As vaccination rates increase and pandemic restrictions ease around the United States, we’re celebrating togetherness — the palpable, electric feeling of celebrating with others that’s begun to return to our bodies. This is a playlist to dance to (even if it’s still in the living room, while visions of the club come into clearer view).
Songs on this mix bring more than just a danceable beat. From disco diva CeCe Peniston’s “Finally” to the incomparable Whitney Houston’s “I Wanna Dance with Somebody (Who Loves Me),” the lyrics of even the most nostalgic hits can’t help but feel newly profound for revelers who’ve spent a long time waiting patiently. For those who associate Dua Lipa’s Future Nostalgia with the terrible year it debuted, it will be cathartic when “Levitating” transmutes from Zoom spin-class jam to roaring ’20s theme song. There may be tears in addition to sweat.
In between the un-sit-downable tracks, catch yourself humming the quietly ecstatic melodies of The Bird and the Bee’s cover of “I’m Into Something Good” and the Replacements’ “Can’t Hardly Wait.” The Meters and LMFAO lend the sorely missed, atmospheric energies of a New Orleans parade and a New Jersey pregame, respectively.
Alternative artists have thoughts on gatherings, too. The White Stripes can’t wait to have someone over, while Frank Turner doesn’t want to spend his whole life inside and the members of Cults really wanna go outside. Florence + The Machine’s “Dog Days Are Over” is an anthem of rejoicing, hard-won through suffering. It’s also a reminder that while we may not know exactly what’s next, the past year is over, at least. And the future is coming.
Even so, we’re still in a pandemic; for now, a risk assessment should probably accompany Prince’s “Let’s Go Crazy.” But feel free to live by his stirring sermon:
We are gathered here today
To get through this thing called “life.”