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a little night music music for your party pleasure by Yee-Fan Sun | 1 2 3
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music to sip cocktails by
Prime candidates for cocktail music have just two requirements in my book: the music must be sexy, but unobtrusive enough that it won't get in the way of good conversation. Anything that gets you kinda swaying your hips without you really thinking about it is perfect. Jazz/swing staples are the obvious choice -- you can't go wrong with a little Ella Fitzgerald -- and good when you're hosting a very mixed crowd that includes guests both old and young. But when I'm in the mood for something just a little less, well, stodgy, I like to throw on these albums (also good for dinner parties, gettin' romantic, and more )

David Holmes Let's Get Killed | DJ/ producer David Holmes has made a fine little side-career for himself scoring movies, including Out of Sight and Ocean's Eleven. No guarantees that popping Holmes' jazzy-cool Let's Get Killed album into the ol' CD player will make you and all your guests hot as George Clooney, but hey, it's worth a shot.
Pizzicato Five | Too-cute Japanese electronica pop with a vaguely space-age vibe. All of the albums make for perfect cocktail party music, but I'm particularly fond of Happy End of the World and Made in USA.
Ultra Lounge series | Throw on any of the Ultra-Lounge CDs and you'll instantly feel like the glamorous star of some 50s TV show or 60s spy flick. I'm particularly fond of the leopard Sampler, which comes in a way cool plush animal-print package.
Wagon Christ Musipal | Funky chill grooves that are accessible enough that they won't completely alienate your mainstream music-listening friends, but still feature plenty of musical invention to appease the most serious of music snobs.

music to dance by
Dance music's the trickiest, as it tends to date itself pretty quickly. Some of my favorite shake-your-booty albums from five years ago, for instance, seem sort of cheesy to me now (I figure it'll take another four-five years before those albums make the transition from just plain cheesy to retro-cheesy cool, at which point they can go back into the party rotation). Choosing the right dance music also depends so much on your crowd; some folks won't boogie down to anything that they don't already know (this is when it's best to stick to 70s and 80s dance pop classics -- you know, your typical wedding DJ stuff), while the hipsters tend to sniff their noses at anything that has the faintest whiff of the mainstream. 

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