Doug Zeigler breaks out the glow sticks and gets the party started.
Too often house music gets a bad rap, or worse, gets lumped in with techno or more recently dubstep. That’s a real shame, because house has a variety of subsets and nuance. Soul, gospel, classic, jazz, industrial, deep, pop and jungle are but a few of these different takes on house music. In my mid-teens into my thirties (and even in my forties now, I can be found trying old moves with semi-drastic results as long as a few adult beverages are involved) I was heavily involved in house music and dancing. My friends and I traveled to clubs in New York, Philly and Baltimore, all for the sake of finding good music and enough space to dance.
I’m hoping to here to shed some light into what house music is, and some of my all-time favorites. Be prepared to shake your collective booties!
“Insomnia,” Faithless. Dark and catchy, and Maxi Jazz’s voice is perfect and haunting. This starts slow and builds to crescendo that if you’re in a club with a halfway decent lighting set up with strobe lights that you feel like you’re being lifted. All without any drugs!
“Spin Spin Sugar (Armand’s Dark Garage Mix),” Sneaker Pimps. Brooding and in the range of the industrial house front, Sneaker Pimps gets a lift from one of the most original DJ’s in the house scene, Armand Van Helden.
“Space Cowboy (Classic Club Remix),” Jamiroquai. Most everyone remembers Jamiroquai from their mildly interesting video for “Virtual Insanity” where lead singer Jay Kay wore a big fuzzy hat and navigated treadmills in front of brightly colored backgrounds, but this song is far better. Its way more laid back, but funky. And it’s about weed, so who’s complaining about that if you’re dancing?
“Follow Me,” Aly-us. This one goes WAY back to the fledgling beginnings of Strictly Rhythm records, which were key in getting the house music movement started. Simplistic in its approach with infectious beat, the song has a great message. “Let’s put an end to racial hatred”, indeed.
“Girl I’ll House You,” Jungle Brothers. This is one of my earliest recollections of a house song (besides “Baby Wants To Ride” by Frankie Knuckles). Interestingly, the Jungle Brothers are more known for their rap offerings than this classic. Primal and bound to make move.
“You Don’t Know Me,” Armand Van Helden. Armand at his best. The man is pure genius and challenges himself and his boundaries. Give “Witch Doktor” and “I Want Your Soul” a listen and see if you don’t agree.
“Raindrops,” Stunt. Once the beat drops, it’s relentless, and the lyrics are sexy and sensuous.
“When Love Takes Over,” David Guetta (with Kelly Rowland). Guetta is great at creating songs that are eminently danceable and pop at the same time. Many people who are really into house music may scoff at this choice as being too mainstream; it’s hard to deny how much the song begs you to dance to it. Kelly Rowland certainly helps with her lovely voice.
“Need U 100%,” Duke Dumont Featuring A*M*E. This song was released February of this year, but has that classic funk house feel. Plus the video is funny and whimsical.
In my younger and more active dancing days, I’d have been busting out my capoeira moves. These days? It’s more of a rhythmic shuffle as I contemplate if I can try those old moves without killing myself. Either way, I’m still dancing. Now where are my dancing shoes?
photo James at Uni / Flickr