dance songs for weddings

Uptown Funk-Bruno Mars

Bruno Mars and Mark Ronson’s collaboration of “Uptown Funk” won the “Album of the Year Award” for the 2016 Grammys last night even though it feels like it’s been around for two or three years. The very first time I heard it, near the end of 2014, I was dazzled by its unabashed homage to 80s and 90s R & B giants Earth Wind & Fire and Morris Day & The Time. The prominent staccato Earth Wind & Fire horn line is as memorable as any of the lyrics. The groove, as well as the all-male dance line, is a loving tribute to Morris Day & The Time’s 1990’s “Jungle Love.”

However, Mars wasn’t finished in his loving tribute to the great funk music of the 80s & 90s. His performance at last month’s Super Bowl keeps all the elements of his original recording but adds a musical and visual homage to MC Hammer “U Can’t Touch This” and James Brown’s “Get Up Offa That Thing.”  The dance moves and baggy pants are a direct, loving nod to MC Hammer’s “U Can’t Touch This.” The new bass line provided a more subtle nod to the undeniably identifiable James Brown classics. To Marc Ronson’s credit, he humbly thanked to great George Clinton, and his group Parliament-Funkadelic, as well as the late, great Earth Wind & Fire’s Maurice White during last night’s GRAMMY AWARD acceptance speech.

Bruno-Just The Way You Are

Bruno Mars is clearly emerging as the ultimate Pop Music Maestro of the 21st century. The man is a hit-making machine, and will hopefully keep churning them out, and performing them with his charismatic charm and astonishing dance moves. The best thing about Bruno Mars, missing in so many young Pop performers, is that he clearly LOVES what he’s doing. No matter how enjoyable it is to watch this remarkable sensation, he always seems to be having a better time than us.

Keep going Bruno. I can’t wait to see what’s next.
-Doug

Wake Me Up-Avici

There’s something catchy about this song that’s hard to quantify. It starts out with a lazy guitar riff, and sounds like the beginning of a country song. But it gains momentum and by the time you hit the chorus, “So wake me up when it’s all over….”, the dance floor’s packed. The song just works. As with just about every other great dance song it’s easily “sing-alongable.” If that’s not a word…it is now. Check it out.

Rather Be-Clean Bandit/Jess Glynne

‘Rather Be” by the British band Clean Bandit, featuring the omnipresent Jess Glynne,  is a terrific dance song. Following the rather unique violins opening the song, an electric piano takes over the rhythm, along with the drums and bass. However, throughout the whole song there are many truly interesting orchestration choices, which is very rare today when entire songs are done on synthesizers. Even the harmonies on the chorus really fatten up the sound of this really great dance tune.

“Rather Be” gets people dancing, right from the violin introduction. Give Clean Bandit’s hit a shot at your next party. It’s a guaranteed dance floor hit.

Here are some of the lyrics:
We’re a thousand miles from comfort, we have traveled land and sea
But as long as you are with me, there’s no place I’d rather be
I would wait forever, exalted in the scene
As long as I am with you, my heart continues to beat
With every step we take, Kyoto to The Bay, strolling so casually
We’re different and the same, gave you another name, switch up the batteries

If you gave me a chance I would take it
It’s a shot in the dark but I’ll make it
Know with all of your heart, you can’t shame me
When I am with you, there’s no place I’d rather be
N-n-n-no, no, no, no place I’d rather be
N-n-n-no, no, no, no place I’d rather be
N-n-n-no, no, no, no place I’d rather be

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This one is a clear winner. A terrific crowd pleasing dance hit at any party.

Leave a comment to let me know what you think.

 

 

Bills-LunchMoney Lewis

This terrific dance song is, arguably, an infectious “love-it-or-hate-it” piece of music, especially if your taste runs on the traditional side. But I do love it!  For starters,  when was the last time you heard a real piano on a pop dance hit? Let alone a really, really funky piano on a pop dance hit? Add a great jazz “walking” bass line, “gospel” drums and genuinely funny lyrics? For me and a lot of my clients, it’s a song that makes you want to get up and dance. The catchy, repetitive chorus is so beautifully simple that people can sing along before they’ve heard it for the first time.

Here are the lyrics:

I got bills I gotta pay
So I’m gon’ work, work, work every day
I got mouths I gotta feed,
So I’m gon’ make sure everybody eats
I got bills!

