… AT THE DISCO

Karen Young: Deetour (Party Mix edit)
From Horse Meat Disco (Strut, 2009)

Disco is such a tricky genre. People love to hate it. After its supposed death, though, artists still trod forward trying to find that nice dance groove. It was a cash cow, after all. 1982 saw Atlantic still trying to push out the disco hits, even though, for the most part, the genre was on its way out. This Karen Young track has a catchy, although relatively meaningless, hook. Then again, it’s disco – what can you expect? No one listens to disco for it’s lyrical content; it’s like saying you watch porn for the plot. With its light keys that border on kitsch (but fit in well with the melody), and of course those early ’80s synthesizers, it definitely sounds dated. However, it still has a bit of bump to it, especially with that grooving bass, the glue to the entire song.

Was (Not Was): Tell Me That I’m Dreaming (12” Remix)
From Ze 30: Ze Records 1979-2009 (Strut, 2009)

Before Don Was was an in-demand producer and winning Producer Of The Year awards, he was making synthy, off the wall R&B songs in the ’80s. Prior to their biggest hit ”Walk The Dinosaur”, Was (Not Was) had a 1981 hit on Ze Records featuring none other than President Reagan! The “Out Of Control” Reagan sample is reminiscent of (although it predates) The Information Society’s sample of Leonard Nimoy’s part in “What’s On Your Mind (Pure Energy).” Like the song above, the bass really carries this jam. Then again, guess who plays bass? Mr. Producer Of The Year himself.

Aside: Is there a music statistician somewhere who can verify other presidents who were featured on a hit song during their tenure (this doesn’t count presidents who won Grammys for spoken word books. Sorry Bill, Barack, and Jimmy.)? The biggest I can think of is Kennedy in Living Colour’s “Cult Of Personality.” Although not a big mainstream hit, George W. Bush was featured at the end of People Under The Stairs “Hang Loose,” one of my all time favorite songs. Surely, Nixon has been sampled. “I’m not a crook” is just too good of a line to not have been used SOMEWHERE…

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