Everybody knows it ain’t really a party unless there’s tunes, but knowing what album to play at a party has become increasingly difficult. We live in a world of downloadable singles, streaming services and independently curated playlists. “Who listens to albums anymore?” your guests might say, at which point you sternly reply, “I do.” To help ease the tension of this awkward moment (or perhaps to avoid it entirely), the staff here at Goliath have taken some time to wrangle up 10 incredible party albums that you can play the next time you’re entertaining, and we promise we’ve got something here for whatever kind of gathering you’re hosting. Rock, funk, ’80s and even electronica, we’ve got it all, so turn it up and tune in to Goliath’s 10 greatest party albums.
10. The Sound of Silver (LCD Soundsystem)
Released to rave reviews circa 2007, LCD Soundsystem’s The Sound of Silver is most definitely worthy of the acclaim it received. The second studio album released by the band, The Sound of Silver sees James Murphy and his gang of misfits taking their dance/punk act to the next level, with track after track of quality electronica (that isn’t really electronica anyways) that we can’t help but love despite our general adversity to the genre. That’s what makes LCD Soundsystem so great; even if you aren’t a fan of house/club music, it’s easy to see the talent and skill involved in crafting tunes as complex and cascading as the ones featured here. The Sound of Silver, which features successful singles like “All My Friends” and “Someone Great,” is one of those albums that may render some party guests suspicious at first, but we promise by the end of the album they’ll be sold on what they’re listening to. A great album to start any party off on the right foot.
9. Born in the U.S.A. (Bruce Springsteen)
Ain’t no party without the Boss, right? There’s never been a more rousing song than the opener to this album, Born in the U.S.A., which rates as Springsteen’s most commercially successful album (although not his most critically acclaimed). “Born in the U.S.A.,” which is often misread as a celebration of American values rather than an indictment of them (as it’s meant to be…listen to the lyrics outside the chorus and you’ll understand that this song is actually Springsteen pointing to the problems with American ideology, not its benefits), is sure to have your party guests howling along, and there’s more than enough familiar tracks and synthesizer laden material here to keep the party going. With a good mix of fast/slow and hard/soft, Born in the U.S.A. is a familiar album that will play in most any environment and to any crowd; after all, we find it hard to believe that anyone would have bad things to say about Bruce. He’s America’s most treasured songwriter (take that, Bob Dylan!).
8. Dynamite (Jamiroquai)
We’re of the mind that Jamiroquai, the funk/jazz band from London, England, known best for their outrageous costumes and slick dance moves, are historically underrated from a musical perspective. While the band has taken some flak over the years (mostly due to their absurd nature and a somewhat steadfast refusal to diversify their sound), they’ve produced some quality tunes that sure as hell keep us moving and shaking, and that’s exactly the kind of music we want on at a party, right? Dynamite, the sixth studio album from the group, sees them playing exactly the kind of funky, disco-esque acid jazz they’ve become known for. Tracks like “Feels Just Like It Should” and “Dynamite” are absolute crowd-pleasers, and the group’s incorporation of more advanced production techniques and a bit more sonic diversity than we’ve seen from them before are just a few of the reasons why Dynamite is an apropos choice for a list of party albums. If you haven’t already, pick up a copy of this great album and watch your party come to life when it comes on.
7. Get Born (Jet)
There’s something admirable about a band who doesn’t try to deny their true nature, who care little about commercial success and just focus on making tunes that satisfy them and their fans. That’s how we feel about Jet, the Australian rock and roll band who burst onto the scene in 2003 with their debut album, Get Born. Far more than the album that contains the smash single “Are You Gonna Be My Girl?,” Get Born is a stellar musical endeavor that features some of the finest 4/4 rock that’s been produced in the past 30 odd years. It ain’t complicated, it ain’t pretty, it’s just damn good rock and roll. That’s about all you can ask from a solid band these days, and that’s about all you can ask from an album to play at your party. Seriously, this one’s a keeper, and one of our all time favorites. You’ve definitely heard songs like “Cold Hard B–tch” and “Roll Over D.J.” before, but quality deep cuts like “Get What You Need” will also keep your party rocking.
6. Sign O’ The Times (Prince)
Prince’s first solo endeavor after the dissolution of Prince & The Revolution (which gave us the always appreciated Purple Rain), Sign O’ The Times is a critically acclaimed album that features more of Prince’s signature mix of funk, soul, rock and pop than we’d ever seen from the diminutive musician before. Fortunately for both us and him, it works in a wholesome sort of way that leaves you with a sincere appreciation for Prince’s musical capabilities. A stellar album that spawned three top 10 hits and gave the world songs like “If I Was Your Girlfriend,” Sign O’ The Times remains one of Prince’s most successful albums and also one of his best. It’s exactly the kind of thing we’d like to hear were we to attend a function of any sort.
