Disco week on American Idol brought me a lot of joy!
Disco gets a lot of disrespect but its origins coincided with a pretty important stage of my life. I remember seeing Saturday Night Fever in a theatre with some friends and bawling at the emotional climax. Yes, there was more than dancing and a skinny John Travolta in that classic film. The Bee Gees provided the soundtrack to some of the most carefree years of my life. Disco Inferno remains one of my all time fave songs. I even tolerated Stars On 45’s medley of disco and Beatles hits that came out during my brief era as a dance club crawler because it had the beat.
An admission: I’ve never watched more than the audition phase of American Idol before but the sheer talent of some of the contestants, Adam Lambert in particular, kept me hooked for every episode of this entire season. It has become a bit of a game to guess who will get tossed on elimination night and we were bang on with our predictions last night. But reading a tweet from a young former colleague this morning about the “cheesy” disco dancing by the top 7 only widened the generation gap between us! To her, its simply nostalgia. They may as well have been wearing flapper costumes and dancing the Charleston from the 1920’s. It’s all history to her. For me, it was an impressive homage to a time that I cherish. These kids on Idol – one of them is just 16 – really got into it and pulled it off in a Brady Bunch meets Earth Wind and Fire style of performance. Call it Roquefort if you want but for me, it was like getting to ride in a time machine for a few minutes.
Several artists are reviving a disco-esque type of sound and it’s hitting very big with today’s club-going, music loving young peeps. Lady Gaga (whose performances make me want to do just that – ga ga) is a massive star and once she gets past the self-indulgent weirdness of her song intros, she’s basically a disco performer.
And speaking of music you can dance to, if you want to have a giggle, google Beyonce’s performance at the Today Show this week. Someone sent Howard Stern the board feed of Beyonce’s vocals and they are purely atrocious. This is the sound of her microphone alone, before it’s all mixed with the music and whatever processing it goes through. It’s quite funny to hear how “off” she is. Stern has previously received other feeds like this from disgruntled sound men for Linda McCartney (on tour with Paul), Enrique Iglesias and others. Enrique actually appeared on Stern’s show to give an embarrassing explanation of the reasons why he couldn’t hit a single note. This is the real thing, folks. Hate to burst your bubble if you’re a fan but true talent is exceedingly rare and sometimes stardom’s got nothing to do with it.