Friday, January 4, 2019
SHREM'S EXCLUSIVE: PERFECT PARTY PLAYLIST VOL. 17 by Amy Douglas
It's about time I revived my Perfect Party Playlist thread, don't you think? It seems like an ideal moment to cure everyone's post-festive season blues with some quality dancefloor-friendly gems. And we begin with a proper BANG! One of the singing sensations of 2018 - the powerhouse diva Amy Douglas, whose untouchably anthemic "Never Saw it Coming" took over club dancefloors, vinyl sites and year-end charts, has kindly accepted my invitation to compile her very own selection of party favourites. The Brooklyn based boogie chanteuse, as she describes herself, is known for her delectable collaborations with some of clubland's most established names: Crooked Man aka Dj Parrot, The Juan MacLean, Horse Meat Disco or Luke Solomon, to name just a few. Having chosen "Never Saw it Coming" as one of my highlights of 2018 across a number of my #BestOf2018 rankings, I am particularly overjoyed and honoured to share this very special, hardcore muso edition of "Perfect Party Playlist" where Amy Douglas not only cherry-picked 25 (!!!) of her beloved tunes but generously accompanied each one of them with a lovely write-up. This is such a treat! THANK YOU!!!
Connect with Amy Douglas:
PERFECT PARTY PLAYLIST by Amy Douglas [in no particular order]
1. "STOMP!" - The Brothers Johnson
Real talk? I’m really OVER disco. What you say? Shocking bleu? Nah. I mean I love disco, I do it, I sing it, I compose disco joints all the time, and in fact am starting 2019 with a feature on a very pure disco joint that I’m actually really PROUD of the writing I did for it (Horse Meat Disco’s “Let’s Go Dancing) but too much of it and eventually a sickly ennui settles in. I’m even more sick and tired of “disco edit culture” which I think has in fact destroyed disco, because the only thing that can surpass any genre, the only thing that matters is a great song, and THIS is not just a great song, this is the song you need to put on if you’re at the end of your rope, you feel spiritually drained, you feel like nothing is going right, the sun hasn’t seen the sky in months etc… From the song itself to Quincy Jones (the GOD)’s impeccable production, this song feels like someone force-feeding you pure sunlight. I have often told people, “there are disco songs that make me put a fist in the air, dance, laugh, and have a fantastic time, but there is only one disco song that can make me CRY tears of unabashed joy and emotion- and that is STOMP.
2. "GIRL FROM IPANEMA GOES TO GREENLAND" - The B-52's
Now mind you, we are talking about one of the ALL TIME PARTY BANDS. This song could have been 52 Girls. This song could have been Dance This Mess Around, or Legal Tender, or any one of their perfectly party engineered bangers, but dag nap it, I just LOVE LOVE LOVE Cindy Wilson’s vocal performance on this, and it’s SO funky.
3. "RIP IT UP" - Orange Juice
Some post-punk really aspires to be dance music in a way that never really works for me and some bands just NAIL it. There is no wonder why this song is still a classic to this day.
4. "E = MC²" - Big Audio Dynamite
A hook for DAYS. A sexy beat that never stops. MICK JONES OF THE CLASH’s “focused dance project”. The end. Get it in your life, get on the floor. Oh and speaking of The Clash…
5. "THE MAGNIFICENT SEVEN" - The Clash
A note? Larry Levan LOVED to spin this at The Garage. I’d think beyond the fact that this is the fucking CLASH we are talking about, no less funky focused on booty shaking Clash, that alone would be enough of a tidbit.
6. "IT'S JUST BEGUN" - Jimmy Castor Bunch
A hip hop anthem that you can not stand still to. Also perfectly used in just the right part of Flashdance.
7. "WE DON’T HAVE TO TAKE OUR CLOTHES OFF" - Jermaine Stewart
I was in a club recently and someone popped this on and it took all of my energy to not bumrush the booth and hug the DJ.
8. "WORDY RAPPINGHOOD" - Tom Tom Club
No explanation necessary. Oh yeah, just two. TINA. FUCKING. WEYMOUTH and CHRIS. FUCKING. FRANTZ.
9. "FASCINATED" - Company B
Is it a slightly Yaz-esque rip off? Yup. Is the vocal nasal and borderline really annoying? Yup. Is this one of the best songs to dance too? YUP!
10. "BABY WANTS TO RIDE" - Frankie Knuckles/Jamie Principle
Time for some ultra classic Trax Records Goodness. This is one of the first really classic pieces of Chicago driven House Music that I actively went out and purchased.
11. "BRAND NEW LOVER" - Dead or Alive
I may be the only person alive who really prefers this song to Pete’s colossal monster “You Spin Me Right Round (Like A Record)” but this is just... one of my all time faves.
