I Wanna Funk: Disco In A Pop Landscape

There are three things that I love in this world: Kylie Minogue, beef jerky, and disco music. And two of those things often correlate. My mother often jokes that I should have been born to her younger sister, due to our love for the funktastic jams of the 70s. My childhood consisted of Donna Summer, the Bee Gees, and pretty much every disco tune you could imagine. The love I have for the sounds of yesteryear is reaching as the pop landscape revives disco in a fantastic way.

I don’t know who’s to blame for the state of pop music – but I’ll target Daft Punk, Nile Rodgers and Pharrell on their 2013 collaboration that dominated the airwaves. It seems with their Grammy award winning-smash hit, it changed the playing field. Granted, disco has occasionally made its appearance many times since the 70s, with Madonna’s “Hung Up” taking the disco revival to another level of fabulousness. The ABBA-sampled track sparked rejuvenation in the pop star’s career, so it’s no doubt that Confessions on a Dance Floor was a melting pot of disco and electronic music.

I still have no idea what possessed me to purchase Mark Ronson’s “Uptown Funk”. Perhaps it was the style it was presented in, and when accompanied by an outrageous video, it makes for a bop. The approach to it makes my inner diva want to dance. The lyrics, the funk, it is amazing! It’s a throwback to when I would dance around as a kid to the Bee Gees and Earth, Wind and Fire and be caught by my parents and get embarrassed by the whole spectacle.

Donna Summer would be proud that her longtime collaboration, Giorgio Moroder, is coming out with his first album full of solo material in thirty years! Moroder has enlisted Britney Spears, Sia, and many more artists to feature on his upcoming spring album. Of course, disco is a staple in the producer’s work so when he unveiled his latest single, featuring none other than Kylie Minogue, I jumped for joy. “Right Here, Right Now” is reminiscent of Daft Punk with a hint of Moroder’s knack for revisiting his famed era.

Speaking of the late Donna Summer, I am still in awe of her last album. Crayons was a blend of diverse music. Pop, reggae, folk, electronica, and of course, disco portrayed the colors of Summer’s life. “It’s Only Love” and “I’m a Fire” were standout tracks, each over seven minutes and a throwback to the lengthy tracks she released during her time with Casablanca. With the posthumous remix album put together in her honor, Love to Love You Donna revisited the queen’s repertoire with the likes of Afrojack, Holy Ghost!, and Moroder himself giving “Love to Love You Baby” a modern sound while remaining true to the original as well as an unreleased track from the dynamic duo.

Okay, so some of the songs may never achieve the status that “Last Dance” or “Stayin’ Alive” have and that’s alright. Disco music was a fusion of different people — namely women, black, Latino and LGBT individuals – creating a new world and that world was meant for good times.

Andie Castillo

20 something year old Texan. Queer. Walking disco ball. Wine enthusiast.

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