10 Albums That Would Make Great Theme Parties


A couple of weeks back, our esteemed Deputy Editor Judy Berman passed a Friday morning by looking at a selection of movies that would would make for great theme parties. The idea catalyzed much intra-office discussion, and it also got us thinking about similarly party-friendly concepts from elsewhere in the world of culture. One area stood out in particular: music! There are loads of albums that’d make for good theme parties, records that carry a strong visual aesthetic and/or create a whole little world of their own. We’ve collated a selection of music-related ideas for our next theme party after the jump — what are yours?

Parliament — Mothership Connection

There ain’t no party like a P-Funk party, and the outrageous style cultivated by George Clinton and co. throughout the ’70s should give you plenty of inspiration as far as both costumes and general decorations go. Basically, the more flamboyant the better — crazy wigs and sunglasses, epic platform boots, gold leaf, fur, spandex, jewelry, ancient Egyptian knick-knacks… just keep an eye on the punch to make sure no one slips acid into it. If you need further inspiration, we recommend reviewing this rather erudite essay on P-Funk mythology. Either way, we call dressing as Star Child.

David Bowie — The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars

Sure, this one is kind of obvious, but there’s rarely been a record with a stronger visual aesthetic than Ziggy Stardust. Glam basically started here, and there are few genres that lend themselves better to dress-up parties than glam — glitter, satin, jumpsuits, lots of make-up, silly ginger mullets, you name it. You won’t need to provide much food — milk and red peppers should do the trick. And actually, you can probably reuse some of the gear you assembled for your Velvet Goldmine party. Result!

Fields of the Nephilim — Nephilim

On a similar genres-that-lend-themselves-well-to-dressing-up kick, what about goth? Fields of the Nephilim are as gothic as gothic gets, and they’ve also got a pretty distinctive Dead-Man-meets-Crowley style that you can ape if straight-out inverted crosses and eyeliner aren’t your thing. Also, there’s a noticeable Lovecraftian influence here (both “The Watchman” and “Last Exit for the Lost” make reference to Cthulhu calling), so if the local costume shop has had a run on gothic paraphernalia, you can always go as a Shoggoth!

The Polyphonic Spree — The Beginning Stages of…

Robes are awesome. An entire party full of people wearing robes is even more awesome. Especially if it’s in an apartment decorated to look like this video. Don’t forget the mushroom tea, eh?

Lou Reed — Transformer

Gowns, lovely, made out of lace. And all the things that you do to your face. You’re a slick little girl. You’re a slick little girl. Eyeliner, whitener, then color the eyes. Yellow and green, ooh, what a surprise! You’re a slick little girl. Oh, you’re such a slick little girl!

Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds — Murder Ballads

So many possibilities to choose from! Are you going to be a victim and go as Dead Kylie from “Where the Wild Roses Grow,” or Dead Nick from “Henry Lee,” or poor Mary Bellows from “The Kindness of Strangers”? Or are you going to embrace your inner murderous lunatic and go as Lottie from “The Curse of Millhaven,” or killer PJ Harvey, or good old Stagger Lee? Or, if this all sounds too hard, get yourself a pink thrift-shop T-shirt, stencil “Take That” on it, and go as “Stagger Lee”-video Cave. Easy. (Oh, and for God’s sake don’t play the video above at work.)

Gogol Bordello — Super Taranta!

As anyone who’s ever seen them live will attest, Gogol Bordello make for a good party, themed or otherwise. But it makes sense to embrace their flamboyant sense of style as well as their music. Costumes are easy — you can either go all out with an approximation of one of Eugene Hutz’s outrageous stage outfits, or just make it easy on yourself by wearing purple. Just make sure there’s lots of vodka and marinated herring.

Village People — Macho Man

Actually, now that we think of it, we can’t believe that no one we know has ever thrown a Village People party. This is the sort of thing that keeps costume shops in business! We shouldn’t really need to tell you what to do here, save to say that if you’re planning on going as Glenn “The Biker Guy” Hughes, you’ll probably want to start growing your mustache well in advance — handlebars that convincing don’t just appear overnight.

Gorillaz — Gorillaz

Three-dimensional interpretations of two-dimensional worlds are a tricky business, but we’re sure you could have all sorts of fun trying to dress up as 2D, Murdoc, Noodle, and Russel, not to mention trying to recreate Jamie Hewlett’s post-apocalyptic environments in your apartment. Reckon you can get away with setting up a plastic beach in the lounge room? Go for it! Just don’t blame us if the water in the wading pool ends up soaking through into the apartment below…

Beastie Boys — License to Ill

A big house. Absent parents. Cream pies. Need we say more?