Tag Archives: Dance Music

Guess Who’s Coming To Guest Vocal?

I was walking to work the other day listening to my iPod when a recent purchase came on– “Ready for The Weekend” by Calvin Harris.  It’s a decent little party anthem but it really gets a much-needed kick from the guest vocalist–Mary Pearce (a British singer who has worked with powerhouses like Chaka Khan and Lionel Richie previously.)
This familiar and dancey delight led me to realize that it’s a common trick really…a very good trick…and today’s great thing:

109.  Nerdy white dance musicians employing black female vocalists to make their songs better

Here, let me show you what I mean.

It’s a pretty good song already.  Calvin Harris is a clever little Scottish dance music maestro.  He’s recently written some ace tracks for Kylie Minogue and Dizzee Rascal.  You’re happily toe-tapping along to this ditty…but once Mary Pearce’s vocals come in?  Zoom!  So much better…

Another good example of this music-boosting technique is Basement Jaxx’s “Good Luck”.    Felix and Simon of Basement Jaxx have pretty much mastered this technique as a matter of fact.  When considering their catalogue of dance classics, you’re really spoiled for choice if you’re looking for strong black female vocals.  You could go with “Red Alert” or “Right Here’s The Spot” or certainly “Oh My Gosh”,  but, Lisa Kekaula’s vocals on “Good Luck” are spine-tinglingly good.

Perhaps no conversation about dance hit vocals could be complete without discussing C + C Music Factory’s  “Gonna Make You Sweat (Everybody Dance Now)”.  It’s, sadly, not unusual for music video directors to cast lip-synching hotties in place of the actual vocalists for the video shoot.  But, one infamous case of this was when Zelma Davis lipsynched to Martha Walsh’s vocals on C + C Music Factory’s hit.  There was no need for this trickery really and the group only admitted the truth of who the vocals in this terrific track belonged to after it leaked to the press.  (Though to be fair, Davis WAS indeed one of several vocalists that C + C Music Factory employed, just not the one that sang the following vocals.)

Thinking on this, we really do put unreal expectations on folks.  I mean, sure, it would be great if we all had exactly the same measures of talent and were all exactly the same level of smoking hot-it-tude, but Botox and college are expensive.

I feel like Moby should be included in this little compilation except for the fact that I can’t think of a song of his with female vocals.  I feel like all the music he’s co-opted into his electronica is from black males…cool old blues tunes and spirituals, etc…

So, swim on White Whale.  Whilst you certainly qualify as a white nerd, you have escaped my clutches for now.


I didn't make the cut?

Three quickies to close out the proceedings here.

Shapeshifters’ “Lola’s Theme”, which features a gospel singer from the UK called Cookie (yay).

Junior Jack’s “Stupid disco”  IS basically the Pointer Sisters track “Dare Me” set to different beats:

Armand Van Helden’s “My My My”…to be fair, Van Helden not so white and geeky.  It is a good excuse for me to watch this video, however.

Any more for any more?



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What Would Artemis work out to?


Ever watch “Clash of The Titans” and think, ‘Ya know?  There’s something about robot owls and gorgons that really makes me wanna cut loose on the dance floor.’  Well maybe you have and maybe you haven’t,  

I don't think you're ready for this jelly.

I don't think you're ready for this jelly.

but I’m glad that somebody has.  Because, as it turns out, the blend of Greek Mythology and experimental 70’s disco is wicked awesome.
10.  Hercules and Love Affair  is today’s bit of greatness.  When I first saw the video for “Blind” (a single off of their self-titled debut), I was sweating on the Precor elliptical machine at my local Virgin gym. The gym always has several T.V. stations on display so that you can choose either news, sports, or music videos to distract yourself from the self-flagellation that is a 30 minute cardio workout.  Normally, I just listen to my Mp3 player and gloss over.  But, the cute girl who stars in the video caught my eye and I decided to tune in for a moment.  The video looked super conceptual but a bit cheesy and I naturally assumed that Hercules and Love Affair were some German club confection that I could dance to but never really understand.
Later, when I read in a music review that they were actually from Brooklyn, I decided that maybe I could give another track a listen.  That’s when I heard “Hercules’ Theme”.  It’s probably one of the best songs on the album and was a lock in getting me to purchase the whole enchilada.

Big Pimpin'

Big Pimpin'

It’s irresistibly disco but seems artsy and improvisational at the same time.
Through its throwbacks, the album sounds fantastically unique.  If pressed to summarize their style, I think I could accurately describe it as a blend of Earth Wind and Fire, early Moby, and Nathan Johnson (he composed the horn-heavy score for the movie “Brick”).
Besides conjuring up images of Xena and Gabby doing the hustle at Dinah Shore, Hercules and Love affair already have massive gay appeal.  Though it’s described a a ‘musical project’ featuring several members, it seems quite obvious after reading several interviews that DJ Andy Butler would be the ringleader for this group.  It’s his love affair with Greek mythology and his demands for dance music that is both intelligent and respectable that created this whole thing.  This article gets in to much more detail about his influences http://www.musicomh.com/interviews/hercules-and-love-affair_0408.htm.  If you’re a bit obsessive, like me, it’s a very interesting read.
The contributing vocalists definitely add a certain complexity to the product and serve to gay it up even more.  Antony Hegarty, Nomi, and Kim Ann Foxman all lie somewhere on the LGBT scale.
Let's just cut to the chase.  Gay.  All of 'em.

Gay. Like how good disco should be.

 Here’s bit of H and LA for you.  “Hercules’ Theme” was written in the style of a Greek chorus.  How cool is that?

Hercules and Love Affair


Hercules and Love Affair are now on my radar for live shows.  I don’t go see lots of live shows because I’m lazy and boring, but if they ever pass through Manchester, I will wear my best golden fleece and haul my ass down to the dance floor.

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