Pop Culture Princess

Pop Culture Princess
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Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Getting a new strand of old school disco fever,thanks to American Idol

The theme for American Idol's Top Seven this week is disco,which makes me as a child of the 1970s as giddy as a chocoholic let loose in Willy Wonka's factory. Yes,some of those songs were silly(what musical generation doesn't have it's equivalent of "Disco Duck",honestly?)and/or prone to cheesiness,but that's the joy of disco.

Disco delights in excess and celebrates the gaudy,shiny side of life. While it would be a tad much to have sparkly goodness on a daily basis,indulging in such musical mirth once in a while does no harm. In fact,with all of the current stress and worry over the state of things,perhaps a little bit of this non cloying merriment would be welcomed by some with open arms.

With that in mind,I pulled together a few of my favorite tunes from that time where polyester ruled the clothes racks. To start us right,take a listen to Amii Stewart's "Knock On Wood". I like this song for two reasons:1) the chorus refrain is a truly infectious ear worm in the best sense of the word and 2)Amii's outfit is awesome. She looks like she just stepped out of a Flash Gordon episode:

Since it is Disco Night,one of the contestants will no doubt attempt to do a decent version of a Donna Summer song. Guys,take my advice on this;it can't be done. No matter how well you do it,you will always be seen as falling short.

If you decide to go for it anyway,give yourself a fighting chance by not picking one of her big signature numbers and go for something like "The Wanderer." I love this song for it's slow yet steady hum of the lyrics with the synthesizer music and the sultry take she gives to it.

The judges may give you grief for selecting a lesser known song,but if you can make it work for you,the hell with them(especially Eve Harrington,aka Kara)!:

Now,no look at disco would be complete without a mention of Saturday Night Fever or the Bee Gees. Saturday Night Fever was so popular that the studio wound up putting out a PG rated version in theaters, right along side the original R rated one,in order to accommodate the younger fan base clamoring to see it hassle free. Some of that was due to Travolta but a good chunk of it can be credited to the Brothers Gibb as well:

I also consulted my younger sister for a couple of her picks;while her taste in disco is more international and far flung than mine(not to mention that she's a gal born in the early eighties),Steph does have great appreciation for the old school. Her first choice was "Ring My Bell" by Anita Ward,which shares a similar hard to resist catch line with "Knock on Wood":

Her other pick was a song by Cheryl Lynn,best known for "Got to be Real",called Star Love. It's a tune that I wasn't familiar with at all and after listening,I wish that I had known about sooner. Why this lady didn't have a bigger music career is totally beyond me:

If I had to choose just one disco song as my all time favorite,it would have to be "I Love the Nightlife" by Alicia Bridges. Not just because it's great,that song also has the distinct honor of being an integral part of why vampires fascinate me so.

Along with Frank Lagella in Dracula,1979's Love at First Bite imprinted on me a taste for romantic vampire lore. LAFB was the first vampire flick that I ever saw which didn't make the bloodsucker the automatic bad guy in the love triangle(in fact,he was certainly preferable to the obsessive shrink that flaky fashion model Cindy was sort of seeing in a non professional manner).

A major moment in the movie and the love story is when Vlad takes Cindy out on the dance floor and trust me when I say that the scene is more effective with ILTNL as the background music(the song is not on the DVD edition,for some strange reason):

Please feel free to share with me any of your personal disco favorites and let us all hope that we will get a good performance from one of American Idol contenders tonight whose name isn't Adam. I adore Adam and look forward to hearing what ever he plans to sing,but it would be nice for someone else to be able to make a strong splash forward here(especially those lagging behind lately,like Anoop and Lil)so that the audience will be transported to a true boogie wonderland:

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