Bump 'n' Grind 2008: A Look Back at This Year's Club Bangers
But feel free to argue with me -- in fact, I encourage it. I love a good "You're music list sucks!" argument.
"Paper Planes (DFA Remix)"
While everyone was boucing drunkenly to David Guetta's "Love is Gone" in 2007, downtown had already embraced the Clash-sampled "Paper Planes" from M.I.A.'s sophomore effort Kala. In an album full of great songs (with the Timbaland-produced "Come Around" being the lone exception), it was "Paper Planes" that easily stood out. By the time the trailer for Pineapple Express came out in 2008 and broke this song into the mainstream, helping it reach number 4 in the Billboard Hot 100, downtown patrons were already over it. It was James Murphy's take on the track, which gave it a funky bassline and glittery swells, that reignited for many a love for the track.
9. The Ting Tings
"Great DJ (Calvin Harris Remix)"
"That's Not My Name (LA Riots Remix)"
The Ting Tings by themselves are mediocre at best. Pair them up with a DJ and they become dancefloor gold. Proof are in the remixes by Calvin Harris and LA Riots for their singles "Great DJ" and "That's Not My Name," which begged to be danced too.
8. Cut Copy
"Lights & Music (Boys Noize Happy Birthday Remix)"
It seems like Aussie-band Cut Copy came out of nowhere in 2008, but they've been making music since 2001. But their rise to clubland popularity really goes to Berlin DJ Boys Noize who gave the track an authority on the dancefloor. While 2008 wasn't a good year for the blog-house/electro DJs, Boys Noize glitchy synths on the remix gave the genre a quick electro shock to the heart.
7. Hot Chip
"Ready for the Floor"
The irony here is that a for a track called "Ready for the Floor" it isn't exactly dancefloor friendly. But I dare you to resist the call to "Do, do, do, do it now!" Yes, it doesn't achieve the pop sensibility of their massive 2006 hit "Over and Over," but trust me when I say this is 20 times better. And fact is, no remix achieved the greatness of the original. Sorry Jesse Rose.
6. Hercules and Love Affair
String-laden hook? Check. Androgynous vocals? Check. Banging groove? Check. 2008 was surely the year of disco revival, and nobody proved that better than Hercules and Love Affair who with their hit "Blind" got everybody moving like it was 1978. And don't count them out in 2009, because their track "Hercules Theme" is quickly finding its way to the dancefloor as well.
5. Juiceboxxx and Dre Skull
Here I thought the only good thing to come out of Milwaukee was the Miller Brewing Co. But Midwest nerdcore MC Juiceboxxx makes me think twice about middle America. But it's when he paired up with Brooklyn producer Dre Skull for the Crystal Waters-like track "Center Stage" at the very end of 2007 that I knew this kid was something special.
"Time to Pretend"
Want a retro-psychedelic track? Craving a nostalgic sing-along? How about a Prince-esque party song? MGMT scored in 2008 with a trifecta of club hits that were more The Mamas & the Papas than Justice (who ironically scored their only club-worthy track this year by remixing "Electric Feel").
3. Crystal Castles
Talk about a Cinderella story. In 2007, Crystal Castles was some Canadian band that screamed over chip tunes. But how quickly things change in the course of year. The band has been pushed into the mainstream, particularly in Europe, after releasing their self-titled debut album, which is filled with minimal glitches and beats created by producer Ethan Kath, while Alice Glass' vocals are distorted beyond recognition that all you can do is sort of mum lyrics that you know are completely wrong. And while previous efforts had more of an Atari Teenage Riot sort of flair, it was "Courtship Dating" that showed that the duo had a knack for pop music -- er, pop music for the year 2020 that is.
2. Kid Cudi
"Day 'n' Nite (Crookers Remix)"
Let me put it out there: This song is old -- 2007 old. I first heard it back in the day when the Revolver party was in the Boutique Room at Pawn Shop Lounge (I'm telling you it's old). I never thought in a million years it would achieve the level of success it has today, with most of the thanks going to Italian DJ duo Crookers for putting this track into high gear. Power 96 played it throughout the fall non-stop. Chongas were singing to it. Mainstream clubs were spinning it. And hipster-hop died a little bit on the inside.