Let the Beat Build #22: September 2014
Diversions: LTBB #22 Diversions
“Kiss Me Again” - Dinosaur
KW: Dance music! It’s mostly what I listen to now! This has happened to me before! I like it! I read about this song in Love Goes to Buildings on Fire and it’s just as good as he said it is.
“Up For The Down Stroke” - Parliament
JW: Dance music, eh? Well, for whatever reason, this was the first song that popped in my head and I feel like I have to honor it.
“Dumb Disco Ideas” - Holy Ghost!
KW: Parliament is a vast collision of ideas sewn into real musical workouts. This is something like that, but overtly, and maybe less serious. Ha! I just called Parliament serious! A toast to the booty! Why am I using exclamation points! To me Parliament always sounded like dance plus R&B plus some shit I don’t know nothing about. But there was this slinky disco thing in there, right?
“Bounce” - Calvin Harris (feat. Kelis)
JW: Ever since you linked that Forbes article last month, I couldn’t get the top $ marquis dj’s out of my head. Bounce. $66m last year? Bounce. Plus, dance + R&B? Bounce. And this video from Vincent Haycock kind of encapsulates dumb disco. BOUNCE!
“Rock the Boat” - Hues Corporation
KW: I saw this video on a big screen at this frozen yogurt place, where, for some reason, they play music videos, half from the seventies, and the other half from very recently. The seventies stuff is usually pretty great. The recent stuff is usually pretty terrible. I was transfixed by this terrible video, back when video mixing and effects were new and neat. I don’t know what that headgear is about. This song probably isn’t appreciated as much as it should be. It’s deceptively simple, very well arranged, and came before disco got played out.
“Love Train” - The O’Jays
JW: There is a Rock the Boat commercial I can’t find, I think Pepsi Super Bowl 2000. But somehow it, and this song, always makes me think of this Mug Root Beer commercial which was so dumb and persistent that I eventually grew to love it. Maybe because rocking out by yourself is so fun that you rarely care if you look dumb or if it has external consequences. The Ad industry has really keyed in to that. But every time I flip a breaker switch or pull a hand brake, I sing Love Train inside my head. Power.
“Modern Love” - David Bowie
KW: Picture 18 year old me shout-singing this at the top of my lungs on a Saturday night on the 1/9 train. Snapple bottle full of Bacardi in one hand, hanging on to the train with the other hand, dancing like an asshole. That happened. That’s my love train. It’s amazing that anyone associates with me.
“Lovertits” - Peaches
JW: There was a time when Peaches was the patron saint of modern love. Or at least I thought she was. The time of Le Tigre. The time of Burning Angel. The time of Scissor Sisters. To quote AllMusic, “Peaches sounded like a Penthouse Forum together with Grandmaster Flash, Shirley Manson, and Charles Manson -- or just Justine Frischmann hitting her sexual peak.”
“Long Heels Red Bottoms” - Trina
KW: Oh we’re getting explicit. Well then, what’s good, what’s hood? I first heard this track through the wicked Nguzunguzu remix (Asma from Nguzu is my friend Asif’s sister) of a Trina track. Back when Trina first came out, you were likely to see me grinding to her nasty jams at a house party.
"Get Money" Notorious B.I.G. & Li'l Kim, Junior Mafia
JW: I'm hitting you with a tandem. A 1-2 punch. I'm leveling up on "explicit" while simultaneously slowing it down. For the lovers. I love how these two stories coexist. But also, this track gives Kim a unique opportunity to flex her chops with her brand of graphic ownership and agency over her sexuality. Male gaze? Surely. But auteurship? For sure. Producers can't write for artists like this. They write Thong Song, and Nicki Minaj shit. This is durty. But it's illustrative. It legitimizes itself in a way that we haven't seen often since. Including Li'l Kim's work since. KW: So many other songs reference this one.
“Go Bananas” - Joe Goddard
KW: I love that, almost twenty years on, B.I.G. is still providing fresh inspiration to musicians, and in surprising places. On one level, this is just fucking funny. On another, it’s a distillation of the dance floor fantasy, where there’s nothing immediately available to you except hedonism and running your game.
“Express Yourself” - Diplo (feat. Nicky Da B)
JW: 20 years later, Diplo, or this version of Diplo, is the 21st Century Fatboy Slim. Instead of hitting 3 notes, he hits like 8 notes. I was trying to find a song that felt like you were one of 12,000 sweaty body undulating at once. Then I remembered how removed from that feeling I am. Removed, but not fully disconnected. I have a sort of phantom-limb itch for giving myself up to an overwhelming other-state of sounds, lights and vibrations. That was my dance floor fantasy 15 years ago. Hedonism. Ha. Yeah. <drifts…>
“Suffah” - Gavin Turek feat. Rye Rye
KW: I’ve never been one of 12,000 bodies undulating. But when I am, I hope the other 11,999 are going bananas to some distorted, hard-to-pin-down, dance/pop hybrid like this one.