2020 threw us many curveballs and resulted in a wild (and disappointing) year, but it allowed artists to explore their musical roots and gift us great soundtracks to begin the decade. The disco-revival, a trend in music that many are excited for, has begun and has yet to reach its peak. A well known and thriving example of the renaissance of the disco movement is Dua Lipa, though she hasn’t reached peak popularity in North America, yet. She helped change the game by releasing sounds that were both refreshing as well as nostalgic, heavily influenced by sounds from a previous decade that this generation has had a heavy yearning for.
Tracks such as “Levitating” and “Break My Heart” sound like they could be from 2050 and 1970, which can be attributed to the creative vision of her album, cleverly named “Future Nostalgia.” Other hits include Doja Cat with “Say So,” or The Weeknd with his lurid “Blinding Lights,” which took the world by storm. Though The Weeknd wouldn’t necessarily classify as Disco, his sound encapsulates everything ‘80s.
Luckily, those three aren’t the only artists who’ve been releasing disco-like tracks recently. Here are some artists you may or may not have heard of, who are slowly but surely taking over the music industry with 70s-influenced albums and singles.
Kylie Minogue’s “Disco” album is the pinnacle of the Nu-Disco sound, and it doesn’t stray that far from the type of music she’s used to making. The Australian singer sought to release a disco-influenced album and did so in November 2020, with enough time to send us soaring into the new year. Her vibrant beats make you want to get up and dance. Accompanied by her smooth vocals and fun lyrics, it adds to the aspect of enjoyment that tends to be associated with the genre. Even the album’s cover sees something out of the last century with its shimmery lights, glittery clothes and dreamy picture resolution.
A favorite track from Disco would be “Miss a Thing.” Many wonderful elements of 70s disco are worked into this song, like the soaring strings and happy bassline. This song takes you for a real nostalgia trip.
Miley Cyrus’ “Plastic Hearts” is a more diverse take on the nostalgic sound. Music that includes disco, synthpop and even some rock-inspired tracks. It’s a great album that clearly had a lot of hard work put into it. Miley transformed into an ‘80s goddess on this album. She collaborated with the aforementioned songstress Dua Lipa on a disco-punk song, “Prisoner,” which is comparable to the sound of Olivia Newton John’s “Physical.”
A favorite track from Plastic Hearts is “Midnight Sky.” Her growing hit single signifies a new era for Miley, an artist who we’ve followed as she’s experimented with her character and signature music styles for the past few years. It looks like she’s finally found her calling and the track is a great listen. Plus, she looks pretty cool with a mullet.
“Euphoric Sad Songs” is the debut mini-album by British vocalist Raye. Consisting of a variety of genres, the album doesn’t necessarily represent the disco movement as a whole. Instead, there are a few songs that can be picked out that have a heavy influence and represent the gradual transition into a more nostalgic style of music.
A favorite track from Euphoric Sad Songs is “Natalie Don’t.” This track’s plucked bassline will make you feel like you’re at a discotheque in the late 70s if you close your eyes. The song feels like it came from a past era and is seeping its way back into present times through the radio.
Lastly, a song that gained traction in Europe but was unheard of everywhere else is Daði Freyr’s “Think About Things.” It’s a catchy and fun disco-funk number that was entered for Iceland in Eurovision 2020 (an annual European song contest). The song went viral across Europe, likely due to its funky rhythm that you can’t help but move to. Give it a listen, maybe you’ll like what you hear.
To say that the hopeful comeback of disco would be exciting is an understatement. The genre defined the free-spirited culture of the 70s and could hopefully spark another cultural movement by becoming a symbol of freedom and rebirth for the decade ahead of us. As for now, we’ll thank the artists who brought disco back and we’ll keep our fingers crossed that this genre revival continues on throughout the 2020s.