12. "JOYSTICK" - The Dazz Band
I keep having conversations across the board about “Post Disco” which is a never fully realized genre, but I think it could be the saving grace of where dance music is headed. Here is a Post Disco piece of perfection that sits comfortably along peers like Zapp and Roger, Lakeside, and the likes, but… is more sophisticated.
13. "ANNIE, I’M NOT YOUR DADDY" - Kid Creole and the Coconuts
If you call yourself a real NYC dance music head, then one of your all time Patron Saints should be the great August Darnell, he who co founded both Dr. Savannah’s Buzzard Band and The Coconuts. Their ability to fuse Caribbean influences, Latin American influences and this sense of a Big Band leadership into something so hip and cool is something that I believe needs to come back EN MASSE
14. "TOO MUCH BLOOD" - The Rolling Stones
WHAT? The STONES?????? FUCK YES! In fact I’d argue that there is no mega juggernaut band that’s kept the world dancing more THAN the stones. The entire Undercover album is so incredibly danceable, but this one is just….a stunning quasi Calypso guitar and horn driven inspired piece of funk wherein Mick goes to town describing grisly murder, cannibalism, horror movies, and I give Sir Mick extra points for putting “Bois de Boulogne” in any piece of music. Btw..in 2019 I’m joining Le Visiteur as a PT columnist and I WILL be writing a piece on all the tunes that if you’re a DJ worth your stones, you won’t leave a certain crop of Rolling Stones material home collecting dust.
15. "GIVE ME TONIGHT" - Shannon
In keeping with discussions about a “Post Disco” reality, when Freestyle came around it was hard not to love love love everything about it, especially the hard hitting hip hop percussive production values and often torrid melodramatic subject matter, a good piece of freestyle always just felt so EPIC. Again, “Let The Music Play” was the bigger hit, but this was my personal fave. That HOOK! Those perfectly arranged synth lines!!!
16. "THIS CORROSION" - Sisters of Mercy
Andrew Eldritch’s beyond haunting deep baritone (actually he’s really a bass). A choir. Production that sounds like a factory in overdrive. A song written by Jim Steinman. I do believe this is what you call a perfect storm and I defy you to sit down through that hook. Hey, now, hey now now.
17. "CHANGE" - Killing Joke
Postpunk is another element that lives within a Post Disco reality, and this puppy is one funky ass jam, put it on and watch all the punk kids get down. It’s the best.
18. "WARSAW GHETTO" - Nitzer Ebb
I am so all about industrial and hope it comes back EN MASSE and with a vengeance as these are NOT TIMES (IMO) for fluff. Nitzer Ebb are the kings of songs that force you to think while you dance, and usually scream and “join in the chant” (pardon the pun) while you’re moving along.
19. "COCAINE SEX" - Renegade Soundwave
Dubby, drums that sound like you’re getting fisted by Mike Tyson and salacious lyrics? SIGN. ME. UP. We’re gonna have some (ooooh yeah) we’re gonna have some fun.
20. "THINGS CAN ONLY GET BETTER" - Howard Jones
I love Howard Jones unabashedly I think he’s one of the great heroes of the synth driven 80’s and this song is like an instant shot of hope and funk.
21. "BEHIND THE WHEEL" - Depeche Mode
Can you have a great dance party without Depeche Mode being present in the mix? Sure. SHOULD you try to have a great dance party without Depeche Mode being present in the mix? FUCK NO!!!! Sexy, veiled and kinetic at the same time, this is a perfect song to pop on when you’re switching modes, speeds or moods.
22. "ELECTRIC RELAXATION" - A Tribe Called Quest
Smouldering, sexy and effortless and has IMO Ali Shaheed Muhammad and Q Tip’s best production collage. You’d think something so loungey and slinky couldn’t pack enough of a 4 on the floor punch to get down to, but…..then you’d be wrong. 🙂
23. "I LOVE MUSIC" - The O’Jays
Don’t @me. This is a fucking classic for a reason. Gamble and Huff gorgeousness with one of the most incredible vocal performances by a male group EVER EVER EVER EVER EVER. Brings tears to my eyes every time I hear it.
24. "WHAT YOU NEED" - INXS
I’m gonna dedicate this from the DJ booth of umm... my mind to Mr. Shaun J Wright. I know he’s a big INXS fan, and this is what you call a fail safe maneuver. This song is the first time INXS gets really purposefully DANCE focused with the Listen Like Thieves album, and I have never been to one single solitary event where this songs doesn’t come on and everyone HITS THE FLOOR with a vengeance.
25. "CONTROVERSY" - Prince
You can’t have a dance party without Prince Rogers Nelson. Ever since he left our world its never been the same, like the world can’t…..seem to spin all the way around. There are a GAZILLION songs…..that he engineered specifically for our asses to move to, but I feel like Controversy is so far ahead of its time, lyrically, arrangement wise, with a synth sub hook that is as catchy as any other part of the song. People will be playing it, and still trying to figure out how this man created something so genius.