Welcome to Utterly Inane List Time. Because as i tour the Western US i find myself in bars, over imensely well crafted beers, having utterly inane and thoroughly enjoyable conversations about such ridiculous things as the best (and worst) songs that have their own dance routines built it.
The Macarena wuld be the obvious example. Except i’m not putting the Macarena on my list. It’s not that i never sing it, i actually sing it all the time, almost always as a method of torture to drive a person i’m singing it around completely nuts (probably a good 5th of my waking hours are dedicated to just such pastimes). Thus let me state this list is not at all comprehensive. There are many i’m leaving off which fill the criteria but which i don’t actually care about. Here are songs that kind of have their own dance moves attached to them for one reason or another which i kind of like in some regard:
10. The Charleston
It would be criminal not to begin with one of the all time classics. This song is almost a century old and you STILL know it and the basic hand swing move. It’s the grandma of all dance craze songs, from the roaring 20s when your grandma or great grandma was a randy party machine.
9. The Loco Motion
And then there was the 50s, when a whole bunch of these crazy new dance fads sprung up for 2 minutes. Loco Motion however not only was a pack leader in the 50s but had a second, even third life, just as big when it was remade not only by Kylie Minogue in the 1980s but Grand Funk Railroad in the 1970s.
This song brings up an interesting question: what if a dance is tied to the songs through a movie? Shout is a classic piece of 60s R&B, but it is a staple at weddings and bar mitzvahs because of the 1970s comedy mega classic Animal House. Because of that movie, we all know how to dance to the song. The song may not have been born with the dance, but the way to dance to it is forever engrained.
7. The Hustle
And speaking of the 1970s… The disco era had so many little dance oriented songs we could have filled this list with only 70s songs. I include this because it’s so adorably cheesy and I love the little walking moving this song has you perform, even if you’re just sauntering down the street.
6. Staying Alive
Debate raged fierce over this song. Here’s the logic of including it: the song does not in and of itself come with built in dance moves. It is however forever entwined with Saturday Night fever and Jophn Travolta beging discotastic. BUT, he never actually dnaces to this song in the movie. And YET, the song has come to signify the movie and the disco dancing within. When it plays, you will immediately pull out every disco move you know, especially the john travolta “point and the sky, point at your hip.. Shoot at the sky, holster your weapon”. It’s tied to the movie Saturday night fever, but because of this movie this song automatically makes everyone who hears it start dancing the most shaggadelic, polyester, valour 70s disco moves you got. It comes culturally connected with a set of dance moves now and cannot be unconnected.
Moving into the 80s. Now, instead of a film sedimenting dance moves, along comes the music video. And was there any bigger video in the 80s than Michael jackson’s Thriller? No. There was Thriller and Take On Me and they rule the decade. While you could argue Take On Me popularized the Altered States “slam yourself against the walls” move, I would argue that even more so, it made everybody do they zombie dance at some point when they hear Thriller.
4. Walk Like An Egyptian
One could technically argue that the Egyptian dance move originated with the Steve Martin 70s novelty song King Tut, but it is Walk Like An Egyptian that immortalized it. I garauntee you, the number of people under… i don’t know, let’s say 40 who remember King Tut? Okay, looking at there at the sea of hands… right. I got all 3 of you. Number of people who can sing along in some capacity to Walk Like An Egyptian? Right. And we all know, when it plays, you do the Egyptian arms.
3. Harlem Shake
I could have chosen The Ketchup Song. I could have chosen Gangham Style. There are plenty of post 00 options, but i’m running out of list space and i can only choose one. So i’m going with Harlem Shake. Because it’s funny as shit. And it illustrates the new, modern method: the internet meme. The song doesn’t come with the dance moves, and yet the internet has memed a …. dance style into existence.
All right, enough with the going through the years. These last two are THE reigning kings of songs that come with their own dances. I mean, YMfuckingCA. It is the King. No other song comes close. Everyone around the entire world knows the dance. Babies in Mongolia are born knowing it at this point. It’s officially in the Jungian Collective Unconsciousness.
1. The Time Warp
But since it’s my list, my preference gets to be number one. You can whine about why Vogue isn’t on here (sorry, ran out of list space) but number one is The RHPS’s Time Warp because 1. It’s Awesome. 2. Rocky Horror Picture Show is awesome. 3. You get to butt fuck. 4. It’s just a jump to the left. 5. Seriously, if you can’t understand it, you should just go now.