Anyone with an iPod and an internet connection can be a DJ these days. But people seem to think that it’s a very simple skill to throw a compilation of songs together and satisfy a large group of partygoers without a single bump in the road. This couldn’t be further from the truth. It only takes one lemon of a song to ruin a perfect collective mood.
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10. Wrong Song in the Wrong Place
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There are tracks like “California Love” that you can play at a party anywhere around the world, but it would really kill the mood at a dope shindig if a large group of local Bostonians had to sit through “New York, New York” in its entirety. Playing the wrong song in the wrong city/state/country can be a very sensitive situation depending on where you are. Imagine DJing a gig in Iraq and bumping "Born in the U.S.A." or James Brown’s “Living in America.” Not the best of ideas. Although this is highly unlikely, I wouldn’t put it past a few jackasses that inhabit this nation.
By the way, “We Built This City” is okay to play in any city.
9. Overly Sexual/Sleazy
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Not all party scenarios are perfect for some dirty R. Kelly-like R&B jams dripping with sleaze and sweat. It might be good to toss in a 2 Live Crew song at the end of the night, but dropping one of these extremely dirty tracks at the wrong place and time could be a seriously awkward moment for the DJ. If played at random, songs like “Pop That P***” and “I'm F***in You Tonight” can turn the cricket orchestra on instantly. Especially if it’s in a room full of people that just don’t get it and have never had the pleasure of experiencing Trapped in the Closet or anything related to the overly sexual R&B/rap scene.
Again, this move can pay off in spades if done correctly, but I only advise true professionals to execute.
8. Tiger Beats
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With hipster culture taking over the world, being random is a very easy road to attention and fame. I have heard so many wack iPod DJs do sets filled with horrifying teenybopper songs from the ‘80s and ‘90s just to be ironic but not commit to any music they actually think is good. They would rather play “I Want It That Way” just to get a laugh. It’s funny to play NKTOB’s “Hanging Tough” to a room filled with hammered hipsters wearing the boy band’s shirt that they purchased from Urban Outfitters that same day, but the only problem is that the song sucked when it came out and still does to this day. It has nothing to do with the music and murders the entire party. Any DJ that thinks it’s a good idea to toss in random 'N Sync or Backstreet Boys pop tracks in their set needs to be hunted down Hard Target-style as soon as they press play on their Shuffle.
7. The Ironic Pop Ballad
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From Celine Dion’s “My Heart Will Go On” to Peter Cetera’s “Glory of Love” there are most definitely enough of these songs to go around, but they should be used with extreme caution. The thing I could never understand is how a DJ doing a really solid job on the decks would throw one of these songs in the mix just to be ironic and jeopardize his entire set. It’s funny for about 4 ½ seconds, but then reality sets in and the awkwardness spreads around the room like the plague. It’s one of those ideas you have in your head that seems to be so genius at its conception, but it totally backfires when you see the faces of the people go dead on the dance floor. There is a time and a place for “Nothing Compares 2 U,” but I don’t think it’s when you’re trying to keep the asses moving.
6. Gloomy Tunes
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Even if you think you have the right crowd around you, playing an entire set of depressing tunes will always backfire in your face. It’s a party, so why in the hell do you want to play Jeff Buckley’s version of “Hallelujah”? Don’t be stupid. Think of others and stop trying to get emo girls wet with your sick Morrissey obsession. If you make them dance, they will come.
If you make the mistake of combining hard liquor with songs like “Perfect Day” and Gary Jules’ “Mad World,” it can only end in cult-like disaster.