Written by Melody Lau and Robert Rowat
Disco may have peaked in the late 1970s, but its spirit survives to this day. Not just survives, but thrives, if the past 12 months have been any indication.
As we head into the holiday season and its abundance of parties and celebrations, now’s the perfect time to round up the best, funkiest, most sparkly disco songs of the year — many of them from Canadian artists. Enjoy!
‘Disco Yes,’ Tom Misch feat. Poppy Ajudha
If you love a funky bass line, then you’re probably as hooked as we are on Tom Misch’s Geography, a veritable treasure trove released last spring. While there’s an element of disco in many of the album’s 13 tracks, “Disco Yes” is an outright celebration of the genre. The title says it all!
— Robert Rowat
‘Your Girl,’ Harrison feat. Ralph
Both Harrison and Ralph’s music straddle the lines between disco, funk and '80s synth-pop, but on “Your Girl,” everything coalesces into a slick and shiny number that’s perfect for the dancefloor. There's no better cure for a break-up than putting on "that dress that's gonna knock them all out," and hitting the town with your best friend.
— Melody Lau
‘Just Friends,’ Chromeo feat. Amber Mark
When Chromeo dropped Head Over Heels in June, we knew it would be our soundtrack for some summertime strutting — and we were right. On “Just Friends” we’re treated to some classic Chromeo rhymes (“I’m dimwitted/ I deal with it”) and when Amber Mark bursts in and takes over the song, it’s next level. — RR
‘High Horse,’ Kacey Musgraves
Country meets disco on Kacey Musgraves’ “High Horse.” The country star pairs acoustic guitars and banjos with four-on-the-floor beats and strings to create the catchiest song of the year about knocking someone off of their high horse. In a time when lots of people mouth off and abuse their platforms to voice nonsense, “High Horse” is the anthem that we needed in 2018. — ML
‘Mad as Hell,’ U.S. Girls
Disco has always been a political genre, so it's great to see someone like Toronto's U.S. Girls continue fuelling disco-tinged songs with urgent messages such as the critical "Mad as Hell." Here, singer Meg Remy takes aim at president Obama's administration and its use of drones and continuing warfare. It's not an easy song to digest, but Remy makes it go down as smoothly as possible with an infectious disco beat. — ML
‘This Feeling,’ Ryan Hemsworth feat. Marco Mckinnis
“I don't expect anyone to be stoked on me or my music,” Ryan Hemsworth admitted to us in September. Well, we’re happy to disappoint him with our enthusiasm for “This Feeling,” track 1 from his new album, Elsewhere. The song sounds like a party, complete with clinking glasses — the perfect, funky setting for Marco McKinnis’s inviting vocals. — RR
Back with its first original music since 2015’s Animal Nature, Escort wowed us with this sparkly new disco tune in October. “Slide” is equal parts '70s funk and '80s synth pop and zeroes in on that dicey moment when you lock eyes with someone just as the roller rink is about to close for the night. Dangerous! — RR
Disco is a rather social genre, first emerging from the nightlife scene where people went to show off their glitziest outfits and bumped up against others on the dancefloor. But on Mitski’s standout single this year, “Nobody,” the singer-songwriter embraces the sounds of disco all by herself as she yearns for “one good movie kiss.” It’s a song that’s vulnerable and heartbreakingly lonely, but who says you can’t feel that while dancing? — ML
'TV in the Morning,' DNCE
Pop group DNCE goes from singing about "cake by the ocean" to this smooth, sexy number where singer Joe Jonas gets to show off his falsetto. Part of this is the work of co-writer Robin Hannibal (formerly of Rhye), who injects a sensuality to this fun track. Time to trade in that cake for some TV in the morning and coffee in bed. — ML
‘Arctic Boogie,’ Dave Allison
With winter upon us, we were drawn to Montreal DJ Dave Allison’s “Arctic Boogie” for its dance-floor heat. (We also love the word boogie, and bringing it back is one of our New Year’s resolutions.) “Arctic Boogie” is probably best described as neo-disco: a modern-day instrumental reconstruction using funky samples, horn effects and a vigorous beat. — RR