Buzzkill: Top 10 Worst School Dance Songs – 2022

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Annabelle Frazer, Features Editor

It’s officially homecoming season! You know what that means. Local malls flooding with stressed-out teenagers clamping onto their parent’s credit cards, uncomfortable shoes with heels that snap before you even reach the dance floor, and everyone’s personal favorite – dodging the awkward hallway proposals conveniently prompted within the two minutes we have to get to class. OMG! You got me a cardboard sign from the dollar tree sloppily decorated with clumps of chunky plastic glitter? OMG! You forced your mom to sketch the handwriting for you? How thoughtful and original!

 

As if these aren’t enough to completely demolish the spirit in spirit week, there’s always one more thing to set everyone off the edge and make you wonder, “why do I do this every year?” 

 

The DJ of the school dance, typically between the ages of 19-45, (depending on your school’s budget) holds the fate of the entire night’s mood in their hands. If you’re lucky, you get someone with a mind relatively similar to the student body, meaning they will play songs known and liked by the attendees. But, on the strangely common occasion that you find yourself stuck with a DJ dressed in a tracksuit from 1997, you might as well walk out the doors and head to the nearest fast-food place. I promise you the nighttime crowd at McDonalds will be far more entertaining than any Rick Astley song justified as a “throwback.”

 

If you on the other hand find yourself unexpectedly DJing a high school dance, first things first, I’m terribly sorry. Honestly, I’m not even sure how you get yourself into that situation to begin with. However, you definitely don’t want to be that person that gets booed off stage by a bunch of breathless high schoolers. Lucky for you, I’ve used my brilliant music taste to create a list of songs you should avoid at all costs. Seriously, avoid them. Like, as if your life depended on it. 

 

Anywho, here are the top 10 worst songs you could possibly play at a school dance. 

 

 

      1. “Timber ft. Ke$ha” – Pitbull

 

Is this a country song? No. Is it a rap song? No. Is it a pop song? Maybe? This song has miraculously found a way to make everyone question what genre it is. The options are endless, yet none of them seem to fit. The worst part about this song isn’t the lyrics, or the beat, or even the artists. (Although I’d never expect Mr. Worldwide to sing a song about falling trees.) What ruins this song within the first 3 harmonica notes are the flashbacks to Just Dance (2013) when this song was the game’s biggest hit. Imagine trying to sing along with your friends and drink some punch, when out of thin air the two people that have somehow retained the exact choreography swing directly into you and  your group. Do-si-don’t ever attempt this one

 

 2. “Dance Monkey” – Tones and I

 

Explanation: Search the song name and press play. No further explanation needed.

 

         

 

 3. “Closer” – Chainsmokers

 

Ah yes, nothing more relatable and romantic than a song about cars you can’t afford and mattresses stolen from past roommates. If those two things don’t put you in the mood to dance, try the first few lines of the song. “Tell your friends it was nice to meet them, but I hope I never see them again.” This sounds like a very high-quality, emotionally available guy that everyone should be head over heels for. By all means, keep staring into your date’s eyes as you both sing about ghosting each other for 4 years, then meeting up in a hotel bar. Setting the bar high, I see.

 

 

     4. “Macarena” – Los Del Rio

 

Alright, I might be a bit biased here. I don’t have any valid reason for despising this song, other than seeing my 6th grade science teacher completely letting loose when this hit came on during the Winter dance. But a slight pet peeve regarding this song is the fact that nobody ever knows the direction to start. It makes for a very awkward 10 seconds dancing face-to-face with someone because one of you swayed the wrong direction. Also, Macarena is nearly 30 years old. At what point do people stop playing this? You don’t see folks doing the jitterbug much anymore. 

          

     5. “Cha Cha Slide” – DJ Casper

 

What is this, Field Day in 5th grade? The Walk-A-Thon? Much like Macarena, nobody ever knows what direction to start. Then comes the issue of making sure everyone on the dance floor spreads out properly to avoid colliding into each other. Also, it’s a bit alarming how many people still can’t seem to differentiate their right and left. Everyone knows that this song is just a sad replacement for the Cupid Shuffle. Take it back now y’all, all the way off the dance floor.

 

     6. “Single Ladies” – Beyonce

 

I get it, we are trying to empower women who lack the company of a partner. It’s a nice message, but that’s not what’s important. When this song is played, there are 3 groups which people tend to split into. The first group being the most obvious, are the single and proud. They make their independence known across the room, and you soon get the memo of why that is. The second group are the girls who have studied and perfected every single dance move from the music video, but are never, ever in sync with one another. Finally, there’s the third and final group. This group is typically the largest, and consists of all the boys awkwardly standing around, wondering what they should do, and why their dates seem to be part of the first group. That’s gonna be an awkward car ride home. 

 

 

Now, we get into the slow songs. You know, the songs that are either really nice, really awkward, or a steady combination of both. The good news is that whether you have a partner or not, these songs provide a much needed break from the hour of jumping up and down in claustrophobic clumps previously endured.

 

       7. “Traitor”- Olivia Rodrigo 

 

Olivia Rodrigo is wonderfully talented, there’s no denying that. There’s also no denying that “Traitor” is an amazing song which will undoubtedly leave every teenage girl uncontrollably sobbing by the time the final chorus rolls around. But is that the sort of vibe we want for this magical, romantic and not-at-all awkward moment? Save the tears for later, when Taco Bell closes early to avoid the post-dance surge.

 

 

 

      8. “All Of Me” – John Legend

 

Once again, a beautiful song with an unbeatable melody. However, take one look at the lyrics, and you’ll see the issue. He can’t seem to mention one thing he loves about her without also mentioning her faults and flaws. Nobody wants to be innocently dancing with their date, then be bombarded with intrusive thoughts provided by the lyrics of the song. All of me? Be honest, you’re dealing with high schoolers. They’re lucky if they receive 25% of effort max.

 

 

       9. “Every Breath You Take” – The Police

 

Yeah, yeah, yeah, Stranger Things featured this song during the Hawkins Middle School Dance. In 1985. Just because it was popular then, doesn’t mean it needs to be popular now. Listen, I absolutely adore oldies and throwbacks, but is it not obvious what the context of the song is just by the lyrics? “Every step you take, I’ll be watching you.” Yeah, that seems completely normal and not like a cause for concern at all. If I’m dancing with someone, I’d like to be thinking about what food-chain is still open, not whether or not I should file a restraining order.

 

 

       10. “Cotton Eye Joe” – Rednex 

 

As always, I saved the best for last. Cotton Eye Joe, while a classic, never fails to send a shiver down my spine within the first two seconds of the song. One last time, how hard is it to know which way to face? This song usually falls towards the end of the night, and the last thing I need is for people to see me hopping around with one shoe, frizzy hair, and mascara melting down my face. Stay in your own lane, so we can get this wannabe squaredance over with, and I can make my way to IHOP.