More Sex Please, We're DJs! Why dance music needs to get its freak on

Words by: Cila Warncke
Posted: 3/12/09 17:22

More Sex Please, We’re DJs! My sister was radio station surfing when a big, glossy chorus hit our ears. "This is great," I said, "It's just pop music with a fat, four-four beat." A second later I recognised the vocal and realised I'd just admitted to kinda liking David Guetta feat. Akon's Sexy Chick. I feel dirty but the damage is done. I'll never get that hook out of my head.

It was the second time in as many days I got blindsided by pop music. The first was when I mistook Lady Gaga's latest single, Bad Romance for a trance tune. Musically, it is. Visually, it's so much more. TTime to bring sexy backhe video is Devo meets Kylie, in bondage gear, sung by a lunatic mostly-naked blonde cyborg over a whoomping synth line straight out of 2001. It's camper than Queen; more eye-catching than a Lil' Kim catsuit; more outré than Xtina's chaps and ballsier than centre court at Wimbledon. She's done it before, too, with Just Dance, a trance-fuelled paean to getting wasted that is slipperier than KY and twice as likely to prompt family-unfriendly behaviour on the dancefloor.

This got me thinking: what separates "pop" and "dance" these days? Great pop is daring, in-your-face, innovative, instantly addictive and above all sexy as hell. It pains ever music snob fibre of my being to admit it, but the biggest difference is that pop music is hot.

And with Madonna, Rihanna, Britney and Gaga all writhing around to ultra-slick dance tunes electronic music's erstwhile high ground is under siege. These aren't crappy Casio beats fronted by generic bimbos, they're megahit records that combine music DJs would kill for with avant-garde style, humour, and lashings of attitude. There are a lot of them too. I spent entire afternoons listening to Lady Gaga's Poker Face, and almost as many spellbound by Britney Spears' Circus. Before that it was Rihanna with Umbrella and Don't Stop the Music, JT with Senorita and Sorry by Madonna.

Don't get me wrong. Len Faki Live at Berghain blows my mind, and I fall in love every time Moodmusic release a record, but if Piece of Me comes on the radio I turn it up. Let that be a lesson to every studio spod and drab DJ convinced their 18-minute minimal-dub-filtered-tech-jungle anthem is the wave of the future. Underground music can be amazing but the best, most memorable dance records always plays to the crowd.

There are a handful of tunes that will send any dancefloor from Cocoon to your cousin's birthday party into paroxysms. They aren't obscure white labels or 20-minute dub techno epics; they are Billie Jean, Like A Prayer and Erotic City. If dance music is going to play with the big boys and girls it has to learn what the legends of pop know: it isn't enough to catch people's ears - you have to slither up next to them, slide down their body and leave ‘em flushed and feeling a little filthy. It's time to bring sexy back.


Roberto Capuano
Politics Of Dancing
Ralph Lawson