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Senior Year, 1995: Party Girl

by Philip Sherburne

Senior Year, 1995: Party Girl

About this playlist

The 1995 film Party Girl stars Parker Posey as Mary, a club-hopping, party-throwing firestarter with plenty of street smarts, but not enough common sense.

A downtown New Yorker through and through, she lives the nightlife to the hilt; when she discovers a love for library sciences, she throws herself into the subject with the same gusto, going so far as to re-organize her roommate's records according to the Dewey Decimal System. Her system is so inspired, it bears reproducing in detail:

300 Techno
310 Techno Mix
320 Techno Dream
330 Techno Rap
340 Tech-Noize
350 Mental Euro

400 Hip-Hop
410 Hip-Hop Mix
420 Super Hip-Hop
430 Pop Hip-Hop
440 Dead-End Hip-Hop

500 Rap
510 Sexist Rap
520 Political Rap
530 Adolescent Rap
540 Kid Rap
550 Old-School Rap

600 Disco
610 Disco Classics
620 Now Disco
630 Faux Disco
640 Crisco Disco
650 Frisco Disco

There are even color-coded stickers for additional data points: a blue dot means "especially good after 4 a.m."

Her roommate, Leo (Guillermo Diaz) a short, slick-talking DJ with the era's requisite pencil goatee, African beads, backward ballcap and Girbaud jeans is about as pleased with her meddling as you'd imagine. Making matters worse, he's just 20 minutes away from the most important gig of his life. "Yo, what happened?" he practically shrieks, his voice going falsetto. "You f**ked with my albums?"

"Give the system a chance," Mary calmly admonishes him, challenging him to name a record he needs for his set.

"'Mighty Real' from Sylvester," he says, pouting. She flips through her card catalog. "It's gonna be cross-listed under Disco Classics and Divas, Male." That shuts him up.

What follows is a scene that will have any crate-digger reaching for the pause and rewind buttons, over and over again. (At least, that was the case for this crate-digger.) In a burst of overdubbing, Leo reels off a dozen or so tracks: Pal Joey's "Hot Music," Jungle Brothers' "My Jimmy Weighs a Ton," Grace Jones' "Drive," Nuyorican Soul's "The Nervous Track," Ralphi Rosario's "You Used to Hold Me," even "Is It All Over My Face?", by Arthur Russell's disco project Loose Joints.

It's an amazing cross-section of downtown dance-music culture, rolling up disco, hip-hop and house music in a way that will resonate with anyone who went clubbing in New York in the mid-'90s.

In tribute to Mary, then, this Senior Year rounds up the tracks from 1995 that you might have heard at one of her parties, including songs from Deee-Lite, Ultra Naté, C + C Music Factory, Moby and CeCe Peniston along with all the tracks we could identify from Leo's list. File under Girl, Party and cross-reference with Cookie, Smart.