Mariah Carey debuted disco throwback song "You Don't Know What To Do" (from Me. I Am Mariah...The Elusive Chanteuse) earlier on Today. This is exactly the kind of stuff she should be making. If this is a single, it could be the song of the summer (or at a personal summer jam favorite). You've been warned.
Though it's as chic as a marching band and demands that you do that dorky dance along to it (a dance without any acknowledgement of one's hips, no less), perhaps you are like me and find the Village People's 1978 disco anthem "Y.M.C.A." endearing anyway. A feat of subversion that is still routinely played at the heterosexual pride-oriented outings better known as sporting events, the song has kids from 2 to 92 obliviously pantomiming letters along to barely veiled lyrics that tell of public man-on-man butt sex in the insanely debauched pre-AIDS era. In terms of gay culture penetrating the mainstream without the mainstream's knowledge, "Y.M.C.A." stands virtually alone in its reach and stealthiness (though Madonna's "Vogue" comes close—ball culture reached as far as Stephanie Tanner).
It's just a coincidence that LGBT History Month occurs during our culturally appointed Scariest Time of the Year—it’s positioned to coincide with National Coming Out Day (October 11) and to commemorate the first National March on Washington for Lesbian and Gay Rights, which took place October 14, 1979, not with All Hallow's Eve.
Daft Punk's Random Access Memories emphatically exploits pop music's reliance on context. It's been eight years since the French house pop-crossover critical darlings released their last full-length album, 2005’s Human After All, which was initially a considered a disappointment. In that span, Human's furious pummeling and caustic textures went on to influence the prevailing style of house music more than any other single work of the past 10 years. If their prescience wasn't enough to bring Daft Punk back into the good graces of their audience, surely their 2007 live show performed on a mesmerizing light-up pyramid was.
I missed this when DFA released it last month (I'm blaming the holiday crunch), but I'm so glad that I finally caught up on this seemingly "White Horse"-inspired offering from YACHT. It's hard to tell if they are merely achieving or lampooning this pitch-perfect "downtown New York" affect (made more hilarious because the band is from all over the place), but there are dozens of examples of retro-obsessed, disco-inflected songs from the past decade that wish they sounded this good. Claire L. Evans' monotone delivery giving way to that sticky hook is diabolical. And those strings. And the way that some words come with an effect to make them sound like they're being sucked into outer space. And don't get me started about the way the song fakes its own death, only to come roaring back.
Today sees the release of Vicious Lies and Dangerous Rumors, the second proper solo album from OutKast's Big Boi. Its strength is its sonic adventurousness — in addition to the Southernplayalisticadillacmuzik you'd expect, there are forays into rock (guest appearances include Wavves and Phantogram), Princely Linn pop, balladry, weird atmospheric shit and, in the case of the track above, cosmic disco (or, at least, as close to a commercial rapper has ever come to the subgenre). The implicit showing off — Big Boi is so good, he can span genres without a stumble — hits harder than any stated boast. This is a subtle and persuasive new chapter for brag rap.
This recent salute to disco-inflected yacht rock via DFA's Surahn has the contrived retroism of Instagram. Thus its fuzzy, washed-out video is perfect. It also sounds like the kind of music that I imagine the male line drawing from the original Joy of Sex would play, so the cover art for Surahn's upcoming EP is perfect.
The music of Norway's disco-and-then-some producer Hans-Peter Lindstrøm is often designed to make people move, which falls in line with his own refusal to stay in one place for too long. In addition to sleek, spacey disco, he's dabbled in folky territory, he's done Kraut-y stuff and earlier this year he released an insane album, Six Cups of Rebel, that had the freaked-out maximalism of Parliament Funkadelic and/or a carnival.
Brooklyn's Midnight Magic is a nine-piece contemporary disco band, complete with a horn section and a theatrical frontwoman, Tiffany Roth, whose combination of chops and camp resembles an off off off Broadway Bette Midler. Their debut album, Walking The Midnight Streets, is out today (via a PledgeMusic donation) and includes their best-known song "Beam Me Up," which has knocked around for over a year, though it sounds like it's been decades.
This is an understatement in terms of what's happening outside and it's a love song, anyway, but I don't know — it seems pretty appropriate regardless.
"Starlight," the debut single from Brooklyn disco revivalists Escort is now 6 years old, but no less relevant than it was upon release. Part of it is its nailing of disco chic (and post-disco synth squiggles), part of it is that after releasing a string of singles, the act finally released its debut last year, thereby reintroducing the song. And the newest part of it is that it's been remixed for the band's upcoming Escort Remixed, out Oct. 16. The compilation collects some already released mixes as well as some new ones, like the RAC remix of "Starlight," which we're premiering today. This beefs up the track with a more Italo-indebted bass line, while retaining the sharp strings and Adeline Michele's lush vocals. It breathes new life into a track that has shown no signs of dying.