Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Turn it around. And around and around.

Everyone hated Disco. It's a fact. Seriously, no joking, millions upon millions of albums were purchased by: a band of interplanetary pranksters, angels, demons, parallel universe interloping shenanigazers, the CIA, or two or more of those groups working in concert. They are also responsible for the popularity of the movie Saturday Night Fever. If you think you have seen it, you're wrong, that memory was planted in your mind, it's not real. Since everyone knows that every American has always and continues to hate Disco, anything that one might find Disco-esque, or even quasi-Disco; must either be redefined and euphemized as something different, or it must be rejected. Michael Jackson's Thriller? Dance music, R & B. Ninety percent of UK exports from the year 1983 to the present? Dance, Trance, Pants, WhateverTF you want to call it, just don't call it Disco. Britney Aguilera, Kylie Minogue, Spice Girls Aloud, Destiny's Chris Brown, Madge, Usher Timberlake; it's all dance/party/R & B/Pop - no Disco here.

All joking aside, Disco was, is, and will continue to be popular, and even its most vehement detractors have at least one Disco song that they not only like - they frickin adore it, even if they would rather be caught dead hanging from a rope with their johnson in their hand than admit it. Throw out some song names and soon they start dropping their denial like a wireless call in the tunnel. Sheesh, half the people my age have difficulty holding still at just the mention of KC and the Sunshine Band, uh-huh, uh-huh, I like it. Throw in not-traditionally-defined-as-Disco Disco songs, and nobody makes the cut.

It really isn't anything to be so ashamed of, it's more sheep mentality than anything else. A tricky peer pressure principle, "That which is popular is denounced by all the real individuals". So, you know, if you really are one of the cool kids you hate anything popular, which will make you popular, which, apparently, is a bad thing, so go figure why someone would want to be popular. My head hurts. The point was supposed to be that Disco is kind of fun, and for kitsch sake or otherwise, people like light-hearted bebopping groove music. Why they are self-loathing about it to the point of denial is a tricky self-deception that most likely remains a mystery even to those that practice it.

Let's face facts, Disco affected everything, and you can blame the sexual revolution, cocaine, Nixon, it doesn't really matter - Disco changed the way people dressed, what they ate, it was omnipresent in its influence. When was the last time you wore your lime green leisure suit to a fondue party? The best illustration however, is how established Rock 'n' Roll acts glommed on to Disco's selling power. The Rolling Stones? Yes, they sold out to corporate sponsorship before the 1980s ended; but they sold away part of their integrity to Disco even longer ago. Tell me "Start Me Up" isn't a Disco song and I'll believe you think that, but you'd be wrong. Rod Stewart? C'mon sugar, let me know. Kiss? Hey, maybe they were made for lovin' you, baby. Van Halen? Summer is here, and the time is indeed right for dancing in the street. A case could be made that ELO wasn't all that far removed from Disco to start with, but really, they jumped in neck deep before it was over. Prince? An androgynous dwarf humping a guitar does not make it funky enough that it isn't Disco. Rick James? A cocaine-fueled sexual predator in thigh-high leather boots is not quite funky enough to make it not Disco. Even the Douchebaggy New Wave music of the early 80s; Culture Club, Duran Duran, all that other crap that we would now call EMO crybaby music - if it wasn't just repackaged Disco I guess I've missed something.

If you want to hate an entire genre of music, Techno is available. Disco music without the soul of real horns and percussion. Ugh.

The point of all this? There is no point, it's rhetorical; it's a rant. If you want to take something away from it, I suppose I would be happy if just one person came away from this embracing their inner Disco Duck. Go to your favorite file-borrowing site, get that one song you let play all the way through when you're alone, but you switch away from with disdain when anyone else is around. You don't have to play it where anyone else can hear it, but you deserve to get some joy out of life - this is not a rehearsal. The rhythm is going to get you, so turn the beat around and celebrate good times. Come on.

-- Baron Von Suckhausen