Mitchell: “Remember when I told you everything I needed to know about fighting I learned from West Side Story?”
Jay: “Yea, so how’d that work out for you?
Mitchell: “Ah, I’ll let you know the next time I’m in a dance fight.”
I’ve stolen that great line from Modern Family at least two other times, so I figured I’d make it the subject of a quick post. Some great, danceable music has been part of 2010 and I thought I’d share with you a few highlights. Click to listen!
Goldfrapp – “Rocket” from Head First. If Olivia Newton-John recoved from a decade of plastic surgery to record a 1981 self-caricature it would be the first single from Head First. Maybe I just assumed based on Alison’s sensual 80’s hair on the airbrushed album cover that “Rocket” was some kind of phallic metaphor. Even more appropriate to the era of the space shuttle, it’s about shooting an ex-lover into space. Admittedly the chorus, “Oo oo oo I’ve got a rocket,” is so bubblegum my 5-year-old daughter requests it in the car. But the ELO swooshes in the background are irresistable.
Solid Gold – “One in a Million” from Synchronize EP. Maybe you’ve heard? Soft 70’s is the new black. There’s just not a lot Midlake has done that has ever gotten me on board, but I have been loving the restrained cheese from Minneapolis moodsters Solid Gold. Synchronize is smooth and soulful glam but “One in a Million” begs for a weary 3AM dance at some dimly-remembered after-hours bar. The EP includes a much-written about cover of Kenny Loggins’ “Danger Zone.” One reviewer called it “possibly homoerotic” which I can’t say I disagree with and has started to creep me out a bit.
Hot Chip – “Hand Me Down Your Love” from One Life Stand. Hot Chip mix a subtler groove, not all of them made to shuffle your feet to, but “Hand Me Down” certainly is. Coming right out of the chute at the beginning of 2010, there’s hardly a stinker on the entire album. OK, “Alley Cats” kind of sucks but this is a record that I just got deeper and deeper with all year long. Especially impressive are the Up With People-inspired “Brothers” and the gorgeous ballads, “Slush” and “Take It In.” Alex Taylor’s voice has never sounded more dynamic and controlled.
LCD Soundsystem – “Drunk Girls” from This is Happening. LCD Soundsystem and Hot Chip swap a lot of spit but really live in two different spaces. Both are critical darlings, but James Murphy breathes pretty rarified air in his pop trajectory. Seriously, he could release an album of fax noise and wouldn’t most of us buy it? “Drunk Girls” is destined to be a house party classic. The Spike Jonze video is hilarious and disturbing.
Sambassadeur – “I Can Try” from European. Maybe I have Olivia Newton-John on the brain but at certain moments Sweden’s Sambassadeur sound like ABBA covering Xanadu. Adding even more to the coctail, Anna Persson sings like a resurrected Kirsty MacColl. “I Can Try,” available for free download, is pure 80’s joy, although the equally entertaining “Stranded” which opens European is most evocative of ABBA. European is a great improvement over 2007’s Migration and is on my summer “must buy” list. It should be on yours, too!
See there, I threw out several without even touching Phantogram, this year’s Phoenix. Eyelid Movies is endlessly danceable, probably a Top 5 album for me this year, and deserves a separate treatment.