In Defense of Disco

Frankly, my defense of disco would last about 100 words. It was unapologetic dance music that was the soundtrack to a great public flowering of gay and interracial utopias, hedonistic, aspirational, happy, at a time when really the whole world was going to hell.

The funny thing is that it wasn’t too long before this culture, so flamboyant and energetic and just plain wonderful, was destroyed by the darkness of AIDS.

The music, which started out as dance music by Kool and the Gang and the Ohio Players and the Commodores among many others, really straight up R&B, evolved into that pulsing 128 BPM sheen, a music that sacrifices swing for relentless intensity and pistonlike movement. This wasn’t music for sitting around and contemplating, this was music for getting sweaty on the dancefloor and sweaty in the bathroom and more sweaty at home, if you know what I mean. Utilitarian music, dance music, sex music.

Alright, that’s 154 words. Here’s a link to a story by a younger guy from Macon who explains it more, if you’re interested. The story starts out at Duane Allman’s grave, which is kind of cool.

Here are a few songs I think of as liking from that time, when you would go into a club and everyone would feel like they were in the minority. Everybody felt like they were venturing out, being a little dangerous, and also connecting to a world that hadn’t ever really existed before, to people they may not have seen before. Oh, I should also mention cocaine and amyl.

I guess my point is that you can freely hate all this music, these tunes, the beats, the arrangements, the crappy clothes the singers wore, but it really isn’t fair to say Disco Sucks. That’s because Disco was so much more bigger than the music.


2 thoughts on “In Defense of Disco

  1. That article sucks – as boring and self-indulgent as the ones I used to write.

    The songs suck – the AC/DC thing is particularly offensive. Of course, it’s Brian Johnson.

    And, fair or not, disco does suck – ass.

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