Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Disco 1979 = Rap 2008 = Overkill?

Back in 1979 it seemed like everyone and their mother had a disco album out that year. The mega success of Saturday Night Fever the previous year prompted record companies to try to mass produce disco hits. This often meant that a musical act was shoehorned into a disco song regardless if the genre was appropriate for the artist or not. With some acts it was a career builder ("Heart Of Glass" gave Blondie their breakthrough hit in the US, while "Take Me Home" was Cher's first Top Ten hit in five years). Other times it turned out just to be a desperate attempt to catch up with the times (The Ethel Merman Disco Album!) that failed to set the world afire. Such overkill was one of the reasons why disco's mainstream popularity died out in the end of the decade.

Nowadays record companies are desperate to crank out hits that cater to the rap crowd, particularly with productions by Timbaland. You turn on Top 40 radio and it just seemed to be the same old hippity-hoppity-clappity groove these days. Madonna, figuring that she wanted to get massive US radio airplay and noticed that the bouncy Euro-dance rhythms of her last album pretty much weren't doing the job, hired Timbaland and hip-hop/pop posterboy Justin Timberlake, as well as fellow hip-hop producer Pharrell, to work on tracks for her lastest album, which is planned for release this November. Duran Duran also hired Timbaland and Timberlake on their most recent album as well; on the album's first single "Night Runner" you can hear T&T's fingerprints all over that damn song, and at the expense of the band's musical identity. But the real indicator that we might be headed for a big hip-hop overkill is that Celine Dion has been threatening to work with Timbaland as well. (I don't know if this is true but this sounds like a Ethel Merman Disco Album moment waiting to happen!) Again artists are shoehorned into working in a genre that might not be appropriate from them, just so they can get some Clear Channel radio play in the short-run. Pretty soon it'll seem like everyone and their mother will have a record that's produced by Timbaland. Different decade, different musical genre, same old record company overkill.

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3 Comments:

Blogger The Divine Ms. Jimmi said...

Rap seems to have had a longer run than disco and probably will since it is tied to black culture.

9:04 AM  
Blogger Deemer said...

Its easy to see the future, Timberland sound out by 2008. How much more can people take of this?

10:00 PM  
Blogger hot-lunch said...

the duet that Timbaland and I did should be coming out next month.

3:50 PM  

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