Disco is, arguably, the most maligned of musical genres. Sure, hardly anyone under the age of 60 listens to classical any more, but there aren’t wide swaths of the population who actively proclaim to hate it and pontificate about it’s utter lack of social and musical value. Plenty of people “don’t get jazz” or make fun of country because of it’s proclivity for songs about trucks, beer, and dogs, but those some folks generally don’t actively hate on those genres. Certainly rock was hated by the older set back in the 1950s, but now it’s ubiquitous – you’re more likely to hear AC/DC than Frank Sinatra playing at the supermarket. Hip hop too was widely derided as lacking merit in the 1980s, but clearly that isn’t the case now after 30 years of hip hop music and culture infusing itself into society.
But people will tell you that they hate disco. They fucking hate it.
On the surface, I get it. The disco era is stereotypically described as full of bad fashion, cocaine, and general vapidity, a form of escapism during the economically depressed 1970s. Films like Saturday Night Fever certainly embraced this image, and if any movie has ever come to complete define a moment in time, it’s that one. It’s the genre that prompted the infamous Disco Demolition Night in Chicago, with it’s literal blowing up of disco records and the resultant storming of the field by White Sox fans during the intermission between games in a double-header. Even in 1979 people hated disco. What disco is to genres Nickelback is to bands, the thing that is popular to hate. But let’s not forget what else they have in common – they both sold a ton of records.
There’s something else I know, too. I know that the fastest way to fill up the dance floor at your office holiday party is to start playing some disco. Many of the dancers will claim that they’re being ironic, but the huge smiles on their faces betray them – secretly, in their most private heart of hearts, they love it. Kids will dance to it. Middle-aged couples will dance to it. Grandparents will dance to it.
So when I saw this two-LP comp from 1978 in the used bin for four bucks the other day I figured “why not”. I only recognized one of the 14 songs, K.C. & The Sunshine Band’s “Get Down Tonight”, but I just kinda knew this would be cool. Plus I just bought an Okki Nokki record cleaner and I needed some cheap, grubby vinyl to try it out with, so why not? (Note – the Okki Nokki cleaned the hell out if it and it sounds clean) The tracks seem to be vintage remixes, and each side plays seamlessly as if it was actually spinning at a club. And you know what? It’s rad as hell. And I have no problem admitting it. If you want to come over here and dance, feel free. I’ll put it on and we’ll spin on the floor like we’re at Studio 54.