Subtitle: Why House Music (and Hip Hop, For That Matter) Will Never Die
Ok so, you might not a be die-hard house fan. Or, maybe you are. But regardless, chances are, you’ve heard more than a few house tracks in your life. (If you went to ANY electronic show in the 90s, you probably heard some house music) And so, I wanted to bring up an interesting point, which I think is sometimes taken for granted: House is never going away.
Why? Well, at it’s core, it’s got a very danceable, catchy groove. To be more complex about it, it’s often featuring Spanish or Latin percussive elements and is usually somewhat mid-tempo (though it can definitely get slow, and definitely get fast) and it’s in everything now-a-days. Actually, that’s an understatement, as it’s been in everything for decades, as well.
Proof? Yea, I got your proof! House has been around since the mid-1970s, and, with a few exceptions, it’s been blowing up the Top 40, as well as dance clubs and bedroom speakers ever since! You might be thinking, “Woah, woah, StrangeFlow. The 70s? Typo! I’m going to leave an angry comment!” Ok, you can go ahead. But consider this, first: have you heard of KC & the Sunshine Band? Or how about Donna Summers?
Disco is house.
Disco reached a peak in the 70s, and through oversaturation and an angry and homophobic rock-crowd-backlash, it was pushed underground; only to reappear, a very short time later, with new colors, updated technology, and better drugs – and they called it house music, as it was played in warehouses in the Midwest.
Same basic groove, but with something new – the ‘acid sound’ that was invented when some musical folks started remixing old disco records and fucking around with a drum machine called the TB303 and creating a weird, sequenced, arppegiated noise that was perfect over that basic 4/4 dance beat.
The tracks got a bit sparser, and in some cases, more amateurish (which makes sense, as many of the original house tracks WERE done by amateurs in their bedrooms… sound familiar?) and 1986 was considered the year that house music ‘blew up.’
Then, England got a hold of house music, put their unique take on the sound, and eventually gave it back to America, who loved it.
In the 90s, house was all over the place. Even if you didn’t know you were listening to it, it was still there. That’s one of its secrets, see – if you told people in the 90s that what they were listening to on their stereo was house music, some would say, ‘Cool, ok! House rocks!’ and some would say, ‘What? No, this is Powerman 5000!’ or, ‘No, this is Ramstein! It’s metal! It’s not house!,’ But that’s the guerilla science of house – it can turn up anywhere, and at any time, and it’s been doing it for so long, it’s gotten really good at it.
I remember when electro was more of a techno thing… Now, it’s been married to house music, creating ‘electro-house,’ or (with more guerilla tactics) you could just call it ‘electro.’
And moombah? Again, mix reggaeton with house, and you get moombah.
How about pretty much everything Lady Gaga has done? House! That new Rihanna track you just heard? House – or, at very least, a incredibly strong house influence.
So, this isn’t just a rant to tell you to make house. I’m not saying that. If you want to, do it – but really, the point is just this – if you want to infiltrate the system with electronic music (that people might not instantly realize IS ‘electronic music,’ for whatever reason) give them something with house in it. It’ll likely be catchy, and it’s been proven as a successful formula for almost forty years, and it just sounds good. It’s a titan sound.
Also, perhaps I should mention that I’m speaking as an American. I don’t know if any of this is true in Australia or France or London. Leave a comment and tell me, if you like.
As a side note, another title for this thread could’ve been “Disco – a music that’s SECRETLY everywhere,” but I instead chose to go with the ‘house’ label. But really, that’s the truth – once disco took off it’s clothes and poured some acid onto itself, it became acid house, and I’m going to make a strong prediction that it’ll still be here for another decade… or three… Or maybe even more. It seems to have this way of sounding good and yet deceiving people, all at once.
Now, if you’re reading this, there’s a decent chance you’re not necessarily one of the folks being deceived. But it’s the same thing with hip hop – case in point: I remember talking to a friend of mine about what kind of music she liked. She said something like, “I listen to hardcore. Metal. My favorite band is Korn,” and I said, “Oh, ok, so you like hip hop and rock, huh?” and she said, “What? No, I HATE hip hop! I listen to Korn!” : – )
You see where I’m going with this? Even if a bunch of White kids who listen to metal think they ONLY listen to metal, there’s a good chance they also like hip hop, if they listen to things like Korn, or other rap-metal groups… (now, keep in mind, this was a few years ago, before Korn kind of changed up their sound and ‘invented dubstep’ and… well, I don’t know or care what they’re up to now, to be honest) but the point is, there are some very pivotal styles of music that have emerged (hip hop and house) which both emerged out of the 1970s, by the way – and both went on to infiltrate the masses. Both in secret, as well as upfront and openly. Funny, isn’t it? – how people who don’t know much about music and who have very closed-minded musical tastes aren’t always QUITE as closed-minded as they might think!
But anyway, that’s the formula. I could’ve ranted a lot more about hip hop, too; explaining how everything that isn’t house-influenced is likely influenced by hip hop, unless it’s “pure rock,” (a term that I hate, and always considered very iffy… what is “pure” supposed to mean, anyway? Really. I’ve always sensed racial undertones, in that phrase, although you know they would NEVER admit it, but it has been a word that White people have used throughout history to separate themselves from “the others”) but I figured, if you understand my point about house, you probably understand my point about hip hop, too.
So there you have it. The two titans of Western pop music of the last half-century. The Trojan Horses of the late 20th century and early 21st century. Do what thou wilt with this information, and next time you turn on the radio (IF you do) listen for the house beat.