The music you hear on a night out can often make or break the evening itself. So when I was asked to organise the playlist for my office’s Christmas party, I felt a heavy burden of pressure being placed on my shoulders. With great power comes great responsibility, after all.
The Christmas songs take care of themselves, but for the rest of the night’s tuneage, a tough gig was in store. With the ages of an average office ranging in 40 years, the music tastes are bound to differ also.
Therein lies the challenge. What should be the balance between modern songs and classics? Added to that comes another dilemma: Do you go for all out cheese or bring some credibility to the table?
Either way, your reputation is on the line. As is the threat of moaning colleagues upset with what you’ve chosen for them. And lets be honest, a comeback of “you’re just not with it” to those complaining about the new Fontaines D.C. track getting an airing will probably do more damage than good!
You might also like...
If you’re in this boat, don’t fear. Here’s nine essential songs to get you started...
The Killers – 'Mr Brightside'
Seeing as it’s the most popular song of the past 20 years, how can you NOT have ‘Mr Brightside’ on your office party playlist? Picture the scene: you’re at the bar making awkward small talk with someone from HR when Dave Keuning’s iconic opening riff comes belting through the speakers - the perfect escape has been presented. You grab some lad from your floor you’ve barely spoken to and arm in arm begin screaming out Brandon Flowers now famous lyrics: “It started out with a kiss / How did it end up like this? / It was only a kiss, it was only a kiss”. The rest of the office joins in…because who doesn’t know this banger word for word? A complete unifier of a tune.
ABBA – 'Gimme Gimme Gimme'
Here’s a choice which doesn’t just cater for the older generations, but now also the new. Since the release of the Mamma Mia film (2008) there’s been a revival of the Swedish legends music in popular culture and even more so since the ABBA Voyage London residency was announced. Picking one song is hard: ‘Dancing Queen’ has the most Spotify streams (almost 850 million listens to date…) and ‘Voulez-Vous’, with its disco vibes, is also a legitimate shout. But there’s something about ‘Gimme Gimme Gimme’ which makes it their best party song - the pop icons most dancefloor friendly and hookiest anyway!
Blur – 'Girls & Boys'
Britpop is still such a referenced time in British pop culture and has to be represented on your playlist. One problem however - as ground-breaking as Oasis were, not many of their songs are universal dancefloor bops (you COULD save ‘Wonderwall’ for an end of the night singalong…). Which leads us to their mid ‘90s rivals, Blur. ‘Girls & Boys’ fits the bill perfectly. A funky bassline, drum machine and the singalong line “Girls who want boys / Who like boys to be girls” ensure an outstanding indie/dance crossover. Written about cheap package holidays in the sun, here’s a banger to get the floor moving and forget about the regretful weather outside!
The Weeknd - 'Blinding Lights'
It can’t all be golden oldies, so we need a modern song which everyone knows, well, unless they’ve been hidden under a rock the past two years. Step forward Abel Tesfaye (aka The Weeknd). You could’ve gone for Ed Sheehan's ‘Shape of You’, or Tones And I’s ‘Dance Monkey’, but remember, your credibility is at stake tonight (sorry Ed…). Dominating the charts in 2020, enough time has passed for ‘Blinding Lights’, the lead single from the Canadian singer’s After Hours record, to be accepted as fun choice again now the over-played sickness has settled. Those 80s synth-pop vibes are still utterly infectious!
A-ha - 'Take On Me'
If you’re looking for a slice of ‘80s cheese which still sounds amazing four decades on, then look no further than A-ha’s 1985 hit ‘Take On Me’. The single, which was the lead single from the Norwegian band’s debut album Hunting High and Low, was a global smash hit best remembered for director Steve Barron’s era defining live-action pencil-sketch animation music video. It’s a tune we call a crowd pleaser – an upbeat banger which everyone and their gran will happily jump around and sing every word too. And isn’t this what these parties are all about?!
Harry Styles – 'As It Was'
Love him or hate him, you can’t deny ‘As It Was’ wasn’t this year’s biggest song. It took the former-One Direction star to new levels of success you wouldn’t have thought possible for a young lad from Worcestershire (sorry Worcestershire…). It spent 15 weeks on top of the US Billboard Hot 100 chart, became the longest reigning number one for a solo artists in the 64 years of the chart and hit number one in 35 countries across the world. The new wave inspired track also revealed a more mature flavour to Harry Styles sound – a smooth jam ideal for these partying occasions.
Underworld – 'Born Slippy (Nuxx)'
Now for a credible dance classic bound to go down an absolute stormer. Born Slippy with its “Shouting / Lager lager lager lager / Shouting / Mega mega white thing” refrain is as perfect a drinking anthem as you can get, evoking a fun and sweaty night of alcohol excess. The feel-good tune, which reached number 2 in the UK Singles Chart in July 1996, is best recognised for featuring on the British classic film Trainspotting and now stands as one of the most euphoric and iconic dance anthems of all time. A guaranteed floorfiller to get the party goers hands in the air.
Eliza Rose and Interplanetary Criminal - 'B.O.T.A (Baddest Of Them All)'
This one may raise some eyebrows from the older members of the party, but if you’re seeking to raise the energy levels on the dancefloor, look no further than ‘B.O.T.A (Baddest Of Them All)’. The track, which DJ Eliza Rose intended to sound like nostalgic “bubblegum-tinged dance music”, blew up on TikTok over the summer. By September, the sassy house track became the UK's 1400th Number 1 single and Eliza Rose the first female DJ to top the charts in over 20 years. One of the hottest bangers of the summer and it’s still sounding amazing this winter too.
Dr Dre ft. Snoop Dogg – 'Still D.R.E.'
You can’t have a big ol’ party without a little bit of Dr Dre and Snoop Dogg now can you? The piano hook on ‘Still D.R.E’ ensures an instantly recognisable anthem and today this song stands as one of the greatest hip hop tracks ever produced. Even if you don’t know the exact lyrics in the chorus (“I'm representing for them gangstas all across the world / Still hitting them corners in them low-lows, girl”), it’s hard to resist the urge to belt them out anyway. One note of caution though: this is a sweary one so remember to add the clean version to your playlist if you’re worried about offending sensitive ears!
Or, if you're in the mood for something more outthere, spin the official Gigwise Christmas party playlist:
Grab your copy of the Gigwise print magazine here.