The deep lyrical meaning and artistic power of a song can be debated to no end. And while opinions may vary, there is one test for music that seems outright objective: does it make you dance? A good dance track-be it techno, house, or a top 40 remix-has the indelible quality of movement programmed into its rhythm. Don’t believe me? Listen to these five songs and see if you can keep still.
5. Right Here, Right Now (1999) by Fatboy Slim
This track is epic. So epic in fact that that the tune forced itself out of the dance club and worked its way into every action movie trailer ever, while also becoming the entrance song for a number of major sports teams including the NFL’s Pittsburgh Steelers and Premier League’s Manchester City. It’s easy enough to see why. This song captures a feeling of transcendent grandiosity that a lot of dance tracks aim for. Though none quite reach it like this one.
4. Born Slippy .NUXX (1996) by Slippy
And Boyle’s selection of the trance-inspired mind numbing song makes perfect sense for a film whose take on drug culture had much the same effect on its viewers.
3. Groove Is in the Heart (1990) by Deee-Lite
A lot of dance music originates in the insular and niche world of clubs and DJ Booths, so when a song hits the mainstream it can seem straight out of another world. The retro-futurist grooves laid out by Deee-Lite benefits from seeming simultaneously nostalgic and new.
You don’t need to watch the video to understand the sunny, bright, vibrant sense of being that this song conveys. But you should anyway. The video is a lot of fun.
2. Adagio for Strings (2004) by Tiesto
Dance music relies heavily on sampling, appropriating another artists work and breathing new life into it by remaking how it is used. This track by Dutch DJ Tiesto employs this trick to perfect effect, making a classical piece from 1936 by composer Samuel Barber relevant and (most importantly) danceable for the modern audience. No small feat indeed.
1. One More Time (2000) by Daft Punk
There’s a reason that this song out of all of Daft Punk’s infectious catalogue is their best selling track. Not just a top dance track but among the best songs of the decade on lists by Pitchfork and Rolling Stone, “One More Time” captures the sheer joy of pop and boils it down to its essence.
The song is such an escape that by the time it ends you hardly notice, which usually necessitates that you play it again. At least one more time.
Get on the floor and join the party going on in the comments with your thoughts and feelings on all things dance.