What pop music was for the ‘80s and ‘90s, dance music has become for the new millennium. Dance music has changed the climate of the music industry, and revolutionized a movement across the world. No longer limited to European discos, the allure of rave culture has engrossed international music-makers, and capitalized on the chic, progressive lifestyle of those inhabiting metropolitan cities.
This year, in particular, has become known by many music critics and enthusiasts as the year of electronic music, with DJs like Kaskade and deadmau5 demanding six figures per gig, and festivals like the Electric Daisy Carnival inspiring tens of thousands of fans to take over one arena for dancing and related revelries. Artists of all genres are finding ways to mesh electronica into their sound, exploiting a global interest to escape the drudgery of the times with the uplifting beat of pulsating sound. And then, of course, there’s the remix, which has arguably become more important than the original record.
In honor of the worldwide movement, BTR has put together a list of staff favorite dance tracks. Make a playlist and dance.
Matthew Na Sal: Confusion “New Order”
“If I liked dancing, or even could dance, it would be a great track for doing so.”
Tinatin Japardize: DJ Smash “Moscow Never Sleeps”
“Although it was a big hit in Russia, the appeal of the track transcends beyond the Russkiy borders and shows that concepts such as the Iron Curtain particularly in music and entertainment, as a whole are slowly but surely becoming a thing of the past.”
DJ Wynn: James Brown “Get Up Offa That Thing”
It worked at a Halloween party, and I have faith in its powers during other holidays as well.
DJ Laura: Keaton Simons “The Medicine”
“New song from LA-based bluesy artist Keaton Simons proves that even singer/songwriters can get the crowd moving. “The Medicine,” on Keaton’s upcoming album due out in early 2012, has such intense power. The heavy guitar parts propel you into motion and the brilliant lyrics are delivered so intensely; a truly therapeutic rockin’ good time!”
Audrey II: The Knife “Pass This On’”
“It’s weird and a little scary, but still totally danceable. A great dance song doesn’t have to be your typical club anthem.”
Marcus Parks: Skulk the Hulking “This Commercialism Sure Means Business”
Out of body experience insane and it makes me want to bang everything in the entire world. In other words, everything I want in a dance track. Here’s the video, which also features members of Murderfist, the best damn sketch group in the city:
Matt DeMello: LCD Soundsystem “Home”
“It was the first dance song to have a measurable impact on my life’s direction. Those final words: “No one really knows what you’re talking about so I guess you’re already there/And No one opens up when you scream and shout but it’s time to make a couple things clear/If you’re afraid of what you need, If you’re afraid of what you need/Look around you, you’re surrounded/ it won’t get any better”. Those were harsh words to be told if you weren’t where you wanted to be in life, but as Murphy knows you can’t let a song relent on it’s most basic appeal (to get you to move despite the overwhelming truths of life) unless the groove is good enough. Underneath that very personal message in one of his best-woven drunken night narratives, yes the groove is quite good enough.”
Jess Westberg: “Probably some Latin jazz..Buena Vista Social Club. Hall & Oates. or Otis Redding.”
Britt Sondreal: ABBA “Waterloo” and Foster the People “Pumped Up Kicks”
ABBA is oft-underestimated for their complex melodic and harmonic structures, being dismissed for their cheesy lyrics… which is true. But isn’t that part of what makes a great dance song: uncomplicated lyrics with a driving beat, and catchy hook? If so, I think ABBA had that formula down pat. Right now, I’ve been obsessed with “Pumped Up Kicks,” by Foster the People, like pretty much everyone else in this country. Again, catchy hook, driving beat, repetitive lyrics (though, I was surprised to find, actually kind of violent). I cannot not dance whenever I hear it, in all it’s multitudinous remixes and mutations. Also, almost anything by Fitz & The Tantrums – they have that whole Motown soul thing perfected, with a modernized polish on it… pretty irresistible.
DJ Madalyn: Arcade Fire “Lies”
“It’s a cliché now, but it had just come out my freshman year of college. I was at a big dance party at our school’s indie music venue. It came on and everyone went nuts. It was the first time I remember feeling like I finally fit in because of my favorite music, instead of despite of it.”
Kory French: “The Adventures of Grandmaster Flash on the Wheels of Steel”
“Do I really need to explain more?
DJ RePete: Gaudi “Back To Baia”
“There’s something seductively random about this track but with a predictable, simplistic repetition that makes it easy to dance to. The bass guitar is masked by the the almost video game-esc soundfx, which add for a dreamy effect with a penchant for getting lost in. Channel mixing makes this track equally fun to listen to in headphones, and dance on your own, wherever that may be: headbobbin’ in a chair, or walkin’ about with an added dance to your step.”
DJ Drew: David Bowie “Let’s Dance”
“Because Bowie is god, and when he tells me to do something, I do it!”
DJ Wayne Ski: Dennis Ferrer “Hey Hey”
“This record works at any party!! ALL OVER THE WORLD. Form clubs to skating rinks this joint is heavy!!!”
Garbriel Bly: Devo “Uncontrollable Urge”
“Q: Why is it my favorite dance song? A: They are Devo!”