9 Songs That Would Make Great Theme Parties


Have you ever listened to a song and thought, “Hey, that would make a great theme party”? It’s a rare occurrence, but we recently heard Chumbawamba’s “Tubthumping” for the first time in a long time and were inspired to revive our pop-culture theme party series. This time, we’re featuring popular songs that have all the ingredients for a rockin’ theme party. Because — well, who wouldn’t want to be engulfed in a ’90s-tastic “Tubthumping” soirée? Check out our ideas for some David Bowie, Rolling Stones, and Pulp-inspired shindigs after the jump, and hit the comments to suggest more party-worthy jams.

David Bowie — “Heroes”

This one’s a costume party. Each attendee must arrive dressed as their favorite David Bowie persona, a superhero, or their own personal hero. So, by the end of the night, you should be surrounded by an assortment of Ziggy Stardusts, Batmen, and people dressed as their dads. What’s not to love? Oh, and in tribute to the line, “I, I will be king,” we encourage every “Heroes” party-thrower to dress as Jareth the Goblin King. Bonus points if you decorate your abode in this fashion or construct a scale model of the Berlin Wall where your romantically inclined guests can pose for kissy-face photos — and by “bonus points,” we mean “please invite us.”

The Rolling Stones — “You Can’t Always Get What You Want”

Have you ever wanted to play Yankee Swap in the off-season? For those unfamiliar, the holiday game is essentially Secret Santa, but players are allowed to snatch each others’ gifts — much like Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, and Brian Jones used to snatch each others’ girlfriends in the ’60s. Thus, by throwing a “You Can’t Always Get What You Want” party, you and your buddies can play Yankee Swap/Anita Pallenberg Swap/Marianne Faithfull Swap any time of year! Just tell your friends to bring a gift and enjoy as an evening of good old-fashioned tension ensues. It will be fun or miserable, depending on your own personal outcome. Oh, and don’t forget to serve wine and “cherry red” soda, of course.

Bob Dylan — “Forever Young”

Do you have a photo of your baby self in an especially stylin’ outfit? We’re assuming the answer is “absolutely,” so why not recreate your awesomely outdated getup and throw a “Forever Young” party? Everyone must dress as the younger version of themselves and provide photographic evidence. As for the rest of the party, the decor, playlist, and beverages should be in accordance with your childhood decade of choice. So, can any of you fine folks hook a girl up with this, uh, timeless sweater?

Chumbawamba — “Tubthumpbing”

When it comes to a “Tubthumping” party, the lyrics are your guidebook. Drink whiskey, vodka, lager, and cider. Dress like it’s 1997. Make a mix of songs that encourage reminiscences of “the good times” and/or “the best times.” If you happen to fall down from the aforementioned alcohol, get back up again. Ladies and gentlemen, that’s how you throw a Chumbawamba party.

Pulp — “Common People”

For a “Common People” bash, attendees have the choice to dress like the ever-stylish Jarvis Cocker, like their own interpretation of a “common” person (or, if you prefer, a wealthy type impersonating a “common” person), or, if they’re adventurous, like William Shatner. The party should resemble the ones implied by the song, where people will “dance,” “drink,” and perhaps “screw,” because “there’s nothing else to do.”

Bruce Springsteen — “Dancing in the Dark”

Are you ready for a black light party? Everyone should wear as much red, white, blue, and denim as possible. Provide glow sticks, glow paint, and plenty of room to dance. Since we all know by now that “you can’t start a fire without a spark,” spend some time outdoors with sparklers. As with any Springsteen-themed party, this one will seem a lot like the Fourth of July, but with more dancing and more darkness, naturally.

R.E.M. — “It’s the End of the World as We Know It (And I Feel Fine)”

Happy 2012, folks! Since “It’s the End of the World as We Know It” is essentially a bunch of nouns strung together, peruse the lyrics and pick something for your costume. For example, one could dress as a bird, a snake, an airplane, Lenny Bruce, a jellybean, a hurricane, Leonard Bernstein — you get the gist. We recommend throwing this party on December 21st.

The Cranberries — “Zombie”

If you’re more into the zombie apocalypse than the 2012 phenomenon, you can trade the “It’s the End of the World as We Know It” party for a “Zombie” party. Attendees should dress up as — you guessed it — zombies. Don’t forget to serve cranberry cocktails and Yodels!

Duran Duran — “Hungry Like the Wolf”

This “hungry” party is a potluck, so each attendee should bring a prepared dish to be shared. The dress code should go along with the line, “I’m on the hunt, I’m after you,” so party-goers can come costumed as certain carnivorous animals, Elmer Fudd, zombies (again), or anything else that might apply.