5. Greatest Hits (The Cars)
We already highlighted the incredibly underrated Jamiroquai on this list, but one could make the argument that The Cars, the American rock/new wave band from the late 1970s and early 1980s, are equally underrated. Now, we don’t normally like placing greatest hits albums on lists like this, but due to their unique sound and string of awesome singles, it makes sense for a band like The Cars, who never put together a single great album but rather should be listened to in the same way one might listen to Aerosmith or Queen (other Greatest Hits sort of bands). The Cars, whose singles “Just What I Needed” and “My Best Friend’s Girl” will undoubtedly seem familiar to the ears, made a living mixing traditional rock and roll sounds with the new wave sensibilities of the 1980s, resulting in a satisfying mix of pop and rock that’s never been duplicated.
4. Discovery (Daft Punk)
There’s not much to be said about Daft Punk that hasn’t been said already. The dynamic duo who hail from France have been making quality dance music since the early 1990s, but it wasn’t until the release of 2001’s Discovery that they truly broke through to the mainstream. A shift in sound which saw the band experimenting with more sounds than just the house music staples they were known for, Discovery is an album so good that people forgot to care that they had no idea who was under those colorful masks (we’re betting they were too busy dancing to care). Discovery, which features familiar tracks like “One More Time,” “Harder Better Faster Stronger” and “Face to Face,” is one of the definitive dance albums of its generation, and of all the albums on this list it’s likely the one that’ll get even the most stubborn individuals up and dancing in no time.
3. Live at the Apollo (James Brown)
There’s no man who can bring the funk like James Brown, and that’s why he’s slotted in here at number three with his iconic album Live at the Apollo. Consistently cited as one of the greatest live albums of all time, you can practically hear the blood, sweat and tears Brown leaves on the stage at this storied theater as he works his way through some of his best known tracks (and some of his lesser-known ones). A surefire party starter that’ll fill a dance floor in no time, Live at the Apollo rates so highly on our list due to Brown’s insanely funky grooves, its old school cool and the recent resurgence of the funk genre as a verifiable form of musical expression (and man, are we glad funk is back). You could easily substitute this live album for most any of Brown’s studio work and not be disappointed; as it stands, we prefer to hear the Godfather of Soul in his most raw, elemental form.
2. Is This It (The Strokes)
We’re firm believers that you can play Is This It at most any moment in your life and it will be appropriate; we also believe that there’s few songs that’ll rouse a chorus like “Last Nite,” a track so insanely uplifting and instantly recognizable that your party guests are sure to belt it out next to you by the time they’ve had a few beers (or simply some good conversation). But “Last Nite” is just the tip of the musical iceberg, as Is This It (one of the most influential rock albums of the past quarter-century) has plenty of crowd-pleasers and plenty of deep cuts that are sure to keep your party rocking into the wee hours of the night. The album, which juxtaposes Julian Casablancas’ deadpan vocal delivery and Albert Hammond Jr.’s light, upbeat guitar riffs, was (rather, is) immensely popular, and we’re willing to bet more than enough of your guests will know the words to tracks like “Is This it,” “Soma” and “Someday.” And really, aren’t parties better when everyone knows the words to the songs you’re listening to?
1. Feed the Animals (Girl Talk)
When it comes to Girl Talk, the now-legendary mashup artist who burst onto the scene with incredible albums like Feed the Animals, we’ve only got one question for you: why have just some of the most popular songs in history playing at your party when you can have all of the most popular songs in history playing at your party? Because that’s what Girl Talk offers. The DJ, who makes music out of preexisting song clips generally relegated to 20 seconds or less (so as to avoid copyright infringement and the like…seriously, the guy is a genius), did his best with on 2008’s Feed the Animals, an album that takes the best pop music has to offer, mashes it seven ways to Sunday, and spits it back at audiences with a ferocity that we wouldn’t have thought possible from an artist expressing himself with somebody else’s creative endeavors. We’ll be the first to admit we were suspect at first; however, all it takes is one listen to this amazing album to convince most listeners that this guy is the real deal, and so is his music. Next time you’re hosting, drop the needle on this one and just let it spin. Nobody will be disappointed, we guarantee it.