Whitney Houston, “I Wanna Dance With Somebody”
My friend (and former Atlantic colleague) Natalie Escobar recently tweeted about the exquisite joy of hearing this played at a wedding. It’ll still be a while before we’re able to safely do that, but the thought—and this electrifying chorus—certainly helps move time along.
Stevie Wonder, “Sir Duke”
Hitting shuffle on Stevie Wonder’s entire discography wouldn’t be a bad way to soundtrack a full weekend of cleaning. “Sir Duke,” with its layered references to jazz greats, is an especially uplifting place to start.
Donna Summer, “Pandora’s Box”
Like the rest of this playlist based on James Baldwin’s record collection, this Donna Summer song is a lush and immersive listening experience.
Prince, “She’s Always in My Hair”
It’s hard to believe this was ever a B-side (to 1985’s “Raspberry Beret”). As with many Prince songs, the guitar on this is contagiously vibrant.
Tarrus Riley, “She’s Royal”
This single from the reggae juggernaut Tarrus Riley isn’t all that old—it came out in 2006—but it conjures all the best elements of the genre’s earlier classics.
WizKid featuring Damian Marley, “Blessed”
At the start of the first verse, Damian Marley offers a simple reminder of the power of caring for ourselves when we can, even in the least glamorous ways: “Self preservation / Self elevation / These kind of things, they deserve celebration.”
Admas, “Wed Enate”
There’s powerful longing in Sons of Ethiopia, the recently reissued 1984 jazz debut from this D.C.-based quartet. This warm, gentle track is one of the LP’s best, a fact that could very well be explained by its title, which translates to “my dear mother.”
Kaytranada and VanJess, “Dysfunctional”
Let’s pick up the pace, shall we? On “Dysfunctional,” the R&B duo VanJess lends powerful vocals to Kaytranada’s characteristically complex production.
Alex Mills, “Want You to Want Me”
This throwback to ’90s Eurodance fills the air with a soulful, propulsive energy.
Clean Bandit featuring Jess Glynne, “Rather Be”
Something about this mega-popular song from the British electronic group evokes crowded, dirty dance floors—but the lyrics beg to be belted at unholy decibel levels, something I’d far rather relegate to the comfort of my own home.
Whitney Houston, “How Will I Know”
Not to be dramatic, but there’s never been a better karaoke track in the entire history of American music.
Johnny Gill, “My, My, My”
Congrats on making it this far! Now take a good look in the mirror that you’ve hopefully finished Windexing and appreciate how great everything looks while the sweet sounds of this Babyface-written ode wash over you.