Disco is characterized by its four-by-four boots and cats beats, sexy syncopated basslines, and the occasional string section and synthesizer. Disco music rose to the mainstream in the 1970s, and since its reign during that decade, it has lulled at times, but never died off. And it probably never will.
Now we see why and how disco is making a comeback, some 50 years later. Check out the best looks and sounds that have come out of its revival so far.
The re-embrace of sophisticated, immaculate disco sounds, starting with Daft Punk’s 2013 album “Random Access Memories”. Some might say disco is a groovier and subtler form of dance music compared to the raging sounds of trap and dubstep, but it was still unclear how much young listeners will embrace it initially.
When Lipa released ‘Don’t Start Now’, the 70’s vibe caught on the song was what most listeners’ pointed out. This hit single was followed with more disco-themed radio hits from the singer. Another chart-topper is Doja Cat’s ‘Say So’ with similar funk and disco elements.
The Weeknd’s ‘Blinding Lights’ also produced a crossfire between the ‘seventies-eighties dance pop, taking inspiration from hits like A-ha’s ‘Take On Me’, and spawned viral dance challenges on TikTok and Instagram.
Around February last year, more high-profile disco-infused tracks arrived with Lady Gaga’s ‘Stupid Love’ and the Justin Timberlake-SZA collaboration ‘The Other Side’.
A New Wave Of Uplifting Music
Disco as a genre originated as an east coast musical subculture for black, Latinx and LGBTQ communities. It was part of a movement, tied to liberation, a platform to explore racial, gender, and sexual identities with big-voiced stars like Gloria Gaynor and Donna Summer at the forefront.
The rocky year of 2020 was more than enough reason to crave a break from it all, or maybe at least one night to dance and forget all our worries for a fleeting moment. The disco pop revival was the perfect remedy, coming back in full force.
Whether a cry for help, a nostalgic sentiment, or a hopeful message to the future, musicians’ work reflected just what we needed to hear. Singing of times gone by, exploration of one’s identity, fight for justice and equality, mourning losses, and reminding us of the essence of humanity – togetherness. And at the heart of it all, was Disco, allowing us to close our eyes and groove, and forget our problems, even if it is only for a minute.
By: Anjana Sathyanarayanan