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At the very least, “Bills”  is an incredibly fresh sounding song, using real instruments instead of simple layering synthesizers on top of synthesized drums. I love the “feel” of this song.
Check it out, and let me know if you don’t at least have a smile on your face.

Leave a comment and let me know what you think.
Doug

Ain’t It Fun-Paramore

“Ain’t It Fun” by Paramore is a fabulous dance song. It works terrifically well to get you and your friends up dancing. The accompanying video actually fits the lyrics perfectly. This song is called “Ain’t It Fun,” so instead of showing some heavy “green screen fantasia,” it merely shows the three lead members of the band….having fun. Those three are actually Hayley Williams, Taylor York and Jeremy Davis.
I actually wanted to go out and smash a clock with an electric guitar the first time I saw the video. Musically, I love that the repetitive 5-note guitar riff doesn’t just fade out after the intro. It keeps repeating throughout. It’s just a really fun song to play and judging from guests’ reactions at parties, it’s really fun to dance to.
Even the lyrics, which are sometimes completely inconsequential in a pop dance song, are funny, in a thoroughly appropriate though sarcastic way.

I don’t mind letting you down easy but just give it time
If it don’t hurt now, but just wait just wait a while
You’re not the big fish in the pond no more
You are what they’re feeding on
So what are you gonna do when the world don’t orbit around you
Ain’t it fun living in the real world
Ain’t it good being all alone
Where you’re from, you might be the one who’s running things
Well you can ring anybody’s bell and get what you want
See it’s easy to ignore trouble. When you’re living in a bubble
So what are you gonna do when the world don’t orbit around you
So what are you gonna do when nobody wants to fool with you
Ain’t it fun living in the real world
Ain’t it good being all alone……

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The unison fade out is just dripping with sarcasm as well:
Don’t go crying to your mama, when you’re all alone in the real world.

I love this song. Don’t let it “bum you out”.  It’s definitely an independence anthem and a bit edgy, but the song is bold and its guitar riff is irresistible. And that makes it a can’t miss winner on the dance floor, and a great song to work out to.

Enjoy. I’d love to know your reaction to this song…..Doug

 

 

 

 

 

Baby I-Ariana Grande


I have loved Ariana Grande’s voice since I first heard her sing “The Way” three short years ago. There is no doubt that she has astonishing vocal technique and reminds everybody of a young Mariah Carey. But there is something fresh and exciting about every song Ariana sings. Her videos are alway upbeat, with her showing off her dimples, and proving beyond a doubt that there are an amazing amount of great hip-hop dancers in L.A.

“Baby I” brings her to a new level, by actually adding a genuine jazz-infused, Earth, Wind & Fire orchestration. The way she sings over, around and through these deceivingly complicated chords is extraordinary. And the ease with which she manipulates her voice to reach incredible heights is so effortless, that I am convinced she’s easily got the best voice I’ve heard since a 19 year old Whitney Houston.  

Plus, it’s a great dance song, and a blast for a band to play:
Enjoy

Baby I got love for thee so deep inside of me I don’t know where to start
I love you more than anything but the words can’t even touch what’s in my heart
When I try to explain it I be sounding insane the words don’t ever come out right
I get all tongue tied and twisted) I can’t explain what I’m feeling And I say baby, baby
Baby (baby I)
Oh baby, oh baby, my baby (Baby I)
Oh baby, baby I (baby I)
All I’m tryna say is you’re my everything baby
But every time I try to say it words they only complicate it
Baby, baby (Ooh oh)
This is a great pop song in it’s purest sense. It actually brings comparison to Natalie Cole’s “This Will Be.” But I guess I’m not the only Ariana Grande fan around. The video above has had over 127 million views as of today.
Let me know what you think,

What Do You Mean-Justin Bieber

I suppose that it’s time to acknowledge the existence of Justin Bieber as a legitimately solid force in contemporary music. The cover of the March 2016 issue of GQ pronounces “LET US NOW FORGIVE JUSTIN BIEBER.” His song “Sorry” is the first of twenty-five listed on last Sunday’s New York Times Magazine cover story titled “25 SONGS THAT TELL US WHERE MUSIC IS GOING.” The kid is getting harder and harder to ignore. After being discovered singing covers on YouTube, he started a bidding war between Usher and Justin Timberlake over signing this once unmoored but ever-blonde, sweet-voiced (with the face to match) teenager to a label. He really does have a terrific voice, despite spending more time being the lead story on TMZ, intent on fostering his partying, wannabe gangsta’, tattooed bad-boy image than he does in being thought of as a serious artist. But I’m here to praise “The Biebs”… not to bury him.

