PLAYDAY: 6 New Tracks That Prove Disco Is Staying Alive, Staying Alive

Thanks to artists like Daft Punk, Robin Thicke and Empire of the Sun, the early days of funk are having quite a comeback this year. Does this spell the end for over-processed dance music?

Welcome to the new generation of disco.

Have you heard it, too? So many of my new favorite tracks are laced with grooves that remind me of those early days when funk and disco ruled the world. Now don’t get me wrong, I love a hard-and-nasty club beat, but lately there’s not enough variety in that genre to keep it fresh. Could disco be sweeping in, hot pants and all, to save dance music from twirling into obscurity?

Lately, French house pioneers Daft Punk have played an intricate part in bringing this revival to the forefront. Their latest album, Random Access Memories, has been lauded  by critics as a fun disco experiment complete with slinky grooves and sultry guitar riffs. Popular hip-hop artist Pharrell Williams lends his vocals to the album’s shagadelic lead single, “Get Lucky,” catapulting it to become Daft Punk’s  first mainstream No. 1 hit. It also doesn’t hurt that they’ve enlisted disco mastermind Nile Rodgers to help with several collaborations on the record. For those who aren’t familiar with Rodgers, he was part of late-’70s funk super group Chic and co-writer of many disco-tinged hits for artists like Madonna (“Like a Virgin“), Sister Sledge (“Lost in Music” and even Bowie (“Let’s Dance“). Another fun fact: On their new album, Daft Punk worked with Paul Williams, the same guy who wrote “Rainbow Connection” for Jim Henson’s 1979 film The Muppet Movie. I’m sure Kermit must be beside himself with joy.

Besides Daft Punk, several other artists from different outlets have also caught disco fever. Pop artist Bruno Mars’ latest single, “Treasure” boasts a funky Kool & The Gang vibe and has a Solid Gold-inspired video to match. R&B sexpot Robin Thicke’s “Blurred Lines” — which also features Pharrell Williams — has become a modern day rollerskating rink anthem that is not only No. 1 on the current Billboard Hot 100, but its steamy and sexed-up video has stirred plenty of controversy. I also have to give a shoutout to Kim K’s baby daddy, Kanye West, who recruited Daft Punk to assist him on new tracks from his brand-new album, “Yeezus.” The disco genre really has no boundaries.

Does this mean pumping house music will become a thing of the past? Not necessarily. Dancefloors in gayborhoods across the world have enough room for every type of genre. But this revival of disco is certainly refreshing to hear, casting a fun and nostalgic nod to the artists who built up those dancefloors for us. I think we can all shake our groove thing to that.

Below I’ve rounded up some of my favorite recent tracks that harken back to the days of disco. Have any favorites that I may have overlooked? Leave me some links in the comment section below.

1. “Get Lucky” by Daft Punk featuring Pharrell Williams

2. “Blurred Lines” by Robin Thicke featuring T.I. and Pharrell Williams

3. “Treasure (Leroy Davis Remix)” by Bruno Mars

4. “Let the Groove Get In” by Justin Timberlake

5. “Lose  Yourself to Dance” By Daft punk featuring Pharrell Williams

6. “Old Flavors” by Empire of the Sun

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Have music you’d like to see featured on an upcoming Playdar? Email Patrick DeMarco at [email protected].