History always repeats itself. They say all trends will burn out and come back as retro. In the digital age, our nostalgia for the past can be easily satisfied through a simple Google search. So what happens when past trends start to become the norm again? As sampling becomes more and more common, more artists are looking to the past to find new sounds and manipulate them in ways that were impossible without digital workstations and production techniques. Should we embrace this mentality as innovative or lazy? What happens when a genre long forgotten makes a sudden rise as instantly marketable and becomes the sound of the biggest hits of the decade so far?
We dance, dance, and dance some more of course! Funk-fused disco is back and better than ever. Mostly forgotten by the early 80's for it's association with fashion gimmicks and repetitive sounds, disco has once again taken a hold of the dance floor as the rise of EDM continues to reach monstrous heights. The funny thing about disco is that it acts as a live instrument based alternative to the programmed beat-oriented style of most EDM. Electronic music acts like Daft Punk
have battled against the EDM trend by picking up live instruments and adding studio musicians to create 2013's throwback album smash, Random Access Memories
, that was reminiscent of the sound of the duo's youth. The result was a critically acclaimed album and the biggest hit of their career, "Get Lucky" featuring Nile Rodgers (Chic
) and Pharrell
"Get Lucky" opened up the door for more bands to turn back the clock and let their influences show. Last year, we saw a resurgence in Prince
's career as he released a funk album PLECTRUMELECTRUM
with his all-female band 3RDEYEGIRL as well as an an electro-funk tinged solo album Art Official Age
. Prince isn't the only old school artist to make a huge comeback as of late. After appearing on Random Access Memories
, Nile Rodger's has decided to bring back his disco funk band Chic. Chic, who made a vast assortment of hits in the late 70s, are probably the greatest disco era band ever. While Rodgers made a living producing other notable artists in the 80's and 90's , there is no greater feeling than releasing your own masterpiece. Ask Mark Ronson
how "Uptown Funk" is still
treating him. The inescapable hit of the year, dance floors are embracing this late 70's renaissance heavily, but how long will it take before people tire of it again?
Funk was never really dead. As the disco era ended, rock and R&B artists mostly carried the flag for the funk sound. Bands like the Red Hot Chili Peppers
and neo-soul artists like D'Angelo infused funky grooves in their music, albeit in a much different manner than the 70's disco bands. As rock continues to fall to the way side (sorry RHCP), it seems dancing is cool again and moshing is no longer what the kids want to do these days. That's where a band like Chic comes in, ready to take back the torch for funk and disco.
Nostalgia is cool and always has been. For once, kids and their parents can finally agree on something, we want the funk
. While EDM continues to blow up, there will need to be other dance options to keep hesitant listeners from abandoning ship. Funk offers actual live instrumentation for so called 'real music' fans as well as a nice switch up on the dance floor from the wa-wa dubstep sounds of Skrillex
. I'd like to personally welcome funk back to the mainstream, but don't call it a comeback. It never really left.
Check out the video for Chic's new song "I'll Be There" below, the first single off their upcoming album.