So… “What Do You Mean?” is a really great, thoroughly pure pop song. So is “Sorry.”  And so is “Where Are U Now”the first three releases off only his third studio album.. It’s no longer an embarrassment to say you enjoy Justin Bieber’s music. Things could be a lot worse. He hasn’t shaven his head like Brittany Spears, or become a complete career-destroying cautionary tale, like Lindsay Lohan. 

If being annoying is the worst thing you can say about him, I’ll give him a pass. The kid from Stratford, Ontario has a great look (he’s actually pretty in that compelling androgynous way) and is acknowledged as a legitimate global sensation. Born in 1994,he won the AMA for Artist of the Year at the age of 16, and did it again two years later, at 18. In 2016, he just won his first Grammy, for Best Dance Recording – “Where Are U Now.”

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While I can’t say I’m a total, true “Belieber” quite yet, I say it’s time to give the kid a chance. I must admit, the first time I really paid attention to him, and genuinely started to like him, was on his two “Carpool Karaoke” appearances with James Corden (who has an uncanny ability to make any performer seem like his best friend.)

Leave a comment and let me know what you think.
-Doug

Let’s Stay Together-Maroon 5

True R ‘n B devotees might have me kicked out of the “Hipness Club” for daring to play Adam Levine’s delicate version of Al Green’s 1971 “Soul” classic “Let’s Stay Together.”  Green’s original is spectacular, and well-loved, having been viewed over 72 million times on YouTube. However, for a wedding procession, a song has to be stripped down and be able to be played delicately by two musicians, while still honoring the Al Green original. Adam Levine is one of the few male vocalists with the vocal “chops’ to pull off this song without losing any of the soulful simplicity of the original.

My bride for this weekend….well, not my bride….but you get the idea, Alexandra,  and I spent countless hours on the phone and sent each other dozens of emails laughing about which 90s dance hit would/could sound appropriate for a Wedding Processional without sounding goofy.

As a pianist and arranger, I assured her that I could make any song sound melodic enough for a procession.  I’m pretty sure we spent the most time laughing, yet seriously considering TLCs “No Scrubs” the longest.  She finally landed on Levine’s arrangement for the simplicity of the instrumentation, while retaining Al Green’s iconic melody. We both think it’s a great choice. Personally, I’ll always maintain that choosing any song that actually “means” something to you as the bride or the groom, you can never go wrong.

Leave me a comment to let me know how you feel.

Signed Sealed Delivered-Stevie

Last Sunday, my band, Best Kept Secret, and I had the privilege of performing at a benefit for White Plains Hospital  being joined on stage by the amazing singer/songwriter Javier Colon at a benefit for White Plains Hospital/Mariano Rivera Celebrity Event and Golf Tournament. Javier is best known for winning the first season of The Voice, coached by Adam Levine. When, I asked him what he’d like to sing with our band, Best Kept Secret, he suggested two Stevie Wonder classics,“Signed Sealed Delivered” and “I Wish.” It was an extraordinary experience with Javier singing lead with Best Kept Secret backing him up. Most memorably was the four part harmonies created at the end of Signed Sealed Delivered.

Since everyone has heard the original, I wanted to share this delicate duet by Ariana Grande & Kenneth Brian “Babyface” Edmond. Babyface has written and produced an astonishing 26 #1 R ‘n B hits, and 23 year old Ariana has a remarkable voice that brings comparison to 90s icons Whitney Houston & Mariah Carey

I normally print out the lyrics to every song I “blog” about. But I think it’s safe to say that everyone alive knows, at least, the chorus, if not every lyric. Here’s just a taste…

Like a fool I went and stayed too long
Now I’m wondering if your love’s still strong
Oo baby, here I am,
Signed, sealed delivered, I’m yours

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Stevie Wonder is nothing less than a musical genius.
Leave a comment to let me know what you think.     -Doug