It was the music genre that dominated the greater part of the late ’70s, and while artists in the fields of punk and metal once dissed disco for its ‘cheaper’ electronic sensibilities, the genre has in fact lasted longer than its more ‘serious’ counterparts. Now disco is back – not only in commercial clubs but being regularly rotated on radio, from your typical ‘hits’ stations right through to your cooler, indie channels.
Blame it on those champions of the genre, Daft Punk, Giorgio Moroder, Nile Rodgers, et al, but whoever was mainly responsible for reigniting the disco spark over the past couple of years (possibly even Calvin Harris and Katy Perry with their infectious groove Feels?), its strains are being heard in new music by artists as diverse as Tove Lo and Paloma Faith, Wyclef Jean and LCD Soundsystem. Heck, even shoegazer Beck has injected so much squidgy synth into his latest single Up All Night, it stands proudly as definitive disco.
But nu disco is coming across as far edgier than its ’70s predecessors. Tove Lo may deliver shades of Andrea True Connection in the cutesy opening whisper of her new release Disco Tits, but soon enough she’s insisting that her “nipples are hard” and that she’s “high as fuck”, while Perth psyche-rockers Pond bastardise the disco aesthetic with – blimey – real drums and guitar on new single Colder Than Ice (clearly taking the piss out of the ’70s emo likes of Foreigner).
Whether it’s re-edits of decades-old songs (George Michael’s Fantasy, once a humble B-side to Freedom ’90, has just been remixed by Nile Rodgers), emulations of old-school grooves to appease the traditionalists (Guy Sebastian’s High On Me), or fresh-as-fuck takes on Philly strings and wah-wah guitars (Beck again), disco is finding its way back into the mainstream and on alternative channels, too.
But why should this brand of music that was written off as trite and disposable at its initial peak be so ubiquitous again? Well, while half the world is going through a global economic crisis, and while things are looking grim on the political spectrum, rather than wallow in the depressive state of it all, punters look like wanting to forget about the bad stuff and simply let their hair out. That said, donning afros while shaking our thang might be taking our current love for disco a bit too far… Antonino Tati
SIX NU DISCO TRAX WE’RE LOVING RIGHT NOW:
01. George Michael feat. Nile Rodgers – Fantasy (Sony Music)
02. Luke Million – Come Together (etc etc)
03. Tove Lo – Disco Tits (Universal Music)
04. Beck – Up All Night (EMI)
05. Michael Jackson – Blood On The Dance Floor x Dangerous (The White Panda Mash) (Sony Music)
06. Paloma Faith – Crybaby (Sony Music)