Leppard
Much to my Depeche Mode-loving roommate's dismay, I showed up at college with my hair-band music collection (you are a good friend Andrea…). But seriously, some of these hard rock songs are still a lot of fun, especially the songs from Def Leppard's Hysteria. While everyone else loved Pour Some Sugar on Me, I enjoyed this one, and I have great memories of my friend Lara and I playing it at opportune times…are you getting it, a really getting it….
4. Good Beat/Groove is in the Heart - Deee-Lite
These are the first two songs off The Very Best of Deee-Lite, and as the title says, they have a good beat. They are retro and catchy, and I've always been especially attached to the lyrics…
Depending on how you see a thing
The ship is free, or is it sinking
Depending on how you see it
You cage your mind, or you free it
Depending on how you see the times
The world divides or it closely binds…..
5. Dynamite - Taio Cruz
Nothing deep about this song - the first words are actually I came to dance dance dance dance…but I liked it immediately and it puts me in a good mood. Not sure if this song has staying power on this list, but right now, I can't get enough of it.
6. Something Like That/I Like it, I Love it - Tim McGraw
There is something about country music that really makes me happy - most likely the authenticity and the great storytelling. I want to grab my cowboy hat when I hear Tim sing about his truck and heading out to the county fair - it feels simple and fun.
7. 4 Minutes - Madonna and Justin Timberlake
Easy pick because these are two of my favorite performers…and because it's been known to cause dancing in my kitchen….tick tock tick tock tick tock
8. Peace Frog - The Doors
My husband is a Doors fan so their music has become a part of my life, and this song is by far my favorite. You put this song on and people just start to move, even if it's just their head or shoulders. Heavy lyrics, but the music is so light and fun.
9. Complicated - Poi Dog Pondering
I only knew two songs when I went to my first Poi Dog concert, but this Chicago band had so much energy and enthusiasm, I ended up dancing as if I had been listening to them my whole life. To this day I have never experienced anything like it, and this song is a great anthem and reminder of my 20's..…I @$#% up so many times in my life, I wanna get it right this time…..
10. Optimistic Thought - Blues Traveler
When I hear this song I see myself in my navy Alpha Phi sweatshirt and baseball hat surrounded by my best friends, dancing. Could be 2:00 in the afternoon or 2:00 in the morning - it epitomizes the freedom and joy of college. And how can you help but feel joy with words like these…..
Life I embrace you
I shall honor and disgrace you
Please forgive if I replace you
You see I'm going through some pain
But now I see clearly
And the dawn is coming nearly
And though I'm human and it's early
I swear I'll never forget again….
I know what you are thinking……there isn't a club or DJ in the world that would play this list for me. So I guess on my 40th birthday, I'll just have to bring my own mixed tape.
Cathy Adams is a certified parenting coach, yoga instructor and mother to three girls.
See more of Cathy's stories here.