18 September 2006

Party Like It's 1989

As some of you may have noticed, I am not terribly hip.

I mean, even though I live in New York City, I occasionally hang out at the mall. It's a fancy mall, but still. No amount of Aveda hair whip can mask the stank of an eighth grade pastime.

But I have fun, dammit. And that brings me to today's topic.


Last Friday, Andrew and I celebrated our friend Topher's birthday at Culture Club. For those who don't know it, it's entirely 80s-themed. The walls are covered in big painting of Ferris Bueller, Madonna, and the like, and there's a DeLorean hanging from the ceiling.

If you opened up my head an examined the inner walls of my skull, you'd see they're decorated in just the same way.

Better still, Culture Club's playlist is almost entirely devoid of remixes. Instead, you get 80s songs with their original lyrics and melodies in tact. And the remixes that are played still bear a strong resemblance to the originals. You can grab your specialty cocktail--cleverly punning on names like George Michael or Banarama--tear your eyes off the televisions that loop old videos, and head to the dance floor for a few songs you actually recognize.

And you know what? Good! I hate--yes, I said hate--dancing to mind-numbing, repetitive techno. For me, the anonymous thumpa-thumpa massacres the potential for fun.

That's probably becasue when I dance, I want to pay attention to the songs. I want to be able to sing along, act out the lyrics, get excited for the key change. I don't want my dance music to be in the background.

I know there are millions of people who disagree with me, and that is totally fine. Y'all go ahead and have a great time with your 12-minute dub mixes and what have you. I'll be at Culture Club--or, frankly, in my living room--going wild to some original Taylor Dayne.

Don't like it? Tell it to my heart.

Or at the very least, tell it to my blog.



At 8:58 PM, Anonymous AdamH said...

I don't have much to say except I remember being shocked that Taylor Dayne is white. I *so* thought she was black. Madeleine Peyroux is the same way.

At 12:11 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mark I'm soooo with you. You basically just spoke my mind. Next time we hang out (you still owe me a martini, ps), we're dancing at this club you speak of. Where is it??? -- Jason Fitzgerald

At 12:11 PM, Anonymous kalle said...

Well, yes and no. Sure, it's fun to party with your friends and sing-along to catchy pop songs, but because the songs are often so centered around the singer, you can't really get "lost" into an 80's pop tune in the same way as some, um, house? dance? music (the sub-genres drive me crazy). I agree that most of the 30-minute-a-piece long, entirely monotonous techno/trance isn't very fun, but... think about Fatboy Slim or Chemical Brothers: they have that kind of hypnotic sound and beat that just forces one to the dance floor and just to sink into the music. I wouldn't mind dancing to a 20-minute remix of, say "Private Psychedelic Reel" or "Right here, right now"...

Also, when dancing to un-remixed pop songs, you only get some 3½ minutes to get into a tune and then it's changed and there's a great chance that you don't like the next song as much. (I'm quite sensitive when it comes to music that I like/don't like to dance to ;o)

And no, I honestly can't express my views shortly.

At 1:08 AM, Blogger Mark Blankenship said...

I agree about Fatboy Slim and Chemical Brothers have a hypnotic sound, but even there I prefer the short, radio-edited burst of "Right Here, Right Now" or "Hey Boy, Hey Girl."

And I see your point about not wanting the next song to be a letdown, though I don't feel the same. Personally, I love the thrill of knowing the next song is about to begin. That moment of anticipation is delicious, especially when it gets rewarded whith a great song. Hearing the first few notes of something I love gives me an energy jolt, especially when everyone in the room is equally excited.

With 10 minutes songs, I don't get that excitement. My energey tends to sag as I hear the same thing over and over.

At 1:03 PM, Anonymous kalle said...

Maybe it is a mood question: if you're in, say, a birthday party with a bunch of friends and family, it definitely is more fun (and appropriate) to dance to rock and pop songs that everbody know and love. It's very exhilarating to do silly moves, act out the lyrics and all that. There's the element of togetherness and everyone feels very happy.

But then there are (or were) times when one parties alone. Goes out to town to see, what's going on. You're happy, but kind of introvert, just wanting to enjoy the atmosphere, dance and not care about anybody else. That's when longer remixes or just otherwise lengthy house (or whatsamacallit) music suits just fine. It sort of helps one to "surf" on top of the music, or as I mentioned earlier, to get lost in your dance/music-sphere. (No, I don't do drugs) All this is, of course, a matter of personal preference, but all I'm saying is that remixes and repetitive dance music can have their time and place, even though they aren't necessarily the best party-party-with-friends music.

And yes, the anticipation of the next song is a thrill - as long as you manage to get a suitably long "winning streak". But if they play "Blame it on the boogie" to get you to the floor and then the next one is something like "Never gonna give you up" (don't know if Rick Astley was any big in the US), and you want to go back to the bar, it is very bad for the "dance-mood"...

At 9:42 PM, Blogger Mark Blankenship said...

Kalle, I'm so glad that you made your point. I can absolutely imagine the mood you describe and understand how the techno beat would be the perfect soundtrack.

Honestly, I've never felt that way... at least not in a dance club, so I'm glad you were hear to offer the alternate point of view.

However, I must quibble with one of your statements. "Never Gonna Give You Up" will ALWAYS put me in a dancing mood. In fact, it was one of the highlights of the night at Culture Club that inspired this post. I mean, come on! Rick Astley was soooo cute. He was actually one of my first crushes.

At 9:43 PM, Blogger Mark Blankenship said...

And yes... I saw the typo in the comment above. Sigh...


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