This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on February 11, 2003 11:55 AM. The previous post in this blog was What if?. The next post in this blog is It ain't me, babe. Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.

E-mail, Feeds, 'n' Stuff

Tuesday, February 11, 2003

Boogie nights

I'm getting ready to DJ a big birthday party this weekend. Three friends of mine are all turning 50 this month, and they're throwing a major three-way dance party shindig. I am honored to have been asked to supply the music.

Getting ready for one of these gigs is fun in itself. The rocking side of my music collection gets a real workout as I try things out in the den and compile some lists of potential tracks.

There's enough here for many hours of music. The challenge is picking the numbers that will tickle the dancers' fancy.

Of course, a crowd that's mostly 50-ish has its preferences. There's a "sweet spot" in there from '65 to '80 that has to be mined thoroughly. Tracks that pre-date or post-date that era have to be chosen with the greatest of care. The true mark of DJ success is when a cut from, say, the early '90s is recognized and appreciated. But you've got to be really careful with that stuff. There's a time and a place for "Bust a Move," but the window is open for only a short time.

This time around, it's finally hitting me that most of the favorite music that my friends and I share is many decades old. We are getting up there! When the Beatles gave us "When I'm 64," it was a quaint joke. Now we're listening to that one with a slightly different attitude.

One important aspect of playing DJ is suppressing one's personal revulsion for certain grossly overplayed songs that people love to dance to. For example, I probably wouldn't be disappointed if I didn't hear "Jump for My Love," "Billie Jean," or "Shout" again. But they're bankable, and they set the partygoers up for something a little more interesting.

I'm also giving myself 45 minutes or so at the start of the festivities during which the music doesn't necessarily have to be danceable, so long as it's fun and inspiring. But I've got several dozen songs to pick from, in a space where only 10 to 15 will fit.

There are still a few days left to make the tough decisions. We'll have a full (albeit not entirely bias-free) report here on Monday.

Clicky Web Analytics