Ah 70s, how I love you, with your bell-shaped pant bottoms, your shirt collars large enough to wear on the outside of a 150% polyester jacket, and your shoes that are just short of being classified as stilts. And your music. Especially your music. You understood that music is about movement, and you gave us music to which we can move, to which we cannot help but move. This not just some casual theory of musical aesthetics, it is a neurological fact: music that doesn’t make us move, even if only with the bobbing of our heads or a tapping of our feet, isn’t music at all. So you gave us soul, and you gave us funk, and you gave us disco.
In the 21st century, the 70s are back, as evidenced by one of the defining moments of music in 2013, Daft Punk’s Random Access Memories:
And while I must admit that I am not much of a Daft Punk fan (though I am a big Pharrell fan), that songs is impossible for me to resist. If, when Pharrell sings “Sweat! Sweat! Sweat!” you don’t have your hands in the air, you’re just not listening right. Even the video is infectious — it makes me want to get up and dance along, and it makes me miss Soul Train. Maybe I’m just a sucker for 70s dance music.
For all its bell-bottomed goodness, Random Access Memories didn’t start the 70s revival in electronic music. In this case, at least, Daft Punk was merely jumping on a train with a full head of steam. In the early aughts, people started talking about nu-disco (like the track at the top of this post), and the moment of electronic disco revival in the last decade came with Hercules and the Love Affair’s 2008 self-titled album, which is pretty much a must for any party:
But there’s a lot more 70s love in today’s electronic music. While Daft Punk may simply be mimicking the 70s, Hercules and the Love Affair are thoroughly today; as you can hear on that track, disco and funk are just the canvases on which they’re painting. Though their paintings can be pretty literal at times:
More doorbell! Wonderful chaos.
If Daft Punk recorded a mostly 70s album, and nu-disco artists like Sugar Hill,
Or straight disco artists like Hercules and the Love Affair, do 70s-in-the-21st-century all of the time, some artists merely dabble in the decade:
Or chop it up with the 80s, 90s, and aughts, turning it into a delicious pop salad:
(I love Florence Welch, I just wish her own music didn’t all sound the same.)
Some occasionally indulge their soul side:
And some just want to groove now and then:
Perhaps my favorite amalgam of 70s music with the music of today comes in the form of Radio Citizen, who combine a 70s soul and jazz with Latin rhythms and hip hop beats to create beautiful concoctions like this:
Bajka, the vocalist on those two tracks, isn’t entirely un-70s herself:
Though that may be a little too jazzy to restrict it to the 70s, I don’t think it would have been out of place in a smoky lounge circa 1975.
I feel like I could just keep posting song after song, but I have to end somewhere, and if I don’t end here, I’m afraid no one will listen on. However, you should post some more 70s-style music from today in the comments, because I know I will listen to it.