Dance Music: it ain’t what it used to be…

“Music sucks these days”…my dad used to say that growing up. When he was younger, the quality of music was directly related to the skills of the musician. Don’t get me wrong, I admire the musical talent of many of the rock artists of the 60’s and 70’s. I’m not precisely a fan of the genres, but I will certainly never argue that those musicians were talented. I grew up on late-90’s-early-00’s pop – the point when Lou Pearlman was pumping out teen pop stars like Coke from a vending machine, computer-based recording studios were only just starting to leave the minority, Autotune wasn’t quite yet a thing, and dance music was still pressed on vinyl.
This gem of a song was released in 2003, and I’d argue, amongst the best remakes of a song ever done. The synergy here between Phil Collins, Deborah Cox, and Valentin is something that’s rare form. I’m fortunate enough to have this track on vinyl, though I’m not a purist – I won’t argue that my pressed vinyl sounds better than the CD. Either way, between this, Airwave, and Silence, you’ve got three pillars of dance music of the era that manage to evoke emotion in the process of giving a soundtrack to a dance floor. Honorable mention to Peter Luts’s take on Castles in the Sky.

My previous post on “Outside” is about as good as it gets in recent years, and as much as EDM is mainstream now, it seems much more clearly “template based” than earlier tracks. Sure, quantized, four-to-the-floor rhythms made digitally aren’t quite a drumming pattern that would showcase Ringo Starr’s talent, but the blend with the synths is much more symbiotic than today. Many “remixes” I hear today are basically the album edits with the 16-bar instrumental section in the post-chorus changed out.

There was a scene in a recent episode of Minority Report where the protagonist’s mother commented about how there was more human interaction in the good ol’ days of Tinder than in the present day of the series (the 2050’s, I believe), where people in clubs tap bracelets and get a “green light” or a “red light” before ever exchanging words.

My dad waxes nostalgic of the glory days of actual guitar playing. I wax nostalgic of the glory days of air synths that involved a modicum of composition prowess. I cringe at what my niece and nephew will consider to be the ‘good ol’ days’. Then again, my dad probably feels the same way.

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