-By Olga Encarnacion
We all have that one album that we turn to when we need guidance or reassurance that life isn’t a mess. We all evolve and change as we discover who we are as we get older and just like the bands we love, we struggle to find our words and personas. With bands and artists, sometimes that means a line up change, firing their manager, doing a questionable video but a lot of the time, it means trying something completely different. Here are a few bands that stepped out of their comfort zone and put on their dancing shoes.
Korn ft Skrillex – “Get Up”
Rap rock uber moody overlords Korn reinvented themselves a few times with line up changes, label switches and completely overhauling their sound. In 2011 the band collaborated with a slew of dubstep producers to put out the album “The Path of Totality” The Skillex assisted track “Get Up” chopped, screwed and dubbed out the band’s signature rap rock sound. While it can be argued that dubstep doesn’t really count as music, you have to admit, you’re nodding your head to this one, even if you’ve completely outgrown rap rock.
Coldplay – “A Sky Full Of Stars”
Frontman Chris Martin has admitted in a few interviews that’s he’s guilty of spending all night in some city in some club listening to dance music. He’s written a few EDM happy tunes (Mylo Xyloto’s “Every Teardrop Is A Waterfall” and “Charlie Brown) but it wasn’t until the super moody post unconscious coupling album Ghost Stories did Martin and company really get their glowsticks on. “A Sky Full of Stars” the Avicci produced near last track on the LP, kicks off with standard Coldplay piano vocals, atleast until the screeching strings and thunderclap beat kicks in. Naturally, you start spinning around the room like Martin does on stage at any one of their sold out shows.
U2 – “Discotheque ‘96”
Before their latest album randomly appeared in your iTunes folder earlier this month, U2 was the band to beat in the 90s. From chart topping songs to band’s near constant work for change across the world, U2 seemed to be the arena band to top all arena bands. Always reinventing their sound, the group put out a very musically ambitious album titled POP and went on an equally ambitious tour. They released this guitar disco heavy track and went all out, tapping every early dance rock trope you needed, dressing as the Village People in a very special mirrored room disco dance sequence. In the name of love indeed.
Steve Aoki x Linkin Park – “A Light That Never Goes Out”
Speaking of outgrowing rap rock, Linkin Park collaborated last year with Mr. Cake himself, Steve Aoki for the original track “A Light That Never Goes Out.” When footage of the surprise appearance by the band’s dual vocalists surfaced on YouTube during Aoki’s blistering set, rumors flew that the band had completely abandoned their rap rock roots in favor of a more dance friendly sound. It was true, in part. The band released Recharged, a remix album of their previous release Living Things, featuring this track and some of EDM and dubstep music’s biggest producers.
Kiss – “I Was Made For Lovin’ You”
Fire spitting, kabuki glam super band Kiss did the unthinkable in 1979 releasing the single “I Was Made For Lovin’ You” on their album Dynasty at the height of Kiss Mania and disco fever. The track features the dirt sexy vocals of the Star Child Paul Stanley (hitting all those high notes) and the baddest bassline provided by The Demon Gene Simmons, the track would hit number 9 on the Billboard charts that year. After Dynasty was released, the band (thankfully) returned to their glam rock roots.
Yeah Yeah Yeahs – “Heads Will Roll”
New York City’s Yeah Yeah Yeahs earned their moody art rock reputation working the bar circuits in a pre gentrified Lower East Side and really started having run with the release of It’s Blitz and the lead single “Heads Will Roll.” Opening with open synth jabs and Karen O’s distinct yowl, the track takes listeners on a long strange trip where they find themselves two step shuffling through those same dirty dive bars the band called home. The Steve Aoki assisted remix, as heard on the Project X soundtrack lifts the track to the next level but on it’s own, it’s a song that stills gets you to dance.
Fall Out Boy ft Timbaland – “One and Only”
The Chicago power punk band released 2005’s “Dance Dance” but you couldn’t really dance dance to it, unless you counted spinkicks and pogoing. It wasn’t until super producer Timbaland teamed up with the band for 2007’s Shock Value Vol 1 that things got really bouncy. Vocalist Patrick Stump soars over this elastic banger while the rest of the bad bring the track together on live instruments before getting the full Timbaland treatment. I’d like to think this diddy of a jam really took the band’s sound in a different direction.
Nine Inch Nails – “Only”
When you think of Nine Inch Nails, you don’t think upbeat mid tempo songs but in the case of 2005’s With Teeth the single “Only” you have to make a bit of an exception. With it’s surprisingly fun baseline and equally snappy snare and high hat, “Only” feels like the song you dance to when you’re still feeling a little blue and aren’t ready to really embrace the happy sunshine.
Tegan and Sara – “Closer”
Canadian singer songwriting twins Tegan and Sara Quinn are known for their songs about heartbreak, love, and life that could be the soundtrack to any episode Grey’s Anatomy but it wasn’t until the lead single from their most recent LP Heartthrob that the Juno award winning duo really jumped into a whole new world. With it’s easily hummable hook and super 80s synth loop, “Closer” promises to make you want to get closer with that certain someone.
Ed Sheeran – “Sing”
Ed Sheeran is a one-man band so this one has to count and like Tegan and Sara, writes the music you soft cry to. Assisted by music GAWD Pharrell Williams, “Sing” from Ed’s latest album X takes Ed’s sound and really well, makes it sing. From the snap from the drum loop, to Ed’s bars (she handed me a bottle of water with tequila I could already tell she was a keeper) and way chantable hook, it’s hard to ignore how danceable this song is, especially given his knack for deep lyrics and stripped down sound.
Find me on Twitter: @invisiblecircus and let’s discuss Chris Martin’s dance style: Embarrassing Dad or Dance Dance Revolution gawd?