Spenny’s 10: Party Edition

S10Party

Recently I’ve been trying to think up an idea for a music column that is both fun and simple to write. Fun-ness is important because I hate writing seriously about music; simplicity is important because I’m lazy. Here’s what I’ve come up with: for each column I will pick a word. This word will serve as the topic for that given column. This week, for example, I have picked the word “party”. I then take this word and using a complicated database algorithm (iTunes library search), I will compile a list of ten songs that have this word in their title. I will then talk about the different ways each song approaches the topic and in the end we will all reach a greater understanding of what it is to be human, blah blah blah etc. I haven’t really thought of a name for this column, so for now let’s call it “Spenny’s 10”. Should be fun!

 

“It’s Time to Party” – Andrew W.K.

Andrew W.K., arguably the King of partying, knows how to write a good party song; in fact, it might be the only kind of song he knows how to write. This song is the musical equivalent of a beer bong chug: it goes down quick (clocking in at exactly one and a half minutes) and it leaves you feeling ready to party, and a little disoriented.

 

“Hood Party” – Fat Tony ft. Kool A.D. and Despot

One of the best things about a party is its ability to bring a community of people together. This song encapsulates that idea in both lyrics and composition. The lyrics talk about the inner workings of a block that Fat Tony grew up in and how integral block parties were for him and his neighbors; “it ain’t a hobby, it’s a way of life”. This community spirit is strengthened when rappers Kool A.D. and Despot jump on to the track, adding to the comradery.

 

“Punky Reggae Party” – Bob Marley

I’ve always said that the best kind of party is a punky reggae party. Bob Marley’s scat solo at the end of this song has been known to split up porch fights and cure hangovers.

 

“Party Pit” – The Hold Steady

I’ll be honest; I’m not exactly sure what the “Party Pit” is. Is it a mindset? Is it a location? Is it a scene? I don’t think it really matters. The Party Pit is a trap. It’s where a partier gets “pinned down”. It’s where the party turns into the bender. Beware the Party Pit.

 

“I Just Wanna Party” – YG

Oh YG, you hypocritical party animal. YG lives a conflicted existence, on the one hand, he “just wants to party” and “doesn’t want to hurt nobody”, but on the other hand, he’s always ready to “beat the fuck out of a n—a” for “bullshitting” him. YG represents the precarious headspace that a tough partier often occupies. He wants to enjoy himself, but he can never really take it easy, because maintaining his macho façade requires constant mean-mugging.

 

“No. 1 Party Anthem” – Arctic Monkeys

I believe this song’s about harnessing the power of the party anthem, recognizing the power and ecstasy that accompanies the playing of the perfect party song at the perfect party moment (think of the feeling you get when you hear “Uptown Funk” at the right time of the night). But this song itself is not one of those party anthems. Unlike a party anthem, this song recognizes not only the power of the party anthem, but also the fleetingness of it – it acknowledges that the joy of the party is something that must be consumed quickly, “before the moment’s gone”, as lead singer Alex Turner says.

 

“Grove St. Party” – Waka Flocka Flame

If Waka’s around, you know “it’s a party, it’s a party, it’s a party, it’s a party, it’s a party, it’s a party.”

 

“Party All the Time” – Danny Brown

A Danny Brown song named “Party All the Time” sounds like a recipe for a great time. Turns out this description couldn’t be farther from the truth. “Party All the Time” follows the life of woman whose life has been torn apart by partying. She’s dropped out of college, had a string of meaningless one-night stands, and picked up a drug habit. Danny Brown’s uncharacteristically somber delivery of his lines helps highlight the bleakness of her situation. When partying becomes a constant routine, the highs are non-existent and the lows ever present.

 

“My Party” – Kero Kero Bonito

Kero Kero Bonito starts this song by inviting the listener to come to her party. It’s an invitation that’s hard to refuse. This party seems hella fun. She’s got everything: the biggest sound system in the world, the DJ who spins all the tunes, cake, jelly, and ice cream.

 

“I Don’t Want to Spoil the Party” – The Beatles

A party is only as fun as the people you have around you. On “I Don’t Want to Spoil the Party”, John is missing one particular person and it’s showing in his mood. He’s waited for a couple drinks, and his girl is nowhere to be found. John can’t hide his disappointment, but being the courteous guy he is, he does not want his sadness to infect the party, and so, he leaves. He knows that “there’s no fun in what [he does] if she’s not there”. Heartache is something a party can’t fix.

 

So, what have we learned this week? Parties can be fun, sad, communal, dangerous, fleeting, and heartbreaking. Not exactly earth-shattering discoveries, but it shows that parties are a subject ripe for songwriting. Parties bring many different emotions out of people and harvesting these emotions results in a pretty varied group of songs.

Join me next time I decide to do this, when I pick another random word and talk about songs connected to